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Brussels, 14 August 2009
The EU in AFGHANISTAN – assistance and support to the democratic process
EC support to Afghanistan’s current elections
Afghanistan is set to hold presidential and provincial council polls on 20 August 2009 and National Assembly and district elections in 2010. These elections present a formidable challenge because of the recent history of the country, the youth of the democratic institutions and the deteriorating security situation and the fractured political scene in the country. These are also the first ever Afghan-led elections in the country since the first round of post-Taliban elections in 2004 and 2005 were a joint United Nations-Afghan effort. This time the elections will be conducted under the sole stewardship of the Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) with the UN acting only in support.
The European Commission is assisting this process through a contribution of €35 million to the UN’s fund for electoral support (ELECT) and and an Election Observation Mission (EOM) 1 . This mission is one of the most challenging EOMs in view of the political context, Afghanistan's weak institutions and the difficult security situation.
The EC’s financial contribution will be directed also towards long-term institution building, voter education and civic outreach also in preparation of Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections scheduled for 2009.
“The upcoming elections are an important milestone for the very young democratic structures in Afghanistan since they will be the first led by the Afghan themselves. At the same time they are a great challenge because of the current political and security situation in the country. The Electoral Observation Mission that the Commission is deploying will operate in one of the most difficult electoral, security and logistical context ever. I am convinced that with the lead of General Morillon this EOM will successfully achieve its mandate. This EOM is yet another clear signal of support to Afghanistan in its path towards stability and democracy", said Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner when the EOM to Afghanistan was deployed on 13 July 2009.
EC support to build up Afghanistan capacity in the governance and democracy sector
Since 2002, the European Commission has been supporting the strengthening of Afghanistan’s governance and rule of law and its electoral processes.
Commission funding for governance in Afghanistan is partly channelled through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) used for civil servant’s salaries, government operations and maintenance expenditures and the Government’s investment and development budget. The Commission contribution to the ARTF to date is €255.95 million: €68.95 million specifically dedicated to rural development programmes, €8 million for justice, and €187 million for other areas covered by the ARTF. This contribution represents around 10.5% of the total ARTF budget and makes the Commission the 4th largest contributor after UK, US and Canada.
A major part of Commission funding for governance in Afghanistan is channelled through the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) used for civil servant’s salaries, government operations and maintenance expenditures and the Government’s investment and development budget. The Commission contribution to the ARTF to date is €255.95 million: €68.95 million specifically dedicated to rural development programmes, €8 million for justice, and €187 million for other areas covered by the ARTF. This contribution represents around 10.5% of the total ARTF budget and makes the Commission the 4th largest contributor after UK, US and Canada.
Other Commission support for governance includes:
In the 2004-2005 elections, the Commission contributed €40.8 million for to the election cycle: voter registration (€12 million), electoral operations (€27.8 million), and media related actions (€1 million). This contribution corresponded to more than 13% of the total cost of that cycle – this, was on top of the EU Member States bilateral contributions. In addition, the Commission deployed an EOM for the Parliamentary elections, with a budget of €4 million. The EOM stationed more than 150 observers across the country on Election Day and visited more than 1,000 polling stations.
EC aid to Afghanistan 2002 – 2008
The European Commission is one of the major donors providing development assistance and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, with a focus on rural development, governance and health. Between 2002 and 30 June 2009 the Commission’s support to Afghanistan amounted to €1.65 billion including €282 million in humanitarian assistance. By end June 2009 the EC had disbursed €1.398 billion, i.e. a successful disbursement rate of 84.7%.
The EC's aid for Afghanistan and the focal areas are aligned with the Afghan Government's priorities as set out in the Afghan National Development Strategy of April 2008. The Strategy builds on the Afghanistan Compact, adopted at the London Conference in 2006 by the EC, other donors and the Afghan Government. The total EC budget for bilateral development cooperation for 2007-2010 is €700 million.
How does the EC contribute to improving the life of ordinary Afghans?
For more information on the EU-Afghanistan relations:
For more information on the EU aid to Afghanistan
AFGHANISTAN - EU Election Observation Mission
The EU was invited to establish an EOM for the upcoming elections by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Independent Election Commission.
The mission’s mandate is to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the electoral process and to observe the extent to which the election complies with international standards for elections, as well as domestic law.
The EU EOM is independent from the European Commission Delegation to Afghanistan and EU member states.
The EU EOM’s assessment is based on an established methodology which it applies in all election observation missions around the world. The EU has sent over 70 EOMs to 50 countries since 2000.
The EU EOM does not interfere in the electoral process while observing and assessing:
Composition of the EU EOM
The EU EOM is headed by the Chief Observer, Philippe Morillon, a member of the European Parliament.
The EU EOM to Afghanistan consists of the Chief Observer (Philippe Morillon, former Member of the European Parliament), 23 Core team analysts deployed in Kabul for over two months; 44 long term observers deployed for 6 weeks and locally recruited short term observers (diplomats from EU Member States embassies). The long term observers are deployed throughout the country in eight hubs: Kabul, Mazar, Jalalabad, Kunduz, Kandahar, Herat, Gardez, Bamyan. Together with the locally recruited support staff, the EU EOM consists of a 200-staff mission, fielded all over the country. The EU EOM observers are nationals of 22 EU Member States, as well as Norway, Switzerland and Canada.
Background to EU Election Observation
The EU has an established methodology for observing elections. Observers cannot interfere in the electoral process and have no authority to change or correct any shortcomings. All EU election observers are bound by a strict code of conduct that guarantees their neutrality and impartiality.
The EU EOM is funded under the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR).
EU EOM uses the following assessment criteria during its observation of an electoral process:
EOM press contact on the ground:
Press & Public Outreach Officer
European Union Election Observation Mission
Tel: +93 (0)706 221 363
EOM web site:
See EU EOM to Afghanistan factsheet at the end of Memo.