"Providing all the essentials for election observers"

Stabilising the whole region

An interview with Louis Michel

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Philipp Hedemann: Why is the EU sending election observers to Chad?

Louis Michel: Our mission can help support Chad during its process of democratisation and in so doing exert a stabilising influence across the entire region. It is the EU’s moral and political duty to support this process. The fact that Chad has invited us at all demonstrates that the country is open to democracy.

Many organisations send election observers. What is special about the EU missions?

As a result of our particular methodology and many years of experience in election observation missions, if we deem an election to be free, fair and democratic that goes some way to ensuring that that election can be considered legitimate.

The competition for natural resources is intensifying. Does that mean promoting democracy has run its course?

If promoting democracy had already run its course, the EU wouldn’t be investing so much money in support for democratic processes around the world. And our support is global – regardless of whether the country has mineral resources or not.

Africa is heading in the right direction.

Is Africa becoming more democratic?

Without doubt. Africa is heading in the right direction. The road is long, but we are seeing progress. I am convinced that globalisation and new communication possibilities will further reinforce this trend.

 

Philipp Hedemann conducted the interview. He is working as a freelance journalist in Ethiopia. The interview was first published in the GIZ magazine akzente, issue 02/2011.

Louis Michel was EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid from 2004 to 2009. Today he is a Member of the European Parliament. The interview took place on 13 February 2011, election day in the Republic of Chad, where Michel was present as the EU’s chief election observer.

The fact that Chad has invited us at all demonstrates that the country is open to democracy.