ITF EU Representative Dr Hassan Aydinli attended the 4th European Parliament – Iraq Interparliamentary Meeting in Brussels

October 7, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment
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ITF EU Representative Dr Hassan Aydinli attended the 4th European Parliament – Iraq Interparliamentary Meeting in Brussels

On 25th September 2012 an Iraqi Delegation was received at the European Parliament in Brussels.

The Iraqi Delegation was composed of the following Iraqi MPs:

Mr. Sadiq Humadi AL-RIKABI, Member of the Committee on Foreign Relations

Ms. Safiya Talib AL-SUHAIL

Mr. Hasan Khudhair Abbas HAMADANI (did not attend)

Ms. Wisal SALEEM ALI

Ms. Ashwaq Najem Al  Deen AL-JAF

Ms. Iman HASAN NEAMAH

And 2 coordinator – staffs: Ms. Amal Hazim AL ZUBAIDI and Ms. Rafeef BASIM MOHAMMED.

Other Attendees (Iraqi side from Brussels):

Ms. Jwan KHIOKA, of the Iraqi Embassy, representing the Iraqi Ambassador to Brussels who was in New York  attending the UN General Assembly

Dr Hassan AYDINLI, Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITF) EU representative

Mrs. Merry FITZGERALD,  Europe-Turkmen Friendships

Mr. Zana KURDA, KRG Mission to the European Union

Members of the EU Parliament:

Mr. Struan STEVENSON, Chair of the Delegation for relations with Iraq

Mr. Elmar BROK, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee

Ms. Tarja CRONBERG, Chair of the Delegation for Relations with Iran

Ms. Ana GOMEZ

Mr. Tunne KELAM

Ms. Alexandra THEIN

Mr. Alejo VIDAL-QUADRAS

Ambassador Hansjorg HABER, Director and Civilian Operations Commander of the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability

Ms. Patricia LLOMBART-CUSSAC, Head of Division Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq at the European External Action Service (EEAS)

Mr. Mario MAURO, Rapporteur Partnership and Cooperation Agreement EU-IRAQ,

Ms. Amalia SARTORI, Chair of ITRE Committee (Industry, Research and Energy)

Ms. Paula ABREU-MARQUES, Head of Unit, DG Energy, European Commission

Mr. Olivier De LAROUSSILHE, Head of Unit South Mediterranean and Middle East, DG Trade, European Commission.

Mr. Jean Barbé, AidCo representative

Mr. Dirk Fokke Toornstra, Director of OPPD

Mrs. Eleonora Catella, Business Association representative

Before the start of the morning session,  ITF EU Representative, Dr Hassan AYDINLI, welcomed the Iraqi Parliamentarians to the European Capital, wishing them a successful Meeting with the European participants and a fruitful exchange of views with the EU representatives and policy makers.

Having noticed, once more, the absence of a Turkmen parliamentarian in the Iraqi Delegation to the EU Parliament, he deplored this anomaly and complained about it to the head of the Iraqi Delegation Mr. Sadiq AL-RIKABI, telling him that he felt that the Delegation had once more been composed on a wrong basis as it did not represent the Iraqi people entirely, given the absence of a Turkmen representative in the Delegation. Dr Hassan AYDINLI added that unfortunately, this is not the first time that such anomaly has occurred as it seems that it has become a rule in the Iraqi Parliament to marginalize the Turkmens when composing Delegations to visit important foreign countries and institutions like the European Parliament, despite the fact that the same Iraqi Parliament has recognized that the Turkmens represent the Iraqi people’s  third main component.

ITF EU Representative Dr Hassan Aydinli asked Mr. Sadiq AL-RIKABI to transmit his remarks and his complaint about the absence of a Turkmen representative in the Delegation to whom the matter may concern in Iraq and especially to the President of the Iraqi Parliament Mr. Usama AL-NUJEYFI, hoping that the above mentioned anomaly will cease soon and that a Turkmen representative will be part of all future Iraqi Delegations visiting important foreign capitals and/or institutions.

Mr. Sadiq AL-RIKABI replied that he got the message and would convey it.

