The European Commission is deploying an EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) for the general elections in Nigeria scheduled to take place on 14 and 21 April 2007. The EU EOM is led by Max van den Berg (Netherlands), Member of the European Parliament. The EOM is a further contribution by the European Commission to supporting democracy in Nigeria.
Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, said: "These elections are crucial for Nigeria to entrench the democratic change that began in the late 1990s. Following a number of positive changes to the electoral framework and the increased awareness and interest of the electorate in the process, there is a real possibility of improving the conduct of these elections compared to the past. Credible elections are very important for the long-term stability of Nigeria and this is where I believe that the EU EOM that I have decided to deploy can make a difference.â€
The EOM Core Team of 11 people is being deployed in the middle of March to co-ordinate the assessment. A total of 66 Long Term Observers (LTOs) will be deployed shortly afterwards to assess the campaign period and pre-election preparations around the country and a similar number of Short Term Observers (STOs) will be deployed over the election day periods to observe voting, counting and the tabulation of results. It is planned that the EU EOM will remain in country for a number of weeks after the election days to observe the post-election period.
EU Election Observation Missions are an important instrument for building confidence in the democratic processes of a country and are deployed in line with the EU's commitment to promote democracy, human rights and the respect for the rule of law. The EU has made available some €6 million from the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), for this mission.
The European Commission is one of Nigeria's most important development co-operation partners and is providing funds to assist the country in implementing its development and socio-economic reform agenda. Under the 9 th European Development Fund, a total of nearly €500 million has been allocated to projects in the sectors of good governance, institutional strengthening, health and water supply and sanitation.
For additional information, see also:
The EU's Human rights & Democratisation Policy: http://ec.europa.eu/comm/external_relations/human_rights/eu_election_ass_observ/index.htm
EU Relations with Nigeria: http://ec.europa.eu/development/body/country/country_home_en.cfm?cid=ng&status=new