Blog AnalysisEU Defense (Doctrine)PSDC crisis management

The 27 focus on civilian crisis management

(BRUSSELS2) The 27 EU Foreign Ministers gathered on Friday and Saturday (March 27 and 28) at Hluboká nad Vltavou — the Schwarzenberg Castle in the Czech Republic — for the traditional Gymnich (the semi-annual informal meeting) . They found in their work bag a “non-paper from the presidency”, to which the services of Javier Solana contributed significantly (or more), which presents the various ways to improve civilian crisis management.

The problems are quite well known: the EU today has 9 crisis management missions deployed, which represents around 2400 people in different sectors and regions that are not entirely peaceful (post-crisis or a hostile environment). And as a high-ranking European diplomat puts it very diplomatically: “ the current size and complexity of civilian ESDP missions exceeds what was originally planned ". Everyone knows, in fact, the problems that the EU faces in practice: limited human resources subject to budgetary pressure, unsuitable financial procedures, etc. (see the awesome diy). " Political impetus is needed to ensure that the technical solutions presented live up to the ambitions ».

The document therefore proposes several proposals in three types of areas to the Ministers

1. the finances. There is no miracle, additional budgetary resources are needed because the current budget is very “tight. “More missions with fewer resources is a surefire recipe for failure» sums up this diplomat. The budget line on preparatory measures – which currently does not make it possible to finance the purchase of materials, services and recruitment of personnel necessary for the main mission – must have a more “use” flexible and global » to enable rapid deployment. Public procurement rules must be reviewed to allow immediate equipment for missions and during the mission as well (a bit like Echo's humanitarian actions). Finally, we must improve the financial management capacity of missions to make them more professional.

2. The men. Finding qualified people in record time, especially when the missions are high risk, is always a feat. The " new missions in dangerous areas will face recruitment problems ". The idea is therefore to strengthen cooperation between the 1st and 3rd European pillars – to make it possible to find resources, particularly in terms of police and justice. The expert database, as well as the profiling of the necessary resources is another avenue. Finally, career incentives must also be considered.

3. the materials. It is also a challenge. Have the necessary equipment (communications, security equipment, medical services), in record time and especially in the first phase of operation. The solution involves “framework contracts” covering essential equipment. Two contracts are already available. And a series of others is in preparation. The objective is to have a complete range of contracts ready by mid-2010. Other alternative solutions may exist such as centralized or virtual stocks, or better use of equipment in current missions.

It will be up to the Czech Presidency and especially the Swedish Presidency to ensure that all this is translated into action...

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

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).