News BlogCentral Southern Africa

EU to extend security mission in Congo for a year

(BRUSSELS2) The decision was expected. The European Union should extend by one year the mission to assist in the reform of the security sector in DR Congo (1). It had already extended, in June, for an equivalent duration the EUPOL mission, to assist in the reform of the police and the judicial sector. Rather than adopting a simple extension decision,
the joint action (the decision which establishes the mission), has been remodeled, certain provisions being “clarified”. In fact, it is the orientation of the mission which is redrawn in the light of the first results and developments in the country.

The objective set for the mission has evolved significantly. Of "
contribute to the completion of the integration of the different armed factions in the DRC and to contribute to the Congolese efforts of restructuring and reconstruction of the Congolese army", he became : "assist the Congolese authorities in setting up a defense apparatus capable of guaranteeing the security of the Congolese“. This in order to “create the conditions for the implementation in the short and medium terms of the guidelines adopted by the Congolese authorities in the revised plan for the reform of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC).”A plan approved at the end of May by the President of the Republic of Congo.

The details of Eusec's missions change slightly. There is no longer any specific mention of the reform of the payment chain – a primary action developed during the last actions and which is considered completed – but more extensively of: “loperationalization of the implementation of the revised FARDC reform plan through the development of detailed plans to rebuild the FARDC, particularly in the following areas: administration, operational capacities, budget and finances, training, logistics, human rights and fight against sexual violence, as well as human resources.” Additional attention must be paid to human rights and gender issues” which are mentioned on a separate line.

The mission is more structured. Rather than an office, we now speak of a Headquarters in Kinshasa, a more strictly military term. With direction,
an administrative and logistical support department for the mission, and a department of advisers, at the strategic level, assigned to the various structures of the Ministry of Defence. Most advisors are based in Kinshasa. But detachments are expressly planned “in the four military regions of eastern DRC". We have, in a way, a military technical assistance mission from the EU to the army of another country. The change may not be semantic.
And the importance
of Congo, one of the largest (and potentially richest) countries in Africa, cannot be denied.

The importance of this mission should not be put into perspective. The army in Congo is both the solution and a problem. Many abuses (up to rape or murder) in Eastern Congo are the work of the “regular” army in the field, with poorly managed personnel. The Congolese authorities, however, promised, last July, to put things in order and to henceforth clearly sanction any deviation from discipline. The Congo is also an undeniable factor of stability in this tormented Great Lakes region of Africa. The decision states this unambiguously: “ The current security situation in the DRC could deteriorate, with potentially serious repercussions on the process of strengthening democracy, the rule of law and security at the international and regional level. Continued EU commitment in terms of political effort and resources will help establish stability in the region. »

The amount allocated is slightly increased : from 8,45 million euros for the 15-month period July 2008-September 2009, this increases to 10,9 million euros for the period of one year to come (October 2009-September 2010). A sum financed from the EU budget (the Eusec Congo mission is a civilian mission, even if it is largely composed of soldiers and aims to defend a third country). The mission currently has 60 people. It could be increased, in particular with the contribution of third countries (not
Ultimate clarification: the mission is currently led by French General Jean-Paul Michel.

Download the draft decision

(1)The mission was extended in May until the end of September, a short extension for political-diplomatic reasons: the EU was essentially waiting to have certain echoes from Kinshasa, in particular the approval of this revised plan. There could be no question in an EU document of basing the objective on a plan which had not yet been officially approved by the national authorities of the country concerned (Kabila would have had a bit of an ear to approve this plan…).

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).

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