European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has asked for individual EU Member States to trust Brussels to deal with the surge in coups in Africa.
She made the comments during her annual State of the Union address on September 13, suggesting that European nations would be better off handing over the issue to Berlaymont rather than trying to deal with it alone.
“Our ‘Team Europe’ approach has enabled us to be more strategic, more assertive and more united,” she told representatives, adding that as long as the bloc remains “united on the inside”, it will be able to withstand attacks from the outside.
Von der Leyen linked the ongoing series of uprisings in Africa’s Sahel region between the Sahara to the North and the Sudanian savanna to the South to the influence of Russia. She described the ongoing instability there as a “direct concern for Europe” that required a similar approach to how the bloc has been dealing with the war in Ukraine.
“So we need to show the same unity of purpose towards Africa as we have shown for Ukraine,” she said.
The European Union plans to implement sanctions against Niger and its military government following the armed coup in the country. https://t.co/NcDhDbcsTZ
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) August 31, 2023
Von der Leyen’s call to give Brussels control of European Union policy in Africa comes amid a current uptick in anti-Western coups in parts of the continent.
The nature of the revolutions has worried those in Europe, with France – a traditional power player in the African region – seemingly powerless to prevent the military-led revolts.
Speaking of the situation, former French Justice Secretary Jean-Marie Bockel warned that more coups could be on the horizon, with the military upheaval in Niger possibly setting off a “domino effect”.
He insisted that, despite the country’s many failures in the region, France still “occupies a special place in the hearts of Africans” and should continue trying to intervene positively in the region.
“Our future is indeed determined by that of Africa,” he said.
Niger’s new de facto government appears to be on high alert over any possible French intervention, with the military Junta accusing the administration of French President Emmanuel Macron of preparing to invade the country.
“France continues to deploy its forces in several ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] countries as part of preparations for an aggression against Niger,” claimed Nigerian spokesman Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane.
French officials have announced that France will no longer send development aid to Burkina Faso after the West African country backed the ongoing military coup in Niger. https://t.co/9SEBjMakC1
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) August 7, 2023