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European Union External Action

South Sudan and the EU

The European Union has proven to be a reliable and consistent supporter of a free, independent and prosperous South Sudan, committed to universal values such as democracy, rule of law and human rights.

Following the referendum in January 2011, the EU substantially increased its development assistance with a special package of €285 million in the perspective of South Sudan's independence on 9 July 2011. With the visit of the then High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission, Cathy Ashton, in the context of the independence celebrations, it inaugurated the political dialogue with South Sudan's Leaders at the highest political level. The EU quickly established a fully-fledged Delegation to South Sudan in 2012, building on the Office it had in place in Juba since the second half of the noughties, in the context of the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).

The EU took the lead on the implementation of the EU Single Development Strategy, elaborated in consultation with the government of South Sudan and in coordination with international partners aiming to contribute to institution building at the national, state and local levels while improving effectiveness in providing basic services to the population. This involved joint programming in sectors such as health, education, rural development, and rule of law. In 2013, the EU fully supported the elaboration of the New Deal Compact, and in this context concluded a €85 million State Building Contract with the Republic of South Sudan involving targeted budget support in education and health. Throughout these different activities, contributing to the promotion of good governance, democratisation, human rights and enforcement of accountability for any human rights violations has always figured amongst the key objectives of the EU's engagement in South Sudan.

In addition, in line with its specific policy approach, the EU provides needs-based humanitarian assistance to the chronically food insecure in many parts of the country.

Following the outbreak of the crisis in December 2013, the EU reshuffled its envelope of assistance. It focused on supporting Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Mediation and its ceasefire mechanism, but also on resilience, food security and made efforts to link its development assistance with ECHO's large-scale humanitarian operations, involving disbursements of more than €100 million per year.

The EU has been heavily involved in the peace process with EU Special Representative Alex Rondos playing a key role. The EU is now a witness to the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCISS).

The EU has a formal role in several key new structures which this has put in place, especially the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) and the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism (CTSAMM). The EU focuses its involvement in areas where it has an added value: rural development, transitional justice/reconciliation, public finance management (PFM) and basic social services.

Politically, the EU acts in support of the JMEC Chair aiming to keep momentum in and build a consensus of the regional and international partners around the full implementation of the ARCISS. The EU, working in close co-operation with South Sudan's neighbours and all international partners, stands ready to support the efforts of the Transitional Government of National Unity,  as it works to implement the ARCISS as shown in Council conclusions.  

It will be crucial in this context that South Sudan accedes to the Cotonou Agreement, which provides the legal basis for development cooperation, especially funding allocations under the European Development Fund, between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of countries. Out of the 49 Sub-Saharan African countries, only South Sudan has not acceded to the Cotonou Agreement.

Outside the Cotonou framework, South Sudan benefits from ad hoc allocations under the Horn of Africa Trust Fund, and thematic budget lines like the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace, and the Food Security Thematic Programme (FSTP)

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