The Chair Mr. Struan STEVENSON opened the Meeting at 10:15

The Iraqi Delegation was welcomed by the Chair of the Delegation for relations with Iraq, MP  STRUAN STEVENSON who said that he understands the problems of Iraq and that the EU wants to help Iraq in achieving democracy, freedom and respect of all minorities. He said that EU aid to Iraq from 2003 to 2011 amounts to 1.124.000.000€, he added that this help is not for the oil that Iraq has, but because the EU believes in cooperation and helping developing countries. The Chair said that the EU has concerns about the risk of dictatorship in Iraq.

The following topics were discussed:

–          Political situation, institution building and increase of security and stability in the presence of Ambassador Hansjorg Haber, Director and Civilian Operations Commander of the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability

–          EU-Iraq relation: present stage and evolution in the presence of Ms. Patricia Llombart Cussac, Head of Division Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq at the European External Action Service, and Mr. Dirk Fokke Toornstra, Director of OPPD

–          Political dialogue on regional issues of common interest in the presence of MEP Elmar BROK, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee and MEP Tarja CRONBERG, Chair of the Delegation for Relations with Iran

–          Presentation of the European external trade policy in the presence of MEP Mario MAURO, Rapporteur Partnership and Cooperation Agreement EU-IRAQ, and Mr. Olivier De Laroussilhe, Head of Unit South Mediterranean and Middle East, DG Trade, European Commission.

–          EU – Iraq cooperation in the field of energy in the presence of Ms. Paula ABREU-MARQUES, Head of Unit, DG Energy, European Commission, and MEP Amalia SARTORI, Chair of ITRE Committee (Industry, Research and Energy), European Parliament

–          Structural reforms and investment in the presence of AidCo representative, Mr. Jean Barbé, and Business Association representative, Mrs. Eleonora Catella

–          Situation of Human Rights and Humanitarian issues – Debate with the Delegations

 –          Conclusions of the Meeting

 Brief resume of the Meeting:

Ambassador Hansjorg Haber, Director and Civilian Operations Commander of the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability explained the goals of his Mission in Iraq which is present in Baghdad, Basra and Erbil. EUJUST LEX-Iraq was established to strengthen the rule of law and to promote a culture of respect for human rights in Iraq by providing professional development opportunities for high and mid-level Iraqi officials from the criminal justice system. The core aim is to contribute to a consolidation of security by underpinning the system of rule of law. (1) The Mission has enhanced learning opportunities, training, mutual understanding and transfer of knowledge and capacity building to locals. He said that no Security Minister has been appointed since the withdrawal of US Forces. He confirmed that the final end of the mission will be at the end of next year (2013).  Ambassador Haber said that Syria is facing sectarian conflicts now and that such conflicts also exist in Iraq.

The Chair, Struan Stevenson intervened to say that he deplores the lack of appointment of the Minister of Security and he said he had heard about secret prisons in Iraq, asking who runs these secret prisons, to which Ambassador Hansjorg Haber replied that his Mission has no documented knowledge of such allegations, that the Mission cannot follow everything in the huge security apparatus of Iraq, but that the EU Mission is training the prison authorities, EUJUST LEX Iraq has completed a penitentiary course on Leadership in prisons.
The Chair then gave the floor to MEP Ana Gomez  who put three questions to  Ambassador Hansjorg Haber :

-Why it is that we are still operating out of the British compound, although in 2008 Mr. Al-Maliki had promised that premises would be allocated to the EU?

-In the Penitentiary field, what has become of the 19.000 prisoners that the US handed over to Iraq?

-Women and children are the main victims, your Mission is helping Iraqi authorities to stop human trafficking and is training women, to what extend is there a gender issue?

Ambassador Hansjorg Haber replied that EUJUST LEX are looking for a plot of land but that they do not have the funds, therefore for  the time being working out of the British Embassy is the best option.  Concerning the 19.000 prisoners which the US handed to the Iraqis he said that his Mission does not have any authority over this and that it does not attend the Courts. About the gender issue, he said that in the EU Just Lex Mission they have 25% of women because they do not have more applications from women for the posts.

Iraqi MP Mr. Al-Rikab intervened to say that the Iraqi Government has allocated Villa Nr 7 in the Green Zone to the EU, to be used as EU Embassy in Baghdad.

The Chair informed that due to lack of funds the EU does not have security agents to protect their staff in their posts and during their travels in Iraq.

