Towards a Europe-Sahel partnership for security and development

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Since 2006, Mauritania, Mali and Niger have been faced with the expansion of international trafficks (drugs, weapons, illegal migrations), the rise of Al Qaeda in the Land of Islamic Maghreb (kidnappings, murders and attacks) and the revival of insurgencies. On October the 27th, 2009, the Council of the EU stressed the urgency of addressing the issues that plague a region at its southern periphery. For this purpose, a EU-Sahel partnership for security and development is being established, with the aim of strengthening the ability of Western Sahel States to exercise their sovereignty. This policy, which is consistent with the Africa/EU joint strategy of 2007, offers an innovative ad hoc framework. This article aims at presenting the origins, the spirit and the added value of this EU approach and at underlining the challenges it will have to face.