The European Union is planning to impose sanctions on the new military government in Niger for undermining democracy, according to sources from within the EU. The criteria for punishment would include actions that diminish the democratic process. The specific details of the sanctions are expected to be agreed upon in the near future.
An EU diplomat and an official involved in formulating the sanctions have confirmed that the bloc is developing criteria for punishment, which will focus on the undermining of democracy. While no specific date has been provided for when these sanctions might be implemented, foreign ministers from the EU’s 27 countries are set to discuss potential sanctions and other Niger-related issues during a meeting in Toledo on August 31.
In response to last month’s seizure of power by a military faction led by General Abdourahamane Tchiani, the EU has already suspended security cooperation and financial support to Niger. This move has cut off hundreds of thousands of euros in aid to the country. Other countries, including the US and Canada, have also suspended some assistance programs. Additionally, several European countries, such as France, the former colonial ruler of Niger, have severed ties with the country.
The consequences of the coup and subsequent actions have also impacted Niger’s economy. Credit rating agency Moody’s downgraded Niger’s credit rating after the country banned uranium and gold exports to France. This move cut off Paris from the world’s seventh-largest producer of nuclear minerals and the second-largest supplier to the EU. The World Bank has also terminated public-sector payments to Niger.
West African regional partnership ECOWAS has proposed a plan for military intervention in Niger, demanding the reinstatement of former President Mohamed Bazoum. However, the deadline for intervention has passed without any military action. According to senior military sources, ECOWAS is reportedly unprepared for a full-scale military intervention.
Neighboring countries, Burkina Faso and Mali, have warned ECOWAS against military intervention, stating that it would amount to a declaration of war on both countries and trigger self-defensive responses. Bazoum, who is currently in prison, has called on the US to intervene, claiming that the Sahel region could fall under Russian influence. However, there is no evidence to suggest that Moscow played a role in the coup. US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland has personally traveled to Niger to pressure the new government, cautioning against any deals with the Russian private military company Wagner and urging a restoration of the previous Washington-friendly status quo.
Despite the international response and potential sanctions, a recent survey by The Economist shows that a majority of Nigeriens support the coup. 78% of respondents approved of the takeover, while 73% wanted the new leaders to remain in power either for an extended period or until new elections are held.
In conclusion, the EU is preparing to impose sanctions on the military government in Niger for undermining democracy. The specific details and timeframe for these sanctions are yet to be determined. The coup and subsequent actions have resulted in the suspension of security cooperation, financial support, and assistance programs from various countries and organizations. ECOWAS has proposed military intervention, but the deadline has passed without any action. Neighboring countries have warned against military intervention, and the former president has called on the US for intervention. However, there is no evidence to suggest Russian involvement in the coup. Despite international responses, a majority of Nigeriens support the coup.