The Chair gave the floor to MP Mr. Al-Rikab Member of the Committee on Foreign Relations

Mr. Al-Rikab thanked the Chair for giving the Iraqi Delegation the opportunity to make their voices heard within the EU Parliament. He declared that all members in the Iraqi Chamber of Delegates want democracy to take root in Iraq because they have all paid a high price under the dictatorship.  There are still many graves to be found.  He went on saying “We in the Iraqi Parliament have limited experience, we have a lot of weaknesses in terms of how our laws are passed, we have problems in restructuring committees, we have weaknesses in our parliamentary work, we are a young democracy and we are learning about separation of power.  The Judiciary should be independent from the Legislative and Executive.  We have a core structural problem. In the past Saddam called all the shots and we do not have think-tanks or research bodies. We are also struggling because of foreign interference since 2003; some want our democratic experiment to fail.  Regarding the allegations of arrests, etc. this is propaganda. Foreign and even EU agents attack our women and children.  We have not yet applied all Human Rights like in the EU, but we are keen to learn from you. We thank the EU for all support and we look forward to further cooperation”.

The Chair gave the floor to MP Ms. Al Suhail who said that the Delegation was happy to be here to strengthen cooperation between the EU and Iraq.  Ms. Suhail declared: “We are in very early stages of building democracy, some have never heard of the H.R. Chart. However, we are the only country in the region where women can pass nationality to their children.  There are presently 200 prisoners who have committed crimes against humanity, some of them have been tried.  Other prisoners who committed acts of terrorism are still being investigated.  We have a shortage of judges. Concerning secret prisons, we always check the authenticity of these claims and we do not have documented proof about such detention centres, we are very vigilant.

The Chair gave the floor to Iraqi MP Ms. Ashwaq Jaf, Cor-delegate Human Rights Committee. Ms. Jaf said that lack of respect of Human Rights is anchored in our country. We have set up a project with British and UN staff to change the mentality. We in the HR Committee are from different religious groups.  I would have liked to talk in Kurdish but there was no translation. Ms Jaf added that Chapter 2 of the Iraqi Constitution is not being implemented, especially in the Kurdish region.

The Chair then gave the floor to Toornstra, Director of OPPD, who said that unless there is a genuine willingness to change and to respect institutions, help from the outside is of no use.  It is for Iraqis to decide which kind of parliament they want.  We will help you to strengthen your institutions, we are not imposing any support.

The Chair gave the floor to Ms Llombart-Cussac Head of Division Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq at the European External Action Service, who informed she will be leaving her function shortly to move to another position.  She said that she has seen some progress in democracy in Iraq but that continued violence is still a source of concern. The EU has a long term strategic relationship with Iraq and Italian delegations have travelled to Iraq. During the next month a EU Delegation will be going to Iraq to develop and implement the PCA (Partnership and Cooperation Agreement) between Italian and Iraqi interlocutors. We must hear from you how we can help you. We will continue to give financial support. Since 2003 we have been big contributors to the reconstruction of Iraq. More than one billion Euros of EU aid has been given to Iraq. Ms Llombart-Cussac said that political dialogue is still a huge challenge for Iraqis in all sectors of life, services, security, Human Rights, death penalty, women’s rights, minority rights… and that there is a need to speak very openly about it.

The Chair gave the floor to Mrs. Cronberg, Chair of the Delegation for Relations with Iran, who said that the EU has little dialogue with Iran unfortunately. She added that since 2003 Iran has gained influence in Iraq. She said that security in the region is interdependent, but that there is mutual distrust. On the nuclear issue she said that Israel is seeking security from the EU. The EU is afraid of proliferation of nuclear weapons. She informed that there are reports about oil smuggling to Iran via Kurdistan with huge profits and consequently much corruption. Mrs. Cronberg said that we need stability and security for the people of Iraq and Iran.

The Chair gave the floor to MP Mr. Al-Rikabi, who said that the Partnership and  Cooperation Agreement (PCA )had been recently ratified and that many other partnership agreements are going to be signed individually between Iraq and other countries. Mr. Al-Rikabi said that the presence of Al-Qaeda is a main concern, and that further cooperation between Iraq and the EU is needed to fight terrorism, Al-Qaeda is the chief threat in the region, they trigger ethnic violence. He declared that an international commission against the Baath is needed. Mr. Al-Rikabi said that Iraq is against nuclear weapons for all countries in the region.

