Brussels, Belgium – On 10 November 2015, the AWEPA Section in the European Parliament held its first event since its re-establishment in Spring this year. Head of the AWEPA Section in the EP, Hon. Bodil Valero and Deputy Head of Section Hon. Urmas Paet hosted a lunch meeting to launch the publication: “Somalia: A Brief Country Report”, published in the framework of AWEPA’s programme in support of the legislative institutions in Somalia.
The audience was composed of Members of the European Parliament, AWEPA EP Section Board Members and staff from the EP and AWEPA.
A first copy of the publication was presented to Mr. Nils Behrndt, Head of Cabinet of Mr. Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development. Mr. Behrndt noted that Somalia is a very important country for Europe. Somalia has made good progress, and is at a crucial moment to further materialize this with the upcoming elections, as mentioned by Mr. Behrndt. It is according to Mr. Behrndt crucial that the country is taking ownership in this process.
The publication, written by Ms. Ayaan Abukar, provides a brief overview of Somalia’s history, whilst highlighting the current political developments. Ms. Abukar presented an overview of the book during the meeting and emphasised that it is important to look back at the country’s history in order to better understand today’s issues and challenges. Ms. Abukar indicated that the biggest challenges Somalia is faced with is to rebuild its institutions, review the constitution and put in place a system for free and fair elections. However, today we have a new Somalia, she said, since there has been progress and politicians are increasingly using motions to resolve issues instead of bullets.
In addition, Mr. Cees Bremmer, Somalia Political Coordinator, provided an insight into AWEPA’s involvement with Somalia’s legislative institutions. Thanks to the support of the EC and the Netherlands, the programme focuses on capacity building of parliamentarians, establishment of a parliamentary administration and strengthening of the capacity of the Chair of the House and committees.