May 26, 2011 (JUBA) - The European Union (EU) has earmarked €200 million (US$282.2m) worth of aid, meant to support agriculture, health, good governance and education in South Sudan, Andriz Piebags, the European
Commissioner for development said on 13 May in a press conference in Juba.
- European Commissioner for Development, Andriz Piebags (AP)
“The European Commission has made a proposal along these lines to the EU member states, to which I expect them to agree,” Piebalgs said, adding that the EU will also announce an assistance package at an upcoming South Sudan conference and will encourage other donors to also make aid commitments.
Amongst the EU’s top priorities for the soon-to-become new nation, the European commissioner emphasised, is the plan to boost food security projects and institutional capacity building.
South Sudan is less than two months away from becoming independent following its population’s overwhelming vote for secession. The January 2011 vote was a key part of Sudan’s 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended over two decades of a bloody civil war between north and south.
Recently, the Sudanese government openly appealed to the EU to waive a requirement in the Contonou agreement, which has for long prevented the north African country from receiving aid from the bloc.
The agreement is the basis of the EU engagement with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, the agreement, requires recipients to ratify the Rome Statute, which establishes the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Sudan has been unable to access the EU aid because it withdrew its signature from the statute after ICC charged President Omar al-Bashir and other government officials were indited. There is are now arrest warrants for members of the government in Khartoum, including the current governor of South Kordofan, Ahmed Haroun.
Members of the African Union (AU) Commission and the European Commission are due to convene their annual meeting from 30 May – 1 June in Brussels, Belgium. The joint Africa-EU partnership event, according to a communiqué, will focus on consolidating democracy, including developments in northern Africa, and consolidating growth.
The EU president, Jose Manuel Barroso and Klaus Rudischhauser, the director for African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and AU Commission chairperson, Jean Ping are expected to appear at the event.