The Chair gave the floor to MP Ms. Al-Suhail, who said that Iraq does not have mechanisms which allow to implement the laws which have been passed, and that Iraq needs the EU’s help in this field.  She stressed the need for the Electoral Commission to be independent as in the past members were not democratically elected.  She said that young people want to take part in peace building and they need help. Women’s organizations in Iraq need EU and UN support as Iraq only has 1 woman minister today. Ms. Al-Suhail also mentioned the issue of corruption saying that funds do not reach the right people and that there is no proper plan to implement fair distribution.

MEP Ana Gomez remarked with satisfaction that in this Iraqi Delegation there were 6 women and 1 man.  Ms. Gomez said that Al-Quaeda is funded and manipulated by Saudi Arabia.  She inquired about the water dispute with Turkey.

The Chair gave the floor to Mr. Elmar Brok, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, who said that Iraq is one of the first places of civilization. He added that Iraq’s political, economic, social stability and unity are important for the region.  He informed that he met the brother of Kurdish president of Iraq the day before in Berlin, and asked: what would Turkey do about a Kurdish state?

Mr. Al-Rikabi, replied that what Iraqis want is a democratic, federal and united Iraq and that the Iraqi Government is  working on that.

At the start of the second session of the Joint Meeting of the Delegation for relations with Iraq with the Delegation from the Iraqi Parliament, the Chair gave the floor to MEP Mario Mauro, Rapporteur Partnership and Cooperation Agreement EU-Iraq.  Mr Mauro said that he was nominated as Rapporteur on 26 January 2010. Mr. Mauro said that the  2006 Trade Agreement between EU-Iraq became the Partnership & Cooperation Agreement “PCA” in 2010, and this historical agreement  was signed in Brussels on 11th May 2012 by High Representative Catherine Ashton and Foreign Minister Zebari.  The PCA is the first ever such Agreement between the EU and Iraq. It shows the EU’s desire to build a long-term partnership with Iraq. The PCA will be ratified by the EU in January 2013.

MP Al-Rikabi answered MEP Ana Gomez’ questions, regarding Al Quaeda, saying that Al Quaeda was at the origin of religious conflicts in Iraq. Al Quaeda mainly attacks Shias, but also Sunnis and Christians have been targeted, it is against all sections of the Iraqi society, it is responsible for 80% of car bombs.  Al Quaeda gets logistical support from the Gulf countries and also from Syria, we ask the EU to put pressure on their Gulf friends to stop them.   Al Quaeda also trains people in Turkey. Iran supports Al-Bashar regime, if the regime falls, leaving a vacuum Al Quaeda will exploit the situation and this could spread to other countries in the region. We want to see an end to the blood baths. Regarding Turkey, we have implemented a policy of openness with Turkey and have also signed a Strategic Agreement. Regarding the water dispute with Turkey, Turkey refuses to discuss the water problems, 85% of our water comes from Turkey.  We receive recycled water but it is not enough. Turkey wants to use EU funds to build more dams on the Tigris, we launch an appeal on the EU to stop funding this and ask Turkey to discuss this matter with Iraq. On PCA we also look forward to sign this agreement.

The Chair gave the floor to Mr. Olivier De Laroussilhe, Head of Unit South Mediterranean and Middle-East, DG Trade, European Commission who said the EU is in favour of open trade. The EU has been negotiating Trade Agreements with Iraq for three years. On 1/08/2012 the Trade Agreement entered into application by the EU. We need clear rules, transparency for traders, predictable non discriminatory rules. Iraq is not yet in the WTO, but discussions are going on. The obstacles are Standards and Regulations. We have simplified the agreement to facilitate its application by the Iraqi government which has little experience.  Now the challenge is the implementation of the agreement by Iraq, the EU will provide some coaching on implementation. Today, 96% of Iraq’s export is oil, diversification is important. For investing in Iraq there should be non discriminatory rules for Iraq to enter WTO. Regarding Notion of Most Favourable Nation (MFN),  EU Companies should be treated like Iraqi companies (almost like). This will facilitate the admission of Iraq into WTO. Mr. De Laroussilhe added that security problems prevent small and medium size companies to invest in Iraq.

Ms Al Suhail intervened to say that Iraq needs expertise and support from the international community, she added that the EIB (European Investment Bank) has decided on an agreement with Iraq.

