EU Relations with Mauritania

Framework of the Cooperation

Mauritania is an ACP country. Relations between the EU and Mauritania are principally founded on the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement (the Cotonou Agreement) and on the National Indicative Plan for the 2014-2020 period, signed in Nairobi on 19 June 2014. As well as being a member of the Arab Maghreb Union, the Union for the Mediterranean and the 5+5 Dialogue, Mauritania also participates in the EUROMED partnership and, as a result, benefits from specific regional funding under this framework.

Since 1999, Mauritania has benefited from observer status within ECOWAS. It is for this reason that ECOWAS was mandated to negotiate the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) for West Africa on Mauritania’s behalf, signed in July 2014.

Although Mauritania is involved in a process of democratic consolidation, the country has suffered a series of military coups, with the last one dating back to August 2008. Following the elections in 2006-2007 and 2009, the EU offered the country political and financial support to help its transition towards democracy. Furthermore, the EU supported the holding of legislative (November – December 2013) and presidential (21 June 2014) elections by sending electoral expert missions and technical assistance.

Mauritania is a significant partner in the EU's Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel and the Regional Action Plan for the Sahel.

The EU and Mauritania maintain regular political dialogue which enables discussion on a broad range of subjects, dealing with development, governance, human rights, regional, political, economic and trade issues.

Development aid

Under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) for the 2007-2013 period, the amount reserved for EU-Mauritania cooperation totaled EUR 209.3 million.

Implementation of the cooperation was delayed following the coup in 2008, which led to the freezing of funding until the beginning of 2010. Despite this delay, it has been possible to engage the whole amount and the majority of the projects financed under by the 10 EDF have started. In addition to the initial earmarked amount under the European Development Fund (EUR 156 million) forgovernance, infrastructure, regional integration and fight againstpoverty, Mauritania benefitted as well of additional funds under the framework of the EU's Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel, emergency aid and the "Millennium Development Goals" (MDG) initiative.

Part of EDF funds are allocated under the modality of a budgetary support programme currently underway (EUR 46 million – State Building Contract) aimed notably at establishing a system to reform public finances, which has resulted in a significant improvement in budgetary transparency.

Under the 11 EDF, the National Indicative Programme 2014-2020, with an initial amount of EUR 195 million, was signed in Nairobi on 19 June 2014. The priority sectors have been designed as a continuation of the National Indicative Programme of the 10 EDF, with however, the introduction of the health sector as the main novelty:

  1. Food security and sustainable agriculture,
  2. The Rule of Law (covering justice, decentralisation, security and conflict prevention),
  3. Health.

In addition to the National Indicative Programme, Mauritania could also benefit from other regional instruments (Regional Indicative Programme for West Africa , intra-ACP programmers and some regional programmes for the southern neighborhood) and from different horizontal (Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace) and thematic instruments (such as the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights).

Fisheries cooperation

Mauritania is a significant partner of the EU in the field of fisheries. The Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Mauritania is the largest the EU has with any country in the world. A new 4 years Protocol was initialled on the 10 July 2015 after long negotiations.

Under this protocol, the EU fleet will be allowed to fish in Mauritanian waters for shrimp, demersal fish, tuna and small pelagic fish, up to a total of 281 500 tonnes a year, under improved operational conditions. In addition to catches paid for by the European fleet, the EU will dedicate € 59.125 million per year to the partnership, of which € 4.125 million will be used to support local fishing communities in Mauritania.

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