THE European Union and the State of Eritrea are inching closer to sign the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) cooperation agreement that runs from 2014-2020.
Government Spokesperson and Minister of Information Yemane G. Meskel indicated that the multi-million-euro development package will mostly focus on enhancing Eritrea’s energy infrastructure projects.
Soon after the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, announced the intention last month to allow European Development Fund resume its activities in Eritrea, the block dispatched a delegation to Eritrea led by Italian Foreign Ministry and International Cooperation to start working out on the details.
The last time the EU approved a major aid package to Eritrea was in 2007 amounting to € 122 million ($130 million) over a six-year period mainly targeting food security (€ 70 million). However, it was discontinued in 2011 at Eritrea’s request.
Under the 11th EDF, the EU allocates a total of € 3 billion to support projects in the wider region of the Horn of Africa.
The European Development Fund (EDF) is managed by the EU on behalf of the 28 EU Member States under the framework of the EC-ACP Partnership Agreement also known as the ‘Cotonou Agreement‘. As such, the EU-Eritrea ties of cooperation were launched in 1993 and have been developing reasonably well within these framework agreement.
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Relations between the EU and Eritrea date back to the first years of Eritrean Independence. The European Commission opened its Delegation in Asmara in 1995 and was one of the first diplomatic missions to be established.
The EU has considerable geopolitical interests in Eritrea, a pivotal country that straddles the Red Sea international maritime route.