The current political, humanitarian and security crisis in Mali creates an unacceptable situation for the country, and a grave threat for the region and for Europe.
An unacceptable situation in Mali: Mali is cut into two with the emergence in the north of a base controlled by violent national and international terrorist groups and a fragile transition process under military threat in the south. . Since fighting erupted in early 2012 in northern Mali, violence has forced approximately 400,000 Malians to flee their homes and further aggravated the food crisis that has affected more than 18 million people throughout the Sahel region over the last twelve months. These crises have had a severe impact on the socio-economic situation of one of the poorest countries in the World. A further deterioration of the situation would put at risk the fragile transition process in the south, weaken the state institutions, reinforce the position of separatist and extremist groups in the north and worsen the already fragile life conditions of the population.
The grip of national and international terrorists, djihadists and narco-traffickers over the population in the north keeps consolidating. The “sanctuarisation” of a terrorist zone, development of criminal economy, gross violations of human rights and the deterioration of the humanitarian situation are making the population increasingly vulnerable. All these developments might have a spill-over effect on neighbouring countries and compromise lasting peace and development throughout the Sahel.
A threat to the European Union’s overall security:
The situation increases the threat to the safety of EU citizens in the Sahel (hostage-taking, attacks) as well as in Europe, notably through the influence of extremists and terrorists networks over the diasporas, training, and logistical support from Al Qaida affiliates in the north of Mali. It also threatens the EU’s strategic interests, including the security of energy supply and the fight against human and drugs trafficking. European intelligence agencies have already thwarted attempted attacks on the European territory.
In order to overcome these threats and address these challenges, the Malian authorities have requested the EU’s support. The EU’s strategic objective, as expressed in its Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel, remains the promotion of stability, connecting security, development and governance through the integrated and coordinated use of all relevant EU instruments in order to address the root causes of insecurity, under-development and conflicts at local, national and regional levels. A CSDP mission is a very significant part of this EU global approach to restore the state’s authority throughout Mali and bring a durable solution to the current crisis (see section at the end of this factsheet).