The Ambassador of the European Union in Mali, Bart Ouvry, gave a press conference on Friday May 6 in his residence in Badalabougou, as a prelude to the Europe Day on May 9, coupled with the celebration also of relations between Mali and the European Union. The European Union has undoubtedly been known as a very important link in cooperation in Mali for more than sixty years; but it also appears, for some time, as “diplomatic actor”pointed out the Ambassador in front of journalists invited to a press breakfast, where the boss of the European Union in Mali was surrounded by his close collaborators. “Our desire is to be at the side of the Malians, we want to maintain our action in favor of the stability of Mali”said Bart Ouvry at a time when Malians are facing enormous challenges: economic, social and security challenges, he acknowledges.
During this party, the tone of which will be set this Monday morning at the Faculty of Public Law by a conference on the theme, “The Mali-EU partnership: Community law at the service of peace and peoples”Ambassador Bart Ouvry’s key message on this occasion will be to say: “We are alongside the Malians and we are in the continuity of our actions”. This leaves no doubt about the European Union’s desire to stay in Mali, to continue to weigh in on cooperation and, if necessary, to play a diplomatic role of its size in order to find a lasting solution to the Malian crisis, without being prescriptive, nor be part of a logic of deadlines, knowing that Malians can decide on the orientations that suit them, but taking into account the concerns of others, such as ECOWAS and the African Union, who want to avoid creating a precedent, more stability in the countries of the region, according to the press host this Friday morning.
The European Union shows solidarity with the countries of the region, ECOWAS and the African Union, which have a dispute with the transitional government over the duration of the transition. “But far from us wanting to go towards a rupture, on the contrary we want to be part of the solution, and therefore we are working with African partners, ECOWAS, the African Union, but also the United Nations to arrive at a solution. », said Bart Ouvry, hand on heart. And according to him, it is essential not to delay, because “We see like any Malian citizen, that on the formal sectors of the economy, the sanctions of ECOWAS weigh, it is urgent to find a solution. We are also in a delicate situation with the government’s choice to call on Russian elements to accompany the FAMa in some of their actions. From the beginning we made it very clear that for us this was a problem”, said the European boss. The government has made this choice, for the European Union, “It is important in our action in favor of security (increase the capacities of the security forces in favor of the FAMa, the National Guard, the Gendarmerie and the Police), we want to avoid working with or in favor of Russian elements, particularly in the center where they are present, and avoid creating equipment, infrastructures to carry out training for the security forces who work with Russian elements”.
… The Cooperation will not stop
The disputes mentioned will not lead to a cessation of cooperation. The European Union stands in solidarity with the countries which are experiencing a dispute with the transition, “but that does not mean that we are going to stop the operation of our EUTM or EUCAP missions”, according to the Ambassador. These missions are in a logic of continuity, their mandate remains the same, there are many activities which remain possible, according to the boss of Europe in Mali. For example, a few days ago, a mission from headquarters (Brussels) discussed this with the authorities, the Minister of Security, the Minister of Defence, seeking solutions, constantly with the Chief of Staff General of the Armed Forces (CEMGA), to find activities to ensure continuity. For example, during the coming year, part of the collaboration will focus on the issue of borders. We know that to enhance security, good border management is useful. This is an activity on which for months to come the cooperation with the Malian partner will be devoted.
… An action on food security
For this year, the European Union will also propose an action on food safety. Noting that today prices are increasing enormously, and that there is sometimes a lack of certain products on the market, for the European Ambassador, it is important not only to provide humanitarian aid for people who find it difficult to obtain food, but above all to increase the capacity of the Malian agricultural sector to produce food. It’s possible, the natural conditions are favorable for a lot of crops, he rejoices. He cited other cooperation activities in the interest of Malians, such as investing this year in the increase of basic services, everywhere in the territory, particularly in the center.
Other sectors are within the scope of actions very close to the European Union on which it will continue to work, such as those in favor of the private sector. There are sectors in which Mali can be competitive, such as shea, soy, mango. These are sectors in which the quality of the product in Mali is excellent. But sometimes there are bottlenecks. Last year, there was an increase in the services of the mango sector for export. Far fewer products were refused for the presence of the fruit fly, recognizes the speaker. These are very concrete actions where when we remove a bottleneck from a sector, we can increase the volume and especially the profitability, believes Bart Ouvry.
During this exchange with the journalists, the main message of the Ambassador was to register the actions of cooperation in continuity. “We have a number of adjustments that are linked to a dispute with the transitional government. I emphasize that we are in the continuity of the dialogue, we meet colleagues from Brussels, to meet their Malian counterparts. Our desire is to work with Malians to find solutions. We can have a dispute, it’s not serious, but the main thing is to seek solutions and to move forward and above all to maintain the partnership that we had more than 60 years ago. My mandate is to work with my colleagues to intensify this partnership”. This is the clear and limpid message sent by the Ambassador of the European Union to Mali, as a prelude to Europe Day.