European Union External Action

Statement by HR/VP Mogherini following her meeting with the Foreign Ministers of the Sahel G5

Bruxelles, 17/06/2015 - 00:00, UNIQUE ID: 150617_07

Statement by the High Representative/ Vice-President Federica Mogherini following her meeting with the Foreign Ministers of the Sahel G5 (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad)


It gave me great pleasure to invite all the Sahel G5 Foreign Ministers together for the first time, because it is very clear that we share common problems that call for common answers. That was the starting point for our discussions today. We have decided to work together more effectively, more actively, and to progress from action plans - which we have adopted - to real action. We decided to meet at ministerial level on a regular basis and to ask our departments to work, on a technical and very practical level, on three key priorities.

The first is the fight against terrorism and organised crime, including border controls and measures to combat trafficking of all kinds - whether in human beings, drugs, weapons or organised crime.

The second level of close cooperation which we will be developing further is the common management of migration flows and the fight against smuggling networks. It is a challenge that we share, and we are well aware that the solution does not lie only on one side of the Mediterranean; close and practical cooperation is essential, and we must help each other to cope with this common challenge. We are aware that the Sahel countries are major countries of transit, and it is in the EU's interest to help and support them in meeting these serious challenges, which are as much a concern for them as they are for us.

The third priority to work on together is climate change - today is European Climate Diplomacy Day - and sustainable development. The European Union is going to devote more than EUR 5 billion to development aid between 2014 and 2020, and over EUR 8 billion altogether if the Member States' bilateral development programmes are taken into account. This is our first choice for facing up to the first two shared challenges - terrorism and managing migration flows - because the best way of meeting these challenges is to provide hope, opportunities and employment for the region's youth.

As I said, we have had a practical, very fruitful and very productive discussion. It was a genuine exchange, not only in terms of discussions and problem analysis, but also as regards practical solutions that we want to implement together. This is the first time we have met in this format, and it certainly won't be the last. Our next meeting will be held in the Sahel. To make sure that these proposals are put into practice before the next meeting, we will ask our departments to take action on all these points. We have the tools to work together, we have the political will to work together, now it is merely a matter of doing it. It won't be easy but it must be done.

(Addressing the 5 Ministers) Thank you very much for your commitment, your cooperation, your energy, that you have brought with you here to Brussels today, and I am really glad to have been able to welcome you here and that we can start working together. Thank you.