Somalia is located on the Horn of Africa, bordering Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia and having a coastline on the Indian Ocean. The total size is 638,000 km² with a population of around 10 million and the capital is Mogadishu on the southern coast.
After years of civil war, Somalia faces the challenges of building peace and security, establishing democratic processes and institutions and strengthening human rights. Waves of violence, caused by inter-clan rivalry and terrorism, have devastated Mogadishu, and other parts of the country as groups try to consolidate power.
In September 2012, a new Somali parliament elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as President, ending the phase of a Transitional federal government, and looking to take Somalia forward to finalising its Constitution and having Democratic elections by 2016.
Given the political situation, Somalia faces many development challenges. Life expectancy is extremely low, infant and child mortality is extremely high and access to sanitation is limited. The number of internally displaced persons is around one million people.
Key issues in EU-Somalia relations
The EU is engaged in Somalia through a wide range of assistance measures that include development programmes, active diplomacy, EU staffed missions and operations in support of rule of law and security, and humanitarian assistance.
Priority is given to promoting a peaceful environment in which human rights are respected and democratic institutions can develop. Providing basic social services and creating an environment for sustainable and equitable economic growth will improve the lives of the poorest and the most vulnerable groups.
The EU has long supported the establishment of a peaceful and secure environment in Somalia and encourages reconciliation, democracy and the development of Somali-owned governance structures at all levels.
The EU is supporting Somalia as it implements the New Deal process for fragile states. This includes co-hosting a Conference in Brussels in September 2013 where a Compact between the International Community and Somalia is to be agreed. This Compact will identify the key priorities that Somalia will address with the support of its partners.