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Sudan and the EU

13/05/2016 - 17:26
EU relations with Country

Sudan is the third largest country and the ninth largest population in Africa. Just like Europe, Sudan is united in diversity of languages, religions, cultures and ethnic groups.

Much like Europe, Sudan remains diverse with a population of 40 million people, encompassing various linguistic, religious, cultural and ethnic communities.

The relations between Sudan and the European Union (EU) began in 1975. The EU is represented in Sudan by a fully accredited diplomatic mission. The EU Delegation is located in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum is headed by an EU Ambassador.

The EU Delegation undertakes intense coordination with its EU Member States in the political, security, development, humanitarian, press and visibility, consular, administrative and protection of human rights. There are 9 member states that are officially accredited and resident in Sudan. They are: Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Sweden, Netherlands, Romania, Hungary and the United Kingdom.

The EU wants to see a stable, peaceful and prosperous Sudan. To achieve this EU implements five political approaches.

The EU meets with the Sudanese government, political actors, women and youth groups, as well as civil society. The dialogue is focused issues of joint interest, such as peace and stability, inclusive and sustainable development and prosperity, democratization and greater respect for human rights and addressing migration. The informal dialogue allows both the EU and Sudan to address common issues of interest, including global challenges such as climate change and regional issues such as migration and cooperation in the Nile Basin. The EU encourages Sudan's constructive engagement with its neighbors and supports regional integration and trans-boundary cooperation.

The December revolution has shown that the people of Sudan have protested not only against the dramatic price increases of essential goods, but also and mainly for freedom, peace and justice. We Europeans want to support this aspiration and have expressed to the civilian government that was sworn in Sudan in August 2019 the readiness to accompany the peaceful transition both, politically and economically.

The European Union plays an important role in building bridges between Sudan and Europe. EU bodies like EU Parliament (EP), European Commission (EC), European External Action Service (EEAS), European Development Aid and Cooperation (DEVCO), European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), and European Union Member States work together to this end through a steady flow of high level and technical exchange of visits and through a wide range of programs in Sudan.

The EU addresses issues of peace, democracy, human rights, sustainable development and humanitarian assistance also in regional and international fora. Hence, we collaborate actively with partners such as the United Nations (UN), the African Union (AU), and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). In this vein, the EU and its member states are funding and supporting the African Union – United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

Development Cooperation is one of the main pillars of EU presence in Sudan. The current value of funding for the EU support in Sudan is approximately € 240 million. The EU has 70 ongoing projects and programmes in Sudan.

EU projects and programmes are implemented by 50 partner local and international organisations. The EU does not implement the projects directly, this is done by national and international NGOs, EU Member State Agencies and UN organisations. EU support is aligned with government strategies that target vulnerable groups and key sectors for sustainable development. The current portfolio of EU projects and programmes spans across the sectors of health, education, food security, climate change, environment, migration, technical cooperation, private sector support, governance, civil society, peace building and human rights. As Sudan has not ratified the revised version of the Cotonou Agreement, the core instrument for EU engagement in Sudan is the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF). The EU has since 2015 made available around € 200 million for Sudan under the EUTF to improve the living conditions of refugees, IDPs and their host communities. The EU does not provide support directly to the Government of Sudan. EU Development cooperation is largely undertaken in the peripheral areas of Darfur, East Sudan and in the southern border areas, as well as in Khartoum. Northern regions of Sudan are also targeted for support to improve resilience to climate change.

European cooperation in Sudan has been implemented in accordance with the EU Short Term Strategy (2016-2017) for Sudan and global EU Development policies, notably the 2017 EU European Consensus, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Commission Communication on Forced Displacement and Development, the Joint Communication on A Strategic Approach to Resilience in the EU's external action, the EU Agenda on Migration, the Valletta Action Plan.

The EU also has important mechanisms to support democracy and human rights initiatives. Civil society plays a vital role in any society and hence is also the focus of a large part of EU work in Sudan. Building on the experience and lessons from the European project, the EU also implements projects for regional integration, e.g. trade and energy.

The country is also part of the EU response to the food security and El Niño crises and of the Regional Development and Protection Programme (RDPP) for the Horn of Africa, as well as benefitting from EUTF programmes implemented at regional level.


The EU is one of the world's largest humanitarian donors. It provides independent humanitarian aid to meet the needs of particularly vulnerable populations in Sudan. Conflicts have led to massive population displacements, severe food insecurity and excessively high levels of malnutrition.

Since 1994, the EU has disbursed more than €1.2 billion in humanitarian aid to help victims of these man-made and natural disasters.

The European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) acts on all fronts, helping thousands of forcibly displaced people and refugees while addressing the impacts of natural disasters and supporting the fight against malnutrition. EU humanitarian funds are enabling partners (NGOs, Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement, UN agencies) to respond to the needs in the field of health and nutrition, water and sanitation, shelter, protection, emergency education, food security and livelihoods.

In light of the staggering needs, providing humanitarian assistance to the crisis affected people remains a priority for the EU.  The European Commission supports a principled and needs-based approach aimed at providing assistance directly to the neediest people. Timely response is key, given the volatile environment and continuous emergency needs. ECHO maintains autonomous offices in Khartoum and Nyala, responsible for the assessment of humanitarian needs, the monitoring of humanitarian projects and the identification of gaps in the response.