Working with Sahel: common challenges call for common answers

Working with Sahel: common challenges call for common answers

Today I hosted a meeting of the G5 Sahel group here in Brussels, at the External Action Service, with the foreign ministers of Mauritania, Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso, Niger. Sahel is a crucial area for the stability of the whole North Africa, and we share so many interests and concerns. Think of migrations: most of the routes leading to Libya and Europe run through Sahel, that is something we cannot forget.

This is not simply about border control. We discussed concrete measures to foster economic development in the region, starting from good jobs for the youth. We are engaged to fight international crime, which has such a huge responsibility in smuggling human beings, weapons and drugs through the desert. This is what we mean when we talk – in Brussels’ jargon – of a “comprehensive approach” to migrations.

And more: the fight against terrorism, or against climate change. These issues call for global answers, and for close cooperation with our partners. Today’s meeting was not just very frank, it was also operational. We discussed real solutions to pur shared problems. It was our first meeting in this format, and I am sure it won’t be the last – the plan is to schedule our next summit in Sahel.