Delegation of the European Union to Afghanistan

EEAS Deputy Managing Director P. Pampaloni opening speech 3rd Senior Officials Meeting in Kabul

05/10/2017 - 11:07
Miscellaneous

EEAS Deputy Managing Director P. Pampaloni opening speech 3rd Senior Officials Meeting in Kabul

Your Excellency Mr Hakimi, Minister of Finance,

Your Excellencies Ministers,

Your Excellency UNSG Special Representative Yamamoto,

Distinguished Ambassadors and invited Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • It is a great honour for me to be invited to address this meeting. It takes place exactly one year after the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan which was co-chaired by the EU and Afghanistan.
  • Last year at the Brussels Conference, the international community committed to continue its political and financial support for Afghanistan over the next four years with an extraordinary level of funding. The total sum pledged by the international community was US$15.2 billion. The fact that the EU and its member states alone pledged US$5.6 billion (more than 1/3 of the total pledge) is a concrete demonstration of our combined support to the Government of Afghanistan's reform agenda leading to self-reliance and sustainability.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • Since the Brussels Conference, the EU has delivered on its financial commitments. The progress achieved by the Afghan Government this year has allowed us to disburse the first tranche of 100 million Euro of budget support under the State Building Contract.
  • Afghanistan remains high on the EU's political agenda. And in this respect, I would like to mention two important documents which will shape EU-Afghanistan future relations.
  • First, the EU-Afghanistan Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development (CAPD) which was signed in February. I was pleased to learn that HE President Ghani has just signed the Decree which will start the implementation of this agreement from 1 December 2017. This will be an important milestone in our relations. It will strengthen our cooperation in a number of key areas including human rights, migration, gender equality, trade and investment as well regional cooperation.
  • Second, on 16 October, the EU Foreign Ministers will adopt the new EU-Afghanistan Strategy focussing future EU and its Member States' engagement on four priority areas:

1. The promotion of peace, stability and regional security;

2. The reinforcement of democracy, the rule of law and human rights and the promotion of good governance and women’s empowerment, including strengthening of civil society;

3. The support of economic and human development; and

4. Addressing the challenges related to migration.

  • On the particular issue of migration, we recognize that the large number of returnees from abroad and the growing number of internally displaced persons have put a huge pressure on Afghanistan’s economic capacity and social fabric. The EU has already been responding by mobilizing almost EUR 200 million to ensure the returnees' reintegration into society. This money is in addition to what the EU had pledged at the Brussels conference.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • This Senior Official Meeting is rightly putting the emphasis on economic development and growth. We all agree that agriculture is one of the most important sectors for economic growth and job creation in Afghanistan. This is why the EU will continue its support for this sector which will also contribute to provide alternatives to poppy cultivation.
  • We must join the government's efforts to curb all unlawful economic activities such as the drug production and illegal mining. Therefore economic development must be accompanied by the strengthening of rule of law, good governance, the fight against corruption and a functioning judiciary. On that note, the EU welcomes the recent adoption by the Government of its Anti-Corruption Strategy and looks forward to its swift and thorough implementation.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • The EU's support is based on the understanding that it is provided against results.
  • One year ago, the Government of Afghanistan presented an ambitious reform programme which was welcomed by the international community. Today we have all come to Kabul to learn about the progress, the achievements and what the short-term priorities are.
  • We welcome the announcement of the parliamentary and district elections for July 2018.The Afghan people expect that they are held in an inclusive, transparent and credible manner which is critical for Afghanistan’s democratic development. Key decisions on elections need to be taken now and implemented, also in view of the 2019 Presidential Elections. The EU supports the electoral process and the electoral institutions.
  • We equally welcome efforts by the Government to promote political and economic empowerment of women. Yesterday we acknowledged how much work still needs to be done and I reconfirmed the EU's continued strong support. Women's empowerment, education for girls and fighting violence against women are on the top of the EU agenda.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  • To conclude, peace, stability and security are preconditions for democratic, economic and social development for any country in the world. Afghanistan and the entire region deserve our joint and continued commitment and effort to promote an inclusive Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. In this regard, we are looking forward to the next meeting of the Kabul Process.
  • The European Union's political and financial commitments made at last year's Brussels conference are not only being fully met, but are being exceeded for the benefit of the Afghan people.
  • Thank you.
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