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Government invites EU to observe upcoming election

Government invites EU to observe upcoming election

Following the invitation made by the Ethiopian government on the first week of January to the European Union (EU) to observe the upcoming general election, which is tentatively scheduled to be conducted in August 2020, a team from the EU has arrived in Ethiopia to assess the possibilities of invitation and the conditions, The Reporter has learnt.

A delegation, which consisted of Loic Defaye, Policy Officer for Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda at the European External Action Service (EEAS) and Rebecca Cox a legal expert, held discussions with the media and other stakeholders in their effort to assess the situation in the country.

“We are here to assess how our observation could contribute to conduct free and fair and elections whether our observation would be useful for the election, advisable and feasible in terms of transport, logistics and security,” Defaye said in a discussion with media on Friday afternoon at the EU Mission in Addis Ababa.

In this regard, members of the delegation stated that in their two weeks stay here in Ethiopia they will engage with ministers, political parties, civil society organizations, media, academics and international stakeholders in their effort to assesse and understanding the condition.

After the discussions, the delegation will compile and present its report to EEAS and the EEAS is expected to announce its final decision regarding the matter on February, the delegates highlighted.

According the delegates, the decision of the EEAS would possibly be on determining how many observers should be deployed, to which parts of the country and so on.

It can recalled that the EU deployed its team of observers to the much-contested election in 2005.

Back then, Chief Observer Ana Gomes, member of the European Parliament headed the mission, and following the final report of the observation the relations between and the EU, and the Ethiopian government deteriorated.

Similarly, the EU sent a mission to observe the 2010 elections which was held on May 23, 2010. During the 2010, Thijs Berman, a Dutch Member of the European Parliament, was the Chief Observer.

The mission consisted of 10 core team members (analysts), 90 long term observers and more than 60 short term observers from 22 EU Member States, as well as Norway, Switzerland and Canada.The Delegation of the European Union to Ethiopia was opened in Addis Ababa in February 1975. Starting from 1 December 2009 with the Lisbon Treaty entering into force, the Delegation of the European Commission was transformed into the Delegation of the European Union to Ethiopia. The Delegation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia is one of over 130 European Union Delegations around the world and is partnered in Addis Ababa by the Delegation of the European Union to the African Union. 

The Delegation's mandate includes the following, to promote the political and economic relations between Ethiopia and the European Union by maintaining extensive relations with governmental institutions and by increasing awareness of the EU, it’s institutions and its programs, to monitor the implementation of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Ethiopia, to inform the public of the development of the EU and to explain and defend individual EU policies and to participate in the implementation of the European Union's assistance programs.