Answer – VP/HR – Blocking of internet access by the authorities in Cameroon – E-002617/2017

The Internet connexion previously cut off in the Anglophone regions was restored on 20 April 2017.

The European External Action Service (EEAS) has been following the situation closely (including the trial of the leaders of Anglophone organisations). Both the EEAS headquarter and EU Heads of Mission are maintaining regular contacts with the authorities, calling both sides to peaceful dialogue and to a negotiated solution which can respond to the concerns of the Anglophone minority while respecting the rule of law and fundamental freedoms of all citizens. Implementing the decentralisation reform foreseen in the Constitution would be a key step in this process.

The EU cooperation programme with Cameroon aims at reducing inequalities, promoting inclusive growth and job opportunities and improving governance. Addressing the issue will get to the roots of some of the country’s biggest challenges (e.g. terrorism and social tensions in several areas).

The ongoing Recovery and Peace Building Assessment jointly carried out with the United Nations and the World Bank will result in recommendations which could certainly apply to all regions. The Commission is also working on a budget support in the rural development sector, which will provide opportunities for dialogue on inclusive growth and reducing inequalities. Other programmes also intend to promote rural development at decentralized level and social cohesion.

All Economic Partnership Agreements include non-execution clauses linked to the Cotonou Agreement, which provides that the EU may take appropriate measures in case essential elements of the Agreement (e.g. human rights) are not respected. These measures range from political dialogue to the last-resort option of suspending trade preferences.

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