Senegal's New Leader Challenges EU to Rethink Relationship

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.23 - 2024 8:38 AM CET

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Senegal's new president is calling for a re-evaluation of the country's relationship with the EU.

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Senegal's new President, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, has called for a "rethought" relationship with the EU during a visit by European Council President Charles Michel.

Faye, who took office on April 2, campaigned on promises of radical reform and a commitment to restore national "sovereignty" over key industries.

A Renewed Partnership with Europe

During a joint press conference with Michel on April 22, Faye emphasized that the partnership between Senegal and Europe is "dense and multifaceted."

"But together we want a rethought, renovated partnership, [one] capable of supporting the innovative dynamic we want to imprint on our relations,” the Senegalese president added, as reported by Euractiv.

Faye's reform agenda includes renegotiating oil and gas contracts, with similar plans for revisiting fishing agreements with the European Union. The fishing industry is a crucial component of Senegal's economy, but it has suffered from the overexploitation of marine stocks.

Michel agreed that challenging topics should not be avoided if they lead to positive changes, particularly referencing the issue of fisheries. He stressed that Europe has an "objective interest" in supporting Senegal's development and economic growth.

Faye outlined his administration's focus on fostering development from within, focusing on agriculture, livestock, and fishing, as well as infrastructure improvements in railways, electrical grids, telecommunications, and roads.

"European investors whose companies have recognized skills in these sectors are welcome," he said.

Michel said Europe had an “objective interest in Senegal being able to meet the challenges of development, economic emergence, and improvement of the living conditions of the people.”

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