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Ethiopia and the Tigray War: Limits and Challenges of EU Policy in a Fragmented and Contested Region


The Horn of Africa is a main item in the Africa policy of the European Union. The EU and its member states have traditionally considered Ethiopia, due to its population, economic size and military capacities, the strategic partner for regional stability. This assumption has led the Europeans to turn a blind eye to Ethiopia’s internal dynamics. In fact, the constitutional, ideological and ethnic composition of Ethiopia provides fertile ground for fragmentation to spread and even escalate into violence, as the brutal war fought between the federal government and Tigray’s rebels in 2020–22 attests to. With a special focus on the war, this report analyses the measures that the EU has put in place to reduce the fragmentation in and around Ethiopia, as well as the effects of competition between external players and divisions within the EU itself.

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