The representative of the Iraqi Embassy intervened to say there are permanent contacts between the EIB and Iraq to obtain some loans.

Mr. Al Rakib agreed that economic diversification is most important for Iraq which is entirely dependent on oil and therefore unstable.  Iraq needs to move from oil economy to diversified economy, to achieve this it needs EU help. On agriculture and irrigation Iraq does not have a water policy and it needs a smart management. Our industries are not environment friendly and here too we need EU expertise.  BP, Shell, etc. are present in Iraq, but we need other companies to invest.

The Chair asked for clarification on KRG area oil and gas

Mr. Al-Rikabi answered that the Iraqi Constitution stipulates that oil belongs to the Iraqi people 100%, he informed that internal talks are going in the right direction and that the next law will be to the benefit of all.

The Chair gave the floor to Ms. Paula ABREU-MARQUES, Head of Unit, DG Energy, European Commission, who said that the EU wishes safe, secure and affordable energy for its 27 member countries. The EU is the largest energy importer. Iraq is an oil and gas supplier but also a transit country.  The EU is competing more and more with emerging countries for energy sources. She added that there is a huge potential for solar energy in Iraq.

Iraq aims to produce 11 millionbarrils/day in 2017, associating gas to oil to reduce burning. However, security factor, lack of technical know-how and old infrastructure may hamper its ambitions.

In 2010 the EU and Iraq signed a Strategic Energy Partnership Memorandum of Understanding, areas of cooperation covered by the memorandum are:

  • Contribution to the development of a comprehensive and integrated energy policy for Iraq;
  • Energy action programme for EU-Iraq cooperation covering the period 2010-2015;
  • Updated Iraqi gas development programme;
  • Assessing the Iraqi hydrocarbon transit and supply network. Enhancing safety and reliability of the pipelines;
  • Identifying sources and supply routes for gas from Iraq to the European Union;
  • Ensuring sustainability of energy policy in Iraq, including the necessary legislative, regulatory and institutional framework;
  • Prepare a plan of action for the development of renewable energy in Iraq.

 

The Chair put the following question to the Iraqi MPs: “Where is the money of oil going, Iraqis only have 4 hours of electricity a day”.

Mr Al-Rikabi replied that Iraq has to face 4 challenges:

  1. Infrastructure
  2. Refineries
  3. New technologies are needed
  4. Experience in management is lacking

The Chair gave the floor to MEP Amalia SARTORI, Chair of ITRE Committee (Industry, Research and Energy), European Parliament who said that Iraq is an important partner for the EU.  The EU is reducing its needs of fossil energy and prefers renewable energy, but demands are increasing also in liquid natural gas and  Iraq has an important role to play. The EU wants to reduce its emissions of CO2 by 20% by the year 2020, however energy demand will increase by 30% by the year 2030. Iraq could provide important quantities of natural gas to the EU.

Mr. Al-Rikabi informed that Iraq has concluded an Agreement with Shell for gas (Southern Line). By 2018 gas production will exceed domestic consumption and Iraq will be able to start exporting gas.

The Chair gave the floor to Mr. Jean Barbé, and Business Association representative who  mentioned  the New National Development Plan (NDP)’s need for investment and structural reform in:

  1. Housing shortages
  2. Drinking water
  3. Sanitation
  4. Lack of monitoring
  5. Low agricultural production, poor education

The Chair gave the floor to Mrs. Eleonora Catella Business Association representative, who said that EU investors need security and stability which Iraq is lacking. She added that Regional and Federal Government are hampering investment opportunities. The Oil and Gas law approval by the Iraqi Government will help the EU investors in Iraq.

On the last item on the agenda, the Situation of Human Rights and Humanitarian issues, MEP Ana Gomez said that Iraq is now the 3rd country in the world with the highest numbers of executions according to Human Rights Watch. She added that there are concerns regarding women’s rights and equality in Iraq, about the death penalty as there is a high number of executions, about honour prisons, Russafa prison (for women), about threats against freedom of assembly, about executing opponents, about freedom of expression.

She also mentioned violence against women, genital mutilation in the KRG region and Minority Rights. She said that in the ‘disputed territories’ there are complaints about the Kurdish forces’ behaviour.

MP Al-Rikabi answered that Human Rights is a sacred principle, but it is a cultural issue before they can be enshrined in law.  Iraq will need one generation or even several generations to comply fully with the HR Charter. People who carried out crimes against Human Rights are still in their old jobs.  We have set up a HR Commissariat.

