On 23 November 2016 in Brussels, a briefing session was conducted at the EU Council in Brussels to members of the working group on Africa (COAFR) by Ambassador Teshome Toga. COAFR members are responsible for the management of EU external policy towards sub-Saharan Africa.
During the meeting, H.E. Ambassador Teshome Toga briefed the 28 EU member countries about the current situation in Ethiopia and responded to several questions raised by the members.
In his introductory remark, Ambassador Teshome reminded the importance of the mutually beneficial Ethiopia-EU partnership which was recently elevated to a strategic level.
This partnership is providing a permanent framework to hold high-level and senior officials consultations, organize an Ethiopia-EU business forum and address challenges such as migration, economic development and deeming democracy, climate change and fight against terrorism and radicalisation..
The Ambassador also gave insights about how the State of Emergency was declared last October and enabled the country to restore peace and security, with social, economic and other activities getting back to normalcy.
In this regard, he emphasized that some measures such as the travel restrictions for diplomats had already been lifted given that peace and security had been restored, and that some travel advisory of European foreign ministries have also been amended in a positive way.
Answering issues raised by the members of COAFR, Ambassador Teshome further underlined the State of Emergency was not meant to address the root cause of grievance of the public but rather help create the necessary environment so that actual concerns are addressed with full participation of the public.
More importantly, an in-depth reform package including cabinet reshuffle, reform of electoral law and other fundamental reforms will be part of the reform process through consultations with the public and political parties.
On their part, the COAFR members reiterated the importance of the partnership between the EU and Ethiopia and assured that they are willing and ready to assist Ethiopia to overcome the current challenges facing the country.
Finally, members of the COAFR expressed their strong appreciation of the work of the Ethiopian government to address the challenges and reiterated the importance of the strong partnership and solidarity with Ethiopia.
Ambassador Teshome thanked the members for the opportunity and expressed the readiness of the Embassy to engage in a similar dialogue in the future.