Conflict and Fragility


Europe’s re-engagement with Ethiopia

01 Feb 2023 - 09:51
Source: The French and German Foreign Ministers visit a World Food Programme warehouse in Ethiopia, January 2023 © Reuters
Choosing caution over haste

Europe should prioritize the prerequisites for lasting peace in Ethiopia, rather than its own geopolitical concerns

On January 12th-13th, the French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna and her German counterpart Annalena Baerbock made a joint visit to Ethiopia. The visit comes in the wake of the peace agreement signed in Pretoria on November 2nd by the Ethiopian federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The two parties had been engaged in a bloody two-year civil war, which is estimated to have killed between 300,000 and 600,000 civilians and displaced half of Tigray’s population of 7 million.

The two ministers’ visit points to the willingness of the European Union (EU) and its member states to swiftly resume their cooperation with Ethiopia, which had been suspended due to the war. This eagerness to re-engage is understandable, given the dire humanitarian conditions in the second most populous country on the continent, as well as its major role in the Horn of Africa region and in Africa at large. Yet, a hasty return to a full-fledged partnership with Ethiopia, including large-scale financial support, is problematic. What are the three major reasons and what recommendations should European policy makers consider?

Download the Clingendael Alert on Europe’s re-engagement with Ethiopia.

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