Regarding Freedom of Expression, Mr. Al Rikabi said that ‘Al Shark Al Awsat’ is printed in Baghdad although the paper is clearly against Al-Maliki. The same for “Al Mada” which is also against the Iraqi government.

Regarding the ‘secret prisons’ he said that there are no secret prisons in Iraq, there is no evidence.

Regarding the ‘death penalty’ he declared: I respect your culture, but in Iraq there are terrorist groups who are sowing death and the victims cannot remain calm, they want to see an end to this. You cannot expect us to think as in Geneva.

Ms. Al-Suhail taking the floor said that 25% of Deputies in Iraq are women. Regarding violence against women, we are working on laws. We need more help from the EU regarding fighting against forced prostitution, human trafficking. We also need advice about helping widows.

Ms. Saleem Ali took the floor to say that Iraq has a draft law on HR legislation, that public hearings have been organized. That the rights of the disabled are also being discussed.

Ms Hasan Neamah said that all these issues date back several generations, women and especially widows are very vulnerable. The number of orphans continues to increase, we also need a proper study about cancers and deformities, about chronic illnesses women suffer from. Unfortunately women are still absent in many areas.

The Chair, MP Struan Stevenson, closed the Meeting at 18:30, thanking all the participants and especially the Members of the Iraq Delegation for this frank and sincere exchange of views.

 

Notes:

(1)     About EUJUST LEX:

The European Union Integrated Rule of Law Mission for Iraq (EUJUST LEX-Iraq) is a civilian crisis management mission conducted under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). EUJUST LEX-Iraq is the EU’s first integrated rule of law mission. Following the fourth extension of its mandate, the Council of the EU agreed that EUJUST LEX-Iraq would be extended until 31 December 2013. Since October 2011, EUJUST LEX-Iraq’s Head of Mission is  Brigadier General László (Hungary).

On 27 September EUJUST-LEX Iraq completed a penitentiary course on Leadership in prisons. The course was held in the British embassy in Baghdad and included 14 high officials from the Iraqi Correctional System (ICS).
The course aimed at increasing the prison staff’s understanding and ability to deal with high risk inmates. The participants were trained in how to run a prison, human resources, incident management, human rights, how to plan for exercises and drills and how to implement new procedures. Visiting experts also contributed to the course.

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/eeas/security-defence/eu-operations/eujust-lex/news-in-brief?lang=en

European External Action – Iraq

The EU is moving steadily towards enhancement of its relationship with Iraq and is committed to a long term, mutually beneficial relationship.

A major step forward is the EU-Iraq Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, which will be the overarching framework constituting the legal basis for cooperation. The Agreement is expected to be signed in the first half of 2011.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Iraq and the EU on Strategic Partnership in Energy  [2 MB]   of 18 January 2010, reflects strategic EU policy guidelines aiming at diversifying energy supply to the EU. The first official meeting of the Joint Working Group established by the Memorandum of Understanding took place on 4 May 2011. The European Commission’s Director General for Energy P. Lowe and Iraqi Deputy Oil Minister A. al Shamma co-chaired the meeting. Both sides discussed the state of developments in the Iraqi energy sector, in particular with regards to the electricity and natural gas sectors, and the potential for concrete mutually beneficial joint actions, including possible EU assistance. The Working Group will meet regularly.

The EU continues to provide financial support to Iraq, amounting to almost one billion Euro since 2003, this includes both reconstruction and humanitarian assistance.

Now the EU is moving to medium-term planning through the first ever Joint Strategy Paper for Iraq for the years 2011-2013  [906 KB]    +  Annex  [111 KB] ,  adopted in November 2010. The general focus of EU support is on helping Iraq to better use its own resources, through capacity building activities in the areas of good governance; socio-economic recovery through education and strengthening institutional capacity; water management and agriculture.

The EU has been one of the largest donors in the support of the Iraqi political and electoral process with over €94 m since 2004, including deployment of an Electoral Assessment Team for the general elections on 7 March 2010. Another focal sector of EU assistance is rule of law (€40 million in 2007-2009). The EU has also watched with concern the situation of refugees from Iraq and internally displaced persons within Iraq. So far total support to the refugee crisis has amounted to more than €188 million.

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