Relations between Togo and the European Union are diversified, covering political dialogue, development cooperation, commercial exchanges and cultural relations.
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As part of the Cotonou Agreement, the EU initiated consultations with the Togo authorities, which on 14 April 2004 led to the Togolese government agreeing to 22 commitments regarding the respective democratic institutions, Human Rights and the Rule of Law. The EU then supported national and international dialogue, which led to the Global Political Agreement signed in 2006.
Since then, the EU has been supporting the efforts of the Togolese people to consolidate democratisation and respect for fundamental rights, and strengthen the country's role in the sub-region as a factor of stability.
In particular, the EU supported the work of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, which since 2009 has sought to analyse the causes of instability and to promote peace.
Political dialogue takes place on two levels. On the one hand, the EU has regular meetings with the authorities, all of the political parties and civil society representatives.
On the other hand, there are formal political dialogue meetings. There are regular work sessions, involving government representatives from the EU in Togo, as well as from the EU Member States accredited in Togo.
The transparent conduct of electoral cycles in line with human rights was one of the EU's development cooperation priorities in 2008-2013. At the 2015 presidential elections, the EU supplied technical and financial support to the electoral regulation institutions, including the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The EU and the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) are Togo's main economic partners, respectively, in terms of exports and imports. West Africa represents 40 % of all exchanges between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) regions.
As a member of the least developed countries (LDCs), Togo enjoys a special commercial regime granted to the 50 LDCs on the UN list. This special 'Everything But Arms' (EBA) arrangement, which applies to Togo, is an initiative granted unilaterally by the EU to LDCs. It is an element of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences that the EU grants to developing countries.
As part of the National Indicative Programme 2014-2020 of the 11th FED, for cooperation between the Togolese Republic and the EU, one of the strategic objectives is to support the Togolese government in the Strategy for Boosting Growth and Promoting Employment (SCAPE 2013-2017).
For Togo, which has not benefited from international cooperation for around 14 years, with a difficult socio-economic situation, it is extremely important to be able to make maximum use of economic partnership agreements as drivers for development.
Through the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), approved in July 2014, between West Africa and the EU, Togo will be able to enjoy a whole series of capacity strengthening and upgrading for its industries.
The Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and West Africa concerns 16 West African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo), the Ecowas and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). It will govern all commercial and trade assistance relationships between the EU and Togo.
The EPA Development Programme (EPADP) particularly aims to help the West African region by building a competitive and harmonious regional economy which is integrated into the global economy. It allows the funding of APE support measures, across five lines of intervention, particularly in the domain of diversifying and boosting production capacities, intra-regional trade development and the strengthening of national and regional trade infrastructures. These upgrade measures will allow the private sector to benefit from access to the European market and face the competition.
The EU is supporting this programme with at least EUR 6.5 billion.
The 'RIP' - Regional Indicative Programme for West Africa of the 11th FED for the 2014-2020 period is an example of this support.
Several EU projects and programmes in Togo have been initiated with the aim of fulfilling the inherent principles of Democracy and the defence of Human Rights, in part favouring the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.
Togo has an appreciable legal framework in terms of compliance with international agreements, and abolished the death penalty in July 2009. However, there are still challenges, including tackling discrimination against women, achieving respect for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGBT), fighting against impunity, and improving living conditions in prisons and citizens' access to the justice system.
In this regard, the EU works towards strengthening justice, by improving the capacities of professionals in this sector and respecting citizen rights. Similarly, the EU is implementing a project to support the national police school, in order to strengthen the capacities of the forces of order to carry out their role in a professional manner, in respect of fundamental rights.
Another line of action is support for civil society organisations via projects such as the Pascrena or via the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), in order to support their activities and strengthen their capacities.
As the lead provider of development aid in the world (almost 50 %), the EU will mobilise EUR 100 billion in 2014-2020, in the form of mechanisms combining loans and subsidies, and will leave its market very open to exports from developing countries.
The EU's development cooperation with Togo takes place within three frameworks: a bilateral EU-Togo Corporation via the 'National Indicative Programme (NIP)'; regional programmes for West Africa which also benefit Togo via the 'Regional Indicative Programme (RIP)'; and finally 'thematic' programmes which allow targeted actions in specific domains.
This cooperation is defined in the country strategy paper 'National Indicative Programme (CSP-NIP)' for 2014-2020. The allocated envelope is EUR 216 million under the 11th FED, or an increase of over 70 % compared to the 2009-2013 period.
Sectors and financial overview of the 11th FED (indicative figures): 2015-2020
Outside of these sectors, support for civil society is planned, to allow it to fully participate in the country's development policies, with a particular focus on youth, national reconciliation and democratic values.
Moreover, an emergency B envelope adapted to fragile situations is also provided under the Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP).
The scale of the current challenges and the progress in improving regional integration in West Africa have led the EU to double the RIP envelope under the 11th FED, taking it to EUR 1.150 million for the 2014-2020 period. The Regional Indicative Programme (RIP) jointly identifies the intervention sectors.
Togo is due to benefit from funding equivalent to at least 10 % of the Regional Indicative Programme (RIP).
Based on a set of financial tools, the EU is providing European development aid and ensuring that it is effective across various themes, including:
In order to promote Togolese cultural diversity, the EU Delegation integrates Togolese cultural figures into its public diplomacy policy. Thus, the Delegation welcomes works from Togolese artists in its spaces. The aim is to bring these often little-known artists closer to the Togolese public and promote their artwork.
In Togo, there is also support for the Circuit Art´Mattend project, which has extended to seven countries for two years. The same applies for the Cinéma Numérique Ambulant (Mobile Digital Cinema) supported by the EU under the 'Investing in human resources' programme.
The EU helps Togolese universities to play their role in the transmission of knowledge, to create a flourishing society. In this regard, funding tools are available for higher education (Erasmus Plus) and for research and innovation (Horizon 2020, including the Marie Curie programme). There are calls for proposals every year to obtain mobility grants for students, research professors and university administrative staff.
In its agenda for Togo, the EU is increasingly calling on the expertise and skills of Togolese universities to develop and implement cooperation projects with the country.