Mali has lived in these past few months some of its darkest hours. Security, democracy and stability were threatened by recent developments and I am glad to see European Union’s contribution to their support. By providing €50 million to support the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA), the European Union has sent a strong message to safeguard the country’s unity and territorial integrity.
This support has allowed military structures of the European Union to setting up a Clearing House aimed at increasing the logistical capacity of AFISMA. But it also covers non military expenditures like medical expenses, daily allowances and transport costs of the troops deployed on the ground. In parallel, we are preparing new programmes to provide assistance to the civilian population, who are severely affected by the crisis, and to assist the Malian government’s efforts towards the swift restoration of democracy. In this sense, we are going to deploy the EU Training Mission in February with the aim of enhancing the Malian army’s training, and advising and restructuring it.
The European Union has mobilised quickly and effectively in response to President Traoré’s call for help. This prompt reaction shows value of EU aid – quick, flexible and spot on. And we remain committed to support the efforts of the Malian authorities to end the crisis, starting with the implementation of the roadmap recently created by them. Today, that roadmap is being discussed during a ministerial meeting in Brussels; far away from the endangered region but with the lives of the 14 million of Malians in our minds.
That is why I hope that we will be able to resume development cooperation with Mali and continue our work to provide its population with access to basic services, like health, education, and water. Some €250 million may be mobilised for this purpose. They will complement existing programmes which among other things, help reinforce civil society, strengthen food security and improve supply of drinking water.