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What can Europe do for Pakistan? COPS discussion

(B2) This is, in a way, the question that the ambassadors of the COPS – the politics and security committee – discussed on Tuesday, during a restricted meeting (ambassadors + 2 in European language.

Returning from a mission in Pakistan, the European coordinator of the fight against terrorism, Gilles de Kerchove, gave an overview of all the security problems in the region – proximity to Afghanistan, internal situation, regional conflicts… In India and Pakistan, there is no shortage of problems. But there is a new fact: the Pakistanis seem open to external cooperation. They " ask for help from Europeans ". Aid which could intervene in areas such as the police, the judiciary, the strengthening of the rule of law. “In fact,” explained De Kerchove to the 27, “ there is a window of opportunity », news because until now Pakistan was rather closed to foreign cooperation – at least European – in the field of security. A window that is all the more interesting as the “ Europeans enjoy an excellent reputation there ».

The 27 all understood the interest of this outstretched hand. And seem determined to react quickly enough. Do we still need to know what and how? A technical mission should thus leave, again, in the region, between now and spring, bringing together specialists from the Commission and the European Union. It is a question of determining in which sector to act, by what actions, of what nature, according to what volume, and what format it could mobilize. Is it simple technical, multilateral cooperation or a more structured ESDP mission? It is also necessary to know what financial framework can intervene. The European Commission must therefore examine whether the Stability Instrument can be mobilized (which allows funding to be obtained quickly).

A first conversation, at the political level, should take place fairly quickly, at the Gymnich, the informal Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs), on March 27-28, as well as between heads of state and government, on the sidelines of the European Council, a few days previously. All this cannot be completely detached from the Afghan context with an American request for greater commitment from Europe - a request reiterated within NATO and expressed again recently to the Europeans (see the NATO-European Commission meeting) and which should be discussed in more depth at the informal meeting of Defense Ministers of the 26 in Krakow on February 19-20 as well as at the NATO Summit in Kehl-Strasbourg at the beginning of April.


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).