EU/Afrika — 17th EU-ECOWAS Political Dialogue at Ministerial Level

Forth­com­ing elec­toral process­es 2010–2011

34. The Par­ties expressed sat­is­fac­tion with the peace­ful con­duct of recent elec­toral process­es in the region and called all stake­hold­ers to fur­ther devel­op their com­mit­ment and efforts towards demo­c­ra­t­ic gov­er­nance in order to guar­an­tee fur­ther demo­c­ra­t­ic progress in upcom­ing elec­toral cam­paigns and polls.

35. In that con­text the Par­ties not­ed the elec­tions antic­i­pat­ed in upcom­ing elec­toral process­es in the region includ­ing inter alia fore­seen pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Burk­i­na Faso, Niger, (2010), Nige­ria, Benin, Liberia, The Gam­bia, Cape Verde (2011) and expect that those elec­tions are con­duct­ed under duly con­sti­tu­tion­al and demo­c­ra­t­ic con­di­tions. In this regard the Par­ties empha­sised the para­mount impor­tance of main­tain­ing close and con­stant liai­son in order to be able to react prompt­ly and deci­sive­ly to any pos­si­ble prob­lem. It is essen­tial to ensure peace­ful elec­toral processes.

36. The ECOWAS side empha­sised that elec­tions occu­pied a strate­gic posi­tion in the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Con­ver­gence Prin­ci­ples artic­u­lat­ed in the ECOWAS Sup­ple­men­tary Pro­to­col on Democ­ra­cy and Good Gov­er­nance. Both sides wel­comed the reg­u­lar­i­ty of elec­toral process­es and the EU com­mend­ed the com­mit­ment of ECOWAS to ensur­ing con­sti­tu­tion­al acces­sion to and main­te­nance of pow­er in the region. They stressed that the hold­ing of reg­u­lar, cred­i­ble, free and fair elec­tions is a cor­ner­stone of the shared val­ues between the Par­ties. They there­fore con­sid­ered elec­toral process­es in West Africa as a major peace and secu­ri­ty issue and pledged con­sid­er­able assis­tance to Mem­ber States in the organ­i­sa­tion of elections. 

37. Both Par­ties empha­sised the need to pri­ori­tise the con­tin­ued fol­low up on rec­om­men­da­tions of Elec­tion Obser­va­tion Mis­sions from ECOWAS and the Euro­pean Union.

Region­al efforts to fight cor­rup­tion, organ­ised crime, illic­it traf­fics and mon­ey laun­dering

38. Both sides agreed that the fight against cor­rup­tion, organ­ised crime, illic­it traf­fics and mon­ey laun­der­ing should receive per­ma­nent atten­tion, in view of the con­tin­ued sig­nif­i­cant neg­a­tive impact of these scourges on West Africa and the EU. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant in view of the increas­ing­ly wor­ry­ing neg­a­tive impact of these crim­i­nal activ­i­ties on the region and beyond. Crim­i­nal net­works are increas­ing­ly flex­i­ble and transna­tion­al, and a vig­or­ous region­al response needs to be under­pinned by effec­tive oper­a­tional capacities.

39. The ECOWAS side briefed the EU coun­ter­parts on the region­al efforts to com­bat cor­rup­tion, mon­ey laun­der­ing and organ­ised crime under GIABA. It inti­mat­ed that efforts so far have con­cen­trat­ed on adopt­ing har­monised stan­dards and facil­i­tat­ing insti­tu­tion build­ing and strength­en­ing in Mem­ber States to enhance pre­ven­tion, detec­tion and pros­e­cu­tion of organ­ised crime. In this regard, the num­ber of Finan­cial Intel­li­gence Units in West Africa has increased from two in 2004 to thir­teen in 2009. It also sub­mit­ted that all 15 Mem­ber States of ECOWAS have enact­ed anti-mon­ey laun­der­ing leg­is­la­tion while the region enact­ed a mod­el law against financ­ing ter­ror­ism in 2007. The EU side expressed sat­is­fac­tion with the efforts under­way in this direc­tion, encour­aged the ECOWAS side to build on the promis­ing ini­tia­tives and pledged the con­tin­ued com­mit­ment and sup­port of the EU in this pri­or­i­ty area.

40. Both Par­ties agreed that the devel­op­ment of increased capac­i­ties by ECOWAS and its Mem­ber States is of para­mount impor­tance. The Par­ties referred to the com­mit­ments entered into at the Abu­ja region­al sem­i­nar in Sep­tem­ber 2009, includ­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion by the region of a roadmap for the imple­men­ta­tion of the 10th EDF which will allow for accel­er­a­tion of pro­ce­dures. To this end, the EU called on ECOWAS and its Mem­ber States to com­mit them selves more strong­ly to devel­op ECOWAS capac­i­ties, and con­sid­er pos­si­ble alter­na­tive means of imple­men­ta­tion such as Con­tri­bu­tion Agree­ments when nec­es­sary. The EU expressed con­cern about the low lev­el of com­mit­ment of finan­cial resources made avail­able through region­al coop­er­a­tion. The EU reit­er­at­ed its readi­ness to assist ECOWAS in address­ing the main oper­a­tional challenges. 

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