European Union External Action

Mauritania and the EU

Signatory countries to the Cotonou Agreement, on which relations between the EU and Mauritania are based, have pledged to respect certain conditions regarding human rights, governance and the rule of law. In this context, political dialogue meetings were carried out with the Mauritanian government, opposition parties and civil society.

In November 2005, following the coup, progress made regarding democracy and the rule of law resulted in the decision to finance projects to support the transition process. It was also in this context that the 2006-2007 elections, observed by the EU, took place.

In 2008, another coup saw the suspension part of most of EU-Mauritania cooperation and related projects. This freeze on cooperation ended when the Dakar Agreement was signed in July 2009. This agreement established the basis for resolving the political crisis and returning to constitutional rule.

From the Dakar Agreement, the Mauritanian government undertook a series of commitments to good governance regarding human rights, the participation of civil society, dialogue with the opposition and the opening up of audio-visual media. The full resumption of cooperation was effective from 2010. 

Economic relations between Mauritania and the EU develop within the framework of the Cotonou Agreement. The European Development Fund (EDF) is the main financial tool and includes various instruments:

  • donations,
  • risk capital,
  • loans to the private sector.

In 2014, the EU decided to allocate €195 million to Mauritania to enable the implementation of access projects in various areas. Thus, the EU is the first international donor in Mauritania.

Each EDF is concluded for a multi-annual period. The 10th EDF, which covered the 2008-2013 period, had a budget of €22.7 billion. The 11th EDF, with an amount of €195 million, covers the 2014-2020 period.

Financing for the EDF is provided by the following budgetary instruments:

  • the Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI),
  • the Instrument for Stability,
  • the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR),
  • the Humanitarian Aid Instrument.

Assistance provided by the European Commission to signatory countries to the Cotonou Agreement is in the form of funding tied to European Development Fund (EDF).

During the 9th EDF (2003-2007), more than €120 million were made available to Mauritania. These funds were primarily allocated to infrastructure projects: construction of the Rosso-Lexeiba and Kaédi-Gouraye roads is ongoing.

With an amount of €56 million for Mauritania, the 10th EDF covers the 2008-2013 period. This new allocation was actualised by launching programmes to support trade and the private sector, and support for the implementation of projects resulting from Mauritanian-European cooperation. The Nouakchott Rosso road comes in addition to these two programmes.

The 11th EDF, for an amount of €195 million to Mauritania, has been approved. It is intended to support the country in the areas of food security, the rule of law and health care.

Projects financed by other EU resources complement these EDF amounts:

  • Stabex funds finance the project to remove wrecks from the Bay of Nouadhibou;
  • Sysmin funds help finance the Nouadhibou ore port;
  • and various other thematic budget lines (food security, local authorities and non-State actors, human rights, migration-asylum, short-term stability instrument).

Assistance provided by the European Commission to signatory countries to the Cotonou Agreement is in the form of funding tied to European Development Fund (EDF).

During the 9th EDF (2003-2007), more than €120 million were made available to Mauritania. These funds were primarily allocated to infrastructure projects: construction of the Rosso-Lexeiba and Kaédi-Gouraye roads is ongoing.

With an amount of €56 million for Mauritania, the 10th EDF covers the 2008-2013 period. This new allocation was actualised by launching programmes to support trade and the private sector, and support for the implementation of projects resulting from Mauritanian-European cooperation. The Nouakchott Rosso road comes in addition to these two programmes.

The 11th EDF, for an amount of €195 million to Mauritania, has been approved. It is intended to support the country in the areas of food security, the rule of law and health care.

Projects financed by other EU resources complement these EDF amounts:

  • Stabex funds finance the project to remove wrecks from the Bay of Nouadhibou;
  • Sysmin funds help finance the Nouadhibou ore port;
  • and various other thematic budget lines (food security, local authorities and non-State actors, human rights, migration-asylum, short-term stability instrument).

One of the EU's objectives in Mauritania is to facilitate the emergence of an active and organised civil society. To this end, the EU encourages dialogue between institutions and citizens and invites non-State actors (NSAs) and the State to contribute their views to this dialogue.

The 9th European Development Fund in Mauritania (2007-2010) made a specific intervention for NSAs possible thanks to the support programme for civil society and good governance (PASOC).

Outside this programme, periodic and regular meetings are organised between civil society actors, human rights organisations and representatives of EU member States in Mauritania. These meetings make it possible to:

  • take stock of the country's situation;
  • define the needs and demands of local actors;
  • maintain an ongoing and open dialogue about Mauritania's opportunities and challenges.
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