EU Relations with Somalia

After years of civil war, Somalia now is gradually emerging from a prolonged crisis. It is facing political, security, developmental and many other challenges to reach its goals by 2016, the crucial transition year for Somalia, when the mandate of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) is due to end through an electoral process and the final ratification of a permanent constitution thus enhancing the legitimacy of the state.

The EU is a key partner to Somalia, which it confirmed by the EU-Somalia Conference in September 2013 in Brussels. The conference endorsed Somalia's efforts to stabilise and re-build the state and bring peace across the country. The New Deal Compact endorsed by the Conference provides the framework for the reconstruction of Somalia and has become an important tool to promote inclusive politics, establish the rule of law and security, and promote socio-economic development up to 2016. The Compact offers a unique platform for coordination of efforts between Somali authorities and international partners.

The EU has long supported the establishment of a peaceful and secure environment in Somalia and encourages reconciliation, democracy and the development of Somali-owned governance structures at all levels. Providing basic social services and creating an environment for sustainable and equitable economic growth will improve the lives of the most vulnerable groups. 

Only lasting stability and security can deliver development and good governance based on the democratic principles of inclusion, rule of law and respect for human rights. Key to Somalia's political future lies in a stable federal structure and the maintenance of a balance between the regional administrations and the centre.   

The EU is engaged in Somalia through a wide range of measures that include political engagement, development cooperation, EU staffed missions and operations in support of security and rule of law, as well as humanitarian assistance (delivered independently of political and security considerations). Importantly, these endeavours are channelled through a comprehensive approach to maintain positive momentum, unity of purpose and build on the positive gains made to date. The nature of Somali politics and constant developments imply that the EU needs to adapt its engagement and modalities to the shifting context. The EU works very closely together with the UN Mission to Somalia (UNSOM) and other international partners present on the ground.

European Development Fund allocation of €286 million for the period 2014-2020 focuses on implementing the "Compact" focussing on:

  • state and peace building;
  • food security;
  • resilience and education.

As security remains the key challenge in Somalia due to the presence of Al Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabaab, the UN-mandated African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) has been present in Somalia since 2007 to enforce peace, enable delivery of humanitarian assistance and protect governmental institutions. The EU has supported the mission since its launch through a specific instrument – Africa Peace Facility, mostly by providing funds for stipends of the troops. By the end of 2015 the EU had committed over €1B to support AMISOM.

Countering piracy, whilst successful to date due to the deterrent effect of international naval presence at sea, remains a challenge due to continued insecurity in Somalia and as piracy kingpins remain at large. The EU chaired the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia throughout 2015.

In 2014 the EU officially re-opened its Delegation to Somalia that was closed in early 90ies as the civil war was breaking out. Although it is still formally located in Nairobi, Kenya, the EU is planning to open its Delegation in Mogadishu in 2016.