While the media abroad talks of the European Union (EU) cutting off
aid to The Gambia, the media in The Gambia are kept in the dark.
Foroyaa has received information disseminated by Reuters that the EU
has withdrawn millions of euros of funding from The Gambia due to its
poor human rights record. According to Reuters, “13 million euros ($16
million) of aid has been blocked due to lack of progress in several
areas of human rights.”The news agency described this as “the last slice of a 75 million euro
aid package that was set to run for six years from 2007.”
Relations between The EU and The Gambia have deteriorated recently and
the political dialogue under the Lome Convention did not get anywhere.
Foroyaa has got in touch with the office of the EU Charge d’Affaire to
find out the truth of the information and the reason for this. We
forwarded questions which asked about which projects are affected and
the state of those projects. We also asked whether the measure is
temporary (pending an outcome) or final.
More than a week ago Foroyaa had forwarded questions relating to
Gambia/EU relations to the Minister of Foreign Affairs after he had
read a declaration denouncing the EU. The questions are as follows:
1. You said “EPA [Economic Partnership Agreement], with the European,
is designed to continue exploiting and impoverishment of the African
continent.” Are you suggesting that the EU’s relation with The Gambia
2. What about the projects are they exploitative?
3. Do you wish to end your relation with the EU and ask them to stop
the aid because they are exploitative?
4. Article 8 of the EPA is about political dialogue and it states,
“The parties shall regularly engage in a comprehensive, balanced and
deep political dialogue leading to commitments on both sides. The
objective of this dialogue shall be to exchange information, to foster
mutual understanding and to facilitate the establishment of agreed
priorities and shared agendas, in particular by recognising existing
links between the different aspects of the relations between the
parties and the various areas of cooperation as laid down in this
agreement….” What is your opinion on Article 8? Are you opposed to
5. If you are opposed to Article 8, please explain why and what you
are going to do about it?
6. If you are not opposed to political dialogue then how soon will you
resume political dialogue through which you can raise your concerns?
When we delivered the letter of request for interview together with
the questions we were informed that the minister had travelled. When
we returned on Monday to make a follow-up we were told that the
minister had just arrived and the secretary promised to get in touch
with us. This has not happened.
We will continue to make effort and inform our readers of development