borrell21_Arif Hudaverdi YamanAnadolu Agency via Getty Images_bazoum Arif Hudaverdi Yaman/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Democracy Must Prevail in the Sahel

It is a mistake to believe that military juntas can effectively combat terrorist movements or human trafficking. The European Union and all EU member states must continue to support Niger's democratically elected president, and demand a restoration of the country's constitutional order.

BRUSSELS – Some events are more memorable than others and serve as landmarks for a term in office. I will always remember attending a ceremony in Paris, in December 2019, to honor 13 French soldiers who had died in Mali. It was my first official act as High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

I also will remember my visit to Niger in July. I witnessed the tangible results of EU-Niger cooperation with the inauguration of the Gorou Banda solar power plant near Niamey. In Agadez, I also saw hundreds of social housing units built with EU support. Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum’s ambitious vision and actions offered real hope in a region that had fallen prey to authoritarian drift. That is why, shortly after my visit, the military coup on July 26 was a shock for me.

After a discussion with my European counterparts, in the presence of the Nigerien minister of foreign affairs and the president of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), I would like to share a few thoughts on the situation in Niger and the Sahel.

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