On 29 October 2020, Italian Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Massimiliano Salini of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission:
“Following months of protests by citizens, Algeria should be undergoing political reform, in particular through a referendum to reform the constitution. The success of this process is important for the EU, as Algeria is a close neighbour and the largest country in Africa. However, the fundamental freedoms situation in the country limits the necessary political reforms. International NGOs report repression of political movements, abuses of political prisoners, and forceful expulsion of refugees including many children. Local media and civil society even decry the killing of two young Saharawis, who were reportedly burned alive by the army as they were in an open cast gold mine without a permit near the camp where they live in the Tindouf area.
In light of the above considerations:
Is the Commission aware of these developments, and can it confirm them?
Does the Commission believe that the current situation allows for a successful and stable political reform in this important EU neighbour?”
On 3 February 2021, High Representative and Vice-President Borrell responded on behalf of the European Commission stating: “The EU is closely following the political situation as well as human rights developments in Algeria in this important moment, including the situation in the Tindouf area.
Respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights is enshrined in the Algerian Constitution and also an essential element of EU-Algeria relations, as reflected in the Association Agreement and reinforced by the Partnership Priorities. The EU is committed to ensuring its implementation.
The EU aims to reinforce the partnership with Algeria to tackle common challenges and has already offered its support to the reform plan that the Algerian authorities will want to undertake to respond to the legitimate expectations of the Algerian people.
Within the framework of the Association Agreement, institutional meetings have been recently relaunched with a series of experts meetings, including a very open and frank exchange on human rights in the sub-committee on Political Dialogue, Security and Human Rights on 19 October 2020. At the videoconference of the members of the EU-Algeria Association Council on 7 December 2020, developments in Algeria in the area of human rights and fundamental freedoms were also discussed at political level.
The EU is determined to deepen an open dialogue with Algeria, based on trust and constructive criticism, and keeps encouraging the Algerian partners to establish an inclusive dialogue with all the representatives of the society.”
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/photos/auto-military-algeria-ras-el-oued-5041603/