The European Union expressed its commitment to enhancing cooperation with the Ethiopian government during a visit by Jutta Urpilainen, the EU’s Commissioner for International Partnerships, to Ethiopia. Jutta met with Ethiopia’s Finance Minister, Ahmed Shide, and announced her upcoming meeting with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
During her visit, Urpilainen disclosed the EU’s readiness to launch the Multiannual Indicative Program (2024-2027) in support of the Ethiopian Government. This represents a positive step in strengthening relations between the European Union and the Ethiopian government.
The relationship between the European Union and the Ethiopian government faced challenges during the conflict between the Federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), mirroring the situation with the United States government.
The Ministry of Finance of Ethiopia confirmed that the bilateral discussion between Minister Ahmed Shide and Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen took place on the sidelines of the Ministerial Meeting of the Horn of Africa Initiative.
During their discussion, Minister Ahmed Shide briefed Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen on the political and socio-economic situations in the country and outlined the steps taken to consolidate peace and efforts toward reconstruction and recovery.
The Ethiopian government concluded war with the TPLF in November 2022, after European Union and the United States mobilized sanction regime as tool to, as many tend to believe, rescue the TPLF – a long time partner to both. At that time, TPLF forces were near collapse, and Ethiopian troops were advancing on Mekelle, where the TPLF forces were coordinating their war efforts. There are speculations that the U.S. government dictated the terms of the negotiation although the peace show was staged as one orchestrated by the African Union.
Ethiopia has been grappling with internal challenges, including a conflict in the Amhara region. The administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been battling the Fano Movement in the Amhara region. The Fano movement aims to end discrimination and violence against ethnic Amhara.
This week, credible reports indicated that passengers from the Amhara region were denied entry to Addis Ababa and redirected to their places of origin due to an undisclosed government policy enforced by Oromia regional state special forces at the Sheno checkpoint, situated approximately 10 kilometers north of the capital.
As part of its efforts to put down resistance in the Amhara region where government forces are accused of massacring hundreds of innocent civilians, the Ethiopian government imposed a six-month-long state of emergency there. Tens of thousands of ethnic Amharas were massacred in the Oromo region of Ethiopia , among other regions, after Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018.
Currently, neither the European Union nor the United States government has implemented sanctions to pressure the Ethiopian government into resolving the situation in the Amhara region.
Minister Ahmed Shide and Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen discussed various avenues of cooperation to further strengthen bilateral relations between Ethiopia and the EU, including the potential resumption of the Budget Support modality , as disclosed by the Ministry.
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