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Ana Gomes is coordinator and spokesperson of the foreign affairs committee for her political group, the Social-Democrat. With 200 members the Social-Democrat is the second largest group within the European Parliament. For Ethiopia and Ethiopians though Ana Gomes is best remembered for her role as the leader of the EU election observers’ team during the 2005 crisis-induced general election in Ethiopia. She has had a troubled relationship with Ethiopia’s late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who she still calls “a dictator,” after she published her report in which wrote the election was massively rigged. Eight years later, Ana Gomes came to Ethiopia to participate in the just concluded 26th ACP-EU parliamentary meeting. Her arrival in Addis Ababa caught many, who thought she would never be allowed to set foot in Ethiopia, by a surprise. Addis Standard’s deputy-editor-in-chief Tesfaye Ejigu met Ana Gomes during the meeting and held an exclusive interview. Excerpts:  

The ongoing 26th session of the African, Caribbean, Pacific and European Union joint Parliamentary Assembly ACP-EU/JPA brought hundreds of participants from member states to Addis Ababa. But it also brought Ana Gomes back to Ethiopia for the first time the 2005 post-election chaos. Ana Gomez is currently the coordinator of the foreign affairs committee of the Socialist Democratic group and spokesperson of the group. This is the second largest, right wing group within the European Parliament.

PARIS – France is gravely ill. So ill, in fact, that Standard & Poor’s recently cut its sovereign-credit rating – the country’s second downgrade in less than two years. The decision was accompanied by warnings that the budgetary and structural reforms that President François Hollande’s administration has implemented over the last year have been inadequate to improve France’s medium-term growth prospects. Now, the pressure is on for structural reforms covering everything from labor markets to taxation.