Since its independence from Portugal in 1974, Guinea-Bissau has experienced chronic instability, marked by frequent coups and armed conflict. Since the most recent coup (April 2012), the transitional authorities have been under the de facto control of the armed forces. The EU does not recognise these transitional authorities.
Very low levels of governance and education, ethnic divisions, inadequate basic infrastructure (social, transport, electricity), a weak private sector and the scarcity of resources for export make Guinea-Bissau one of the poorest countries in the world. It has also become a major transit point for cocaine traffic towards Europe.
Under the 10th European Development Fund (2008-13), the EU earmarked a total of €100m to fund programmes focusing on conflict prevention, water and energy, and budgetary aid for stabilisation. However, following the military mutiny in April 2010 and the appointment of the people behind it to high ranking positions, the EU put on hold part of its development cooperation and held consultations with Guinea-Bissau under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement. In July 2011, the EU Council concluded the consultations , approving a scheme of mutual commitments.
Humanitarian operations and projects directly benefitting the population were not discontinued and are ongoing.
The gradual resumption of full EU cooperation will depend on concrete action by Guinea-Bissau authorities to: