The money is intended to help reform and ease political tensions.
The European Commission said today (7 August) that it has agreed to give Yemen €18 million to help reforms intended to address problems highlighted by a popular uprising in 2011.
The uprising led to a negotiated end to the 33-year rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, presidential elections in February 2012 and the formation of a transitional government intended to lead the country through to fresh presidential elections in early 2014.
The €18m falls under the 2012 budget and is earmarked for spending by the end of 2013. The money, which will come from the EU's development co-operation instrument, will be spent on equipping and training Yemen's institutions to reform its electoral and legal systems, to develop local councils' capacity to implement development plans, and to help register the population. The civil registry is seen as essential if Yemen is to improve its public services, but the Commission acknowledges that a general perception that registered data are used to control the population might prove difficult to overcome.
The Commission says that the EU has committed around €180m to Yemen since 1990, when the north and south of the country were reunified. Most of that money has been spent on projects relating to food aid and food security (€74m) and economic development (€60m).
The new president, Abd al-Rab Mansur Hadi, was vice-president for 17 years under the old regime, but he has proven more willing to remove officials appointed by his predecessor than many expected.
Hadi faces a major economic challenge – the economy is estimated to have shrunk by more than 10% in 2011 – as well as a significant security threat from Islamist militants, which have fought several open battles with government forces.