Security and Defence subcommittee (SEDE) MEPs visited Djibouti and Somalia from 1-4 April, and assessed the role of the EU CSDP missions and operations in supporting regional security.
MEPs concluded the visit stating that it is the right moment to continue EU support for Somalia, to ensure its successes against Al-Shabaab are sustained, because this is the key to peace and stability in the Horn of Africa region.
The speed of developing Somali capacities is considered essential to building on the success of the security forces by delivering social services, especially youth education, as well as stabilisation and governance for Somali citizens, after more than 30 years of conflict.
During their four-day visit, MEPs assessed the role of the EU’s CSDP missions and operations in supporting regional security. They heard of the important role played by EU Capacity Building Mission to Somalia (EUCAP Somalia), EU Training Missions in Somalia (EUTM Somalia) and EU Naval forces operation Atalanta (EUNAVFOR Atalanta) through their co-location and close coordination of activities under the EU’s Integrated Approach.
MEPs will take these positive messages back to Brussels as well as specific recommendations to ensure the EU acts geopolitically and provides practical security assistance to key partners.
In Djibouti, MEPs heard about the growing geopolitical competition focused on the maritime route at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. It was stressed that the EU has an important role to play in this geopolitical context and EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta provides a strategic presence, as a security provider.
In Somalia, MEPs were briefed on the need to enhance support to the Somali security forces during the transition from the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), so that the territory reclaimed by the Somali National Army from Al-Shabaab can be held and secured.
When the transition to full Somali responsibility is complete, at the end of 2024, it was clearly stressed that the arms embargo should be lifted so that the Somali Federal Government can equip its forces and maintain stability throughout the country.
EU support for Somalia will require enhanced support from EUCAP Somalia in particular in the area of policing and strengthening the coast guard, and for EUTM to continue its unique training of future Somali officers and to enhance its active presence in the ATMIS Joint Operational Centre’s planning cell and processes.
MEPs also urged the Somali authorities to enter into agreement quickly with EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta to allow it to support the Somali authorities in tackling the trafficking of arms, drugs, people and illegal and unregulated fishing.
At the end of the mission, SEDE Chair Nathalie Loiseau (Renew, FR), speaking on behalf of the SEDE delegation, said: “I would firstly like to extend my thanks to our Djibouti and Somali hosts for their warm welcome and sincere dialogue as equal partners. This is clearly the right time for the EU to continue its support because Djibouti and Somalia are working hard to address regional security challenges and specifically the fight against the terrorism and indiscriminate suffering caused by Al-Shabaab.ʺ
In response to questions about Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine, Nathalie Loiseau added: ʺRussia is blackmailing the entire planet through its deliberate disruption of wheat supplies, which is adding further suffering to the most vulnerable people of the region. The EU does not stand by and let innocent people suffer because of Russia’s actions to undermine the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity. The EU remains in full solidarity with the people of the Horn of Africa region and will continue to provide all necessary assistance.ʺ
Led by SEDE Chair Nathalie Loiseau (Renew, FR), the delegation was composed of Members from different political groups: SEDE Vice-Chair Lukas Mandl (EPP, AT), Arnaud Danjean (EPP, FR), Attila Ara-Kovács (S&D, HU), Petras Auštrevičius (Renew, LT), Lars Patrick Berg (ECR, DE).
Source : European Interest