Burkina Faso: Remarks on behalf of High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the EP debate following the coup de force

EEAS Press Team

Speech delivered by Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen

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Mr President, Honourable Members of the European Parliament,  

As you have been able to follow over the past few days, the situation has been particularly tense in Burkina Faso. 

We have witnessed what we can call a "coup de force" by Captain [Ibrahim] Traoré, who brought together a large part of the army to overthrow the President of the Transition, [Paul-Henri Sandaogo] Damiba. For the record, the latter had already come to power on 24 January 2022, thanks to a military coup overthrowing President [Roch Marc Christian] Kaboré. 

For the European Union, this “coup in the coup” is particularly regrettable. We had strongly supported the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in their mediation efforts to find a way forward with the new Burkinabe authorities. We had engaged politically with the Transition Authorities to encourage them on this path, with commitments to reengage. The High Representative/Vice-President [Josep Borrell] had met President Damiba in New York two weeks ago. We were ready to boost our cooperation with the country, including in the field of defence and security, while continuing our support to the people of Burkina Faso.

Important discussions are taking place between ECOWAS and the new authorities in Burkina Faso as we speak. We look forward to these discussions leading to positive and constructive conclusions, which respect the commitments made at the time of the removal of President Damiba. If these agreements are respected and there is a clear sense of good will, we will need to grasp it and show in a firm and convincing way that we stand together with the people of Burkina Faso in fighting terrorism, combating the humanitarian crisis and supporting the return to constitutional order.   

Certainly, Burkina Faso will need external support. The current challenge is to convince the new junta that, even if the Wagner option is tempting, those mercenaries are objectively ineffective in the fight against terrorism in the Sahel. We can witness this more and more in Mali every day. 

Colleagues, we will need some time to assess whether Burkina Faso and the European Union can continue as partners. We will work to do our part to sustain our strong support to the people of Burkina Faso. 

Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-231064 


Closing remarks 

Thank you Mr President, Honourable Members, 

I want to thank you for the quality of this debate and also for your analysis at such short notice. I think that it was very important to have this debate with you today. As I said in my introduction, we will definitely assess the developments and our relations on this basis. 

I can say that I have myself visited Burkina Faso twice as a Commissioner. I have been following the developments in that country very carefully and I have to say that I feel sad seeing the latest developments, what happened at the beginning of this year, but also the latest coup, which took place this week. 

I think these discussions will also continue in parallel with Member States – as it was also highlighted by you -, since there will be an exchange on this matter on Thursday, 5th of October, at the Political and Security Committee. And I fully agree with you that it is important to try to coordinate with our Member States on our position regarding Burkina Faso, but also on what kind of action and support we will provide to Burkina Faso in the future. 

So, as mentioned in the introduction and as called for by you this evening, we will do our utmost to maintain our strong support to the people of Burkina Faso. In any case, we will definitely maintain our strong support to the people of Burkina Faso. This is our very strong commitment.  

Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-231066 

Nabila Massrali
Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
+32 (0) 2 29 88093
+32 (0) 460 79 52 44
Jennifer Sánchez Da Silva
Press Officer for International Partnerships/Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
+32 (0) 229 58316