BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, March 17, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ – The Council today adopted an EU strategy on the Gulf of Guinea to support the efforts of the region and its coastal states to address the many challenges of maritime insecurity and organised crime.
Welcoming the decision, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said: “I am glad that the Council has today adopted the EU strategy on the Gulf of Guinea. Its adoption just ahead of the EU-Africa Summit showcases the strong relationship between the EU and Africa and the importance we attach to close and comprehensive cooperation with our African partners. It is crucial now to support our West and Central African partners’ efforts to tackle the complex challenges of maritime insecurity and organised crime. These threaten stability in the wider sub-region and pose a growing threat to the EU as well.”
In order to support partner countries and the regional African-led coordinating platforms emerging to tackle the complex and wide-ranging challenges of maritime insecurity and organised crime facing West and Central Africa, the EU and its member states will focus on four objectives: building a common understanding of the scale of the threat in the Gulf of Guinea and the need to address it; helping regional governments put in place institutions and capabilities to ensure security and the rule of law; supporting the development of prosperous economies in the coastal countries; and strengthening cooperation structures between the countries of the region to ensure effective action across borders at sea and on land.
The strategy also recognises the need to protect both the populations in the Gulf of Guinea region and European citizens from the threats that emanate from the region, including piracy, terrorism and trafficking of people, drugs and arms. It covers the 6.000 km coastline from Senegal to Angola including the islands of Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe.