European Union External Action

Togo and the European Union

16/05/2016 - 20:25
EU relations with Country

Relations between Togo and the European Union are diversified, covering political dialogue, development cooperation, commercial exchanges and cultural relations.

Relations between the EU and Togo are governed both by the Cotonou Agreement and by the EU-Africa Partnership.

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

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.

Supporting the electoral process

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.

Support for regional trade through the EPA Development Programme (EPADP)

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.

 

1. Overview of the human rights and democracy situation: The state of human rights in Togo is largely influenced by its recent past and its socio-economic context. In a country where 55% of the population is under the poverty line, and with significant inequality, Togo is struggling to get over its authoritarian past. While a legal framework exists to a large extent, the consolidation of democracy, the rule of law and the respect of human rights are hindered by weak state institutions and lack of political will from the authorities.

In 2018, human rights remained unsatisfactory, as the political crisis which started in 2017 continued between the government and the united opposition, despite the mediation organised by ECOWAS and partly due to the lack of trust between the two blocks. The roadmap agreed in July 2018 to deescalate and adopt institutional and constitutional reforms leading to parliamentary elections in December 2018 and presidential elections in 2020 allowed the legislative elections to take place as foreseen on the 20 December 2018. They were boycotted by the opposition, despite a strong implication of ECOWAS and the international partners and organisations in Togo. Numerous demonstrations, mostly peaceful, degenerated in dozens of arrests, making prisons even more overcrowded (double the normal capacity). Freedom of the press and media is generally respected in the written press, radio and internet, less so on TV.

While formally recognised in the legislation, equal rights for women are not well respected. Due to the levels of poverty, cases of slavery impact women more than men, and access to education is also restricted for them. Furthermore, other challenges exist, such as genital mutilations, in particular in rural areas, or the discrimination of people suffering from albinism.

 

2. EU action – the key focus areas remain the same as last year, and concern:

·         Reform of the judicial system: As Togo only attributes 1% of its budget to Justice, progress is slow, and justice is not independent. But under the EU funded Support to the Justice System programme, aiming at improving the functioning of the judicial system, and increasing the cooperation with judicial police, some results have been visible, and the government has also increased recruitments in the sector.

·         Support to national reconciliation: Some local NGOs have received grants to raise awareness within the population, and encourage dialogue and reconciliation.

·         Support to the modernisation of State services: The government is working on a reform of local self-government, with the creation of 116 municipalities, with EU support on the delivery of public services.

·         Professionalisation of law enforcement bodies: A new National Police School has opened in 2017 as a centre of education and retraining of the police officers, with EU financial support.

·         The implementation of the gender Action Plan: Clear indicators have been selected for various budget support programmes in various sectors. Additionally, some training activities for women in politics have been undertaken, and some awareness campaigns took place, including on TV.

·         Support to civil society: It took place in the framework of EU funded programme PROCEMA, for instance with a mapping of local NGOs and a roadmap of EU support towards civil society.

 

3. EU bilateral political engagement: The EU Delegation has followed closely the situation around the 2018 elections, together with its partners of the "Group of 5" (EU, France, Germany, US, UN). The Group of 5 supported the ECOWAS mediation and encouraged all the Togolese political actors to uphold the dialogue and implement the roadmap leading to a resumption of a pacified political life. The road to a long-term solution, under a consensus leading to credible, inclusive and transparent elections seemed close by, but neither the government, which did not fully implement the measures agreed upon to deescalate, nor the opposition, who decided to boycott the elections, raised themselves to the existing challenge.

While there are doubts about the effective turnout, the legislative elections did take place on 20 December 2018 in a relatively peaceful way, but the overall goal of national reconciliation remains unfulfilled. However, the Presidential pardon announced in January concerned 454 persons, according to two criteria, having less than 6 months to serve, or being gravely ill. This pardon is a result of the EU funded project to support the judicial sector and a partial response to the overpopulation in Togo's jails. It also demonstrates the importance of the EU's engagement in promoting justice reform and of the constant dialogue that the EU has kept open with the Togolese authorities during 2018, leading to an improvement of the situation with NGOs working on the national reconciliation, inter alia.

 

4. EU financial engagement: The Presidential pardon, which was officially announced in January 2019, is fully in line with the EU objective to help reduce the overcrowding of Togolese prisons an improve conditions in detention. The EU financially supports the reform of the Togolese justice and penitentiary system.

An EU funded programme PRODEGOL, co-financed with Germany is being implemented on the improvement of the delivery of civil service, such as birth certificates and other administrative acts.

On freedom of the press, the EU Delegation and partners from the US, France and Germany organised in 2018 a competition aiming at the promotion of quality journalism.

5. Multilateral context: Togo has been re-elected to the Council of Human Rights for a two years mandate (2018-2020). During the last Universal Periodic Review (UPR), in October 2016, the Council has noted a number of positive developments, such as a new Criminal Code. But Togo has refused to implement proposals linked to the accession to the Rome Statute, or those linked to LGBTI rights.

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.

Bilateral technical and financial cooperation

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

  • State/security consolidation: EUR 100 million (46 %)
  • Water and sanitation: EUR 73 million (34 %)
  • Energy: EUR 30 million (14 %)
  • Technical facility/Authoriser support: EUR 13 million (6 %)

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).

Regional cooperation with West Africa

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.

  • Security, peace and regional stability - maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea is dealt with as part of the fight against piracy, trafficking, etc.
  • Regional integration and support for trade – the importance of development infrastructures and strategies in the region is now proven. The transport and energy sectors, for example, are receiving particular attention.
  • Resilience, food security and natural resources - supporting the efforts of the region, among others, in setting up the epidemic illness alert centre (for example against Ebola or bird flu).

Togo is due to benefit from funding equivalent to at least 10 % of the Regional Indicative Programme (RIP).

Thematic cooperation

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.

Relations with universities in Togo

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.

Languages:
Editorial Sections: