Mali is an important European Union partner in West Africa, and the EU has had a there since 1958.
Until recently, the two partners maintained close and excellent relations based on the Cotonou Agreement and implementation of the [2 MB] .
The EU offers Mali significant budget support under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) 2008-2013, dedicated to implementation of the growth and poverty reduction strategy.
The other priority areas of cooperation are:
• support for governance (including major support to decentralization and migration policy)
• support for economic development of the northern regions and the Niger Delta.
Due to its geographical position at the heart of the Sahel, Mali is part of the 2011 Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel [81 KB] , under which it has received an additional €50 million in EU aid.
This strategy, which also covers Niger and Mauritania, aims at encouraging the economic development of the populations of the Sahel while helping them create a safer environment to make this development effective.
Since the beginning of the crisis in Mali (rebellion in the north in January 2012 and coup d'état the following March), the EU has stood by the country, actively supporting regional organisations (ECOWAS and African Union) in their efforts to find a solution.
The EU supports Mali's territorial integrity and a political settlement of the crisis through dialogue. It also wishes to see a civilian transition leading to elections as rapidly as possible. Cooperation with Mali is currently suspended, but will resume as soon as progress towards a return to constitutional order permits.
The EU has also actively sought solutions to the humanitarian crisis in the Sahel, quickly mobilising large amounts to help the affected populations.