Delegation of the European Union to Ethiopia


Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the press conference of the Ministerial Pledging Conference on Somali Refugees

Bruxelles, 21/10/2015 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 151021_02

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Thank you very much.

It is me thanking you, Antonio [Guterres], for the excellent work you are doing on the field, not only here, but in the many other crisis areas in the world. We need some good news from time to time and indeed in the case of Somalia, we have hopes that next year we could have good developments in the country and political and security conditions for the Somali refugees to go back home.

This is a process that needs, for sure, the international community mobilising in support of this process. But also, and mainly, mobilising all the international and regional support for the political process in Somalia. And that is why I am particularly glad that the [Somali] Prime Minister has joined us today. We have talked about the financial pledges, but also about the support for the political process in the country. That gives us hope. And the security process that goes with it, because we know very well that we need to create the economic, but also and mainly the political and security conditions for people to go back home.

It is for the European Union an issue not of charity, but of investments, in our own strategic interests. Because contributing to managing and solving of the issue of Somali refugees in the area is also a way of contributing to the stability and peace in the region. And it is a region that is crucial also for the future of the European Union.

This is even more evident for me today, as I just landed this morning from Addis Ababa, where we had discussions not only with the African Union but also with the Ethiopian authorities on regional security, peace and stability perspectives.

This initiative - that we are happy to co-host and co-sponsor with the UNHCR today - is also part of our more general efforts on managing together with the UNHCR and the IOM the huge refugee and migrant crisis that the world is facing. Not only Europe, I know media attention is focused mainly on the flows coming to Europe, but this conference I think also is useful to highlight the fact that in reality the majority of people moving are moving within Africa. So part of our efforts to manage the refugee crisis and the migratory crisis is also by supporting the African countries that are dealing with huge numbers of refugees and huge numbers of people moving.

Antonio [Guterres] always says - and I always quote him so I do it also here - that it is not [only] an unprecedented number of people coming to Europe that we are experiencing, not only,  but it's an unprecedented number of people on the move in the world that we are experiencing because of different reasons  - wars, poverty and others.

So the contribution that the European Union gave today to this pledging conference is a contribution of 60 million euros; this is also trying to show the way to others, and as you said, a starting point of a process. It's the most important one because it shows to others the fact that there is again the realistic possibility to do something concrete and substantial and our contribution will address two key areas.

First, a 50 million programme will be put in place to support the sustainable and durable reintegration of refugees and internally displaced people in Somalia for example by increasing access to basic services, enhancing livelihoods and reducing vulnerability in areas of return and departure. Support to the host communities is going to be crucial. This will help to manage voluntary returns of refugees from Kenya, from Yemen but also from Europe.

Secondly, the European Union will finance a 10 million euros programme for Northern Kenya designed to provide reliefs and better opportunities for Somalian refugees to find themselves in particularly vulnerable situations when returns are not yet possible. This is the contribution of the European Union today, so apart from the political framework I described shortly in the beginning, this is the concrete pledge and the concrete two ways in which we will focus our support to the host communities for returns and reintegration and part of it for Northern Kenya in the case when the returns are not yet possible.

In conclusion, I would like to underline again that the main point is and will continue to be especially over 2016 creating the political and security conditions in Somalia for refugees to go back home.

Thank you! 

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