Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Development and 'state building' in South Sudan

Delivered in Plenary - 10 December 2013

Mr President

I welcome the De Keyser report on development and state-building in South Sudan. This is a very new country in which I have taken quite a considerable interest and whose birth as a state has not been without problems, which is perhaps to be expected given the long and brutal civil war which preceded its birth.

In addition to the pervasive poverty witnessed in so much of the region, South Sudan has huge challenges in terms of governance, corruption, poor infrastructure and poor services, and in particular the issue of women’s and girls’ rights. These problems must be tackled on a regional basis. Certainly, insofar as the international community attempts to help, we must coordinate our strategies for the Horn of Africa and the Sahel regions of Africa, on both of which I have written reports for this Parliament this year. I also drafted the opinion of the Committee on Foreign Affairs on South Sudan.

I repeat my call on the South Sudanese Government to respect the rule of law and to devote its efforts to strengthening democratic institutions, tackling widespread corruption and, of course, improving relations with its neighbour to the north, Sudan. For this reason, I called for the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), and for the two sides to come together in a spirit of partnership and reconciliation to address in particular the issues of debt-sharing and oil revenues, given that production of oil generates the vast majority of the national budget and disputes over ownership and pipelines could yet lead to fresh conflict between the two countries, potentially exacerbated by the apparently ethnic and religious-based clashes that are driving (mainly Christian) refugees into the south.

We must do all that we can to nurture the enthusiasm in this new country and deploy all the EU’s resources and instruments available to help integrate it into a global community of free, democratic and prosperous states.