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José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement by President Barroso following his meeting with President Hadi of Yemen
3 October 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to welcome President Hadi of Yemen to Brussels today.
I had the opportunity to congratulate the President for his election last February and I have commended him for his courage and his leadership in these challenging times. Mr President, we know that the road ahead is difficult but you are not alone on this!
And, I am particularly happy with President Hadi's decision to come to Europe as a priority. This is a key moment in Yemen’s history and President Hadi and his Government are doing a remarkable job under very challenging circumstances.
My message to President Hadi and to all Yemenis today is very clear: the European Union fully supports a peaceful and orderly transition process in Yemen – a transition that responds to the legitimate aspirations of the Yemeni people for a future of peace, security, democracy and prosperity.
Good progress has been achieved since President Hadi took office last February and I particularly welcome the decision to establish the National Dialogue – an essential instrument to ensure a Yemeni-led, inclusive transition. This is the right step in the right direction.
From here I would also like to send a message to all parties and political forces in Yemen to play a constructive role in the country's reform process, to abide by the accepted agreement, and to work together for the future of the country. Mr President, you have our firm political commitment and engagement to safeguard Yemen's road towards democracy.
We have also expressed our strong support for the transition in financial terms. At the 4 September donors' conference in Riyadh we pledged €170 million for the period 2012-2014 in support of short-term needs aiming at key areas such as governance, social welfare, health, and food security. Of that amount, €40 million were mobilised to address immediate humanitarian needs in 2012 – malnutrition, food insecurity and displaced people.
During our meeting, I encouraged the President to develop co-operation mechanisms with civil society and the private sector to ensure the success of the programmes that will be developed with EU assistance.
Moreover, for the future it will be important that Yemen embraces a structural reform agenda and we are ready to support the country, namely in securing human rights and fundamental freedoms, reforming public finance management and fighting corruption.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In many of the nations touched by the Arab Spring, the journey is just beginning. There will be set-backs, but we are making a bet on democracy, and we remain vigilant to prevent those who oppose democracy to hijack these transitions.
I know it is difficult. We know that the challenges are immense in a country like Yemen, sometimes facing threats that do not exist in other countries. But as I said now in the meeting with the President of Yemen, the alternative is certainly much more difficult, much more painful for the Yemeni people.
That is why I would like once again to congratulate Yemen for choosing and pursuing the path of evolution, transition and reform. Together with the European Union and all the friends in the world, Mr President, the Yemeni people can seize a better future.
I thank you for your attention.