On the 19th of July 2017, ambassadors of EU member states and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn held a meeting to discuss current topics such as political reforms in Ethiopia, migration with an emphasis on returnees and the upcoming AU-EU summit.
Reforms and political dialogue
According to Teshome Toga, Ethiopian Ambassador to the EU, the delegation was briefed by the Premier on the effort regarding the in-depth reforms that the government has been pursuing and the political reform being undertaken through dialogue with political parties and civic societies. He assured that the EU Member States could follow the ongoing negotiation among the parties focused on various agendas.
The forums held with the public following the in-depth evaluation was fruitful, which enabled the government to come up with concrete efforts to intensify activities in creating more jobs and addressing issues of good governance, he added.
After the meeting, the Head of the European Union Delegation to Ethiopia Chantal Hebberecht said the “EU is very happy and welcomes the ongoing political dialogue with civic society and political parties.” She told reporters that this kind of direct dialogue with people and civic society is very important in the democratization process.
Economic and business issues was also among the discussion points including Ethiopia’s efforts regarding job creation through the development of industrial parks, the Ambassador said. The EU member states in Ethiopia are working to enable Ethiopia seize the opportunity in various areas including by attracting investors as well as supporting development endeavors. “I tell you that the 21 EU member states here in Ethiopia are doing their best to attract foreign investors here in Ethiopia” she added.
The Head of the EU Representation in Addis Ababa also said that the EU Member States are providing more than one billion euros to the development activities geared towards poverty eradication and improving basic services such as health and education, among others.
Regional stabilization and migration
Alongside its developmental endeavors and political reforms, Ethiopia is well known for its effort in ensuring peace. Ambassador Hebberecht said “we have recognized Ethiopia as it is playing very positive role here in the Horn of Africa.”
Noting that Ethiopia is working to address the root causes of migration through various mechanisms, she also underlined that the EU is supporting the country in this regard. “We are really trying to support the government of Ethiopia to tackle the root cause of the migration in creating job opportunity and develop industrial parks.”
Background of the Ethio-EU relations
Ethiopia and the EU have enjoyed over 40 years of strong and enduring partnership and cooperation on a range of bilateral, regional and international issues. The importance of this relationship has been underlined in the Ethio-EU Strategic Engagement (2016). Ethiopia is also an increasingly important partner in terms of migration, as demonstrated by the signature of a Declaration on a Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM).
Ambassadors of EU member states residing in Addis Ababa each year hold dialogue on the partnership with Ethiopia in accordance with the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, signed in Cotonou, Benin in June 2000.