(BRUSSELS2) In addition to the proposal to have a single representation in Kabul, the paper submitted by Javier Solana, the High Representative of the EU, to the 27 Member States deserves to be detailed.
An ongoing debate process
Presented at the Gymnich on September 4 and 5, it presents a series of "ideas", not yet really projects for all the debates currently occupying European diplomacy on Afghanistan-Pakistan (Afpak) in order to strengthen the European action in the region (and getting out of the Afghan trap). The next ministerial step in this debate is the informal meeting of Defense Ministers on September 29 (during lunch, read the programme). Then Javier Solana should draft a new “projects” document and the Foreign Ministers will decide on October 26 and 27 (in Luxembourg). Their conclusions will normally be endorsed by the Heads of State and Government, during the summit on 29 and 30 October. The journey may seem complicated (and again I am simplifying –:). But it is, all in all, a fairly standard route for the “major” subjects of European foreign policy.
The EU also proposes to hold an international conference – after the electoral process – in Kabul (1). Proposal taken up by the trio Merkel – Sarkozy – Brown (read here).
Beyond the practical issues – better coordination of European efforts – and strategic issues – the reconstruction of Afghanistan – there is also a tactical objective to this discussion which can be considered to have two triggers. It is for the Europeans to try to regain a foothold in the discussion on an equal footing with the Americans. And also for politicians, particularly diplomats, to regain control of the military who have, until now, led all the debates.
Strengthen existing actions: police, justice
This is the key word of the document. One of the first objectives is precisely to tackle the " lack of coordination between the international community – coupled with the lack of motivation and capacity on the Afghan side – who are responsible for the slow and uneven progress in reconstruction. In addition to the "double hatting", it seems necessary, the document insists, to " strengthen coordination between Europeans "and put in order" the multiple community instruments implemented ».
Police mission (Eupol)
This is the mission of the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP), managed by the European Union. But despite repeated appeals, Eupol Afghanistan has still not reached the target of 400 people, set in May 2008. According to the latest accounts, only… 265 people have been reached. It is therefore the “top priority”. But a little tired of repeating the calls (it seems), the EU secretariat suggests exploiting other avenues to make the posts more attractive: either increasing the CFSP budget allocated to hiring officers , or set up a “ trust funds of the Member States. Clearly, some States have men but no financial means, others have some financial means but no personnel to send. The European police mission is not the only problem. We must also support the Afghan police. As one expert on the matter whom I interviewed pointed out, when you see that the Taliban pay three times more than the government for the police… ". The document therefore proposes to study (and set up) a funding mechanism to support Eupol's activities and provide additional support for the Afghan police.
The justice component, since the Rome conference in 2007, has also come under European jurisdiction, but it is “the other side of the street” (2), the European Commission, which has the “lead”, progress is slow, very slow . " Progress or reform has been torpedoed by Afghan resistance inside judicial institutions we explain.
The other avenues: border management, rail links, training of the Afghan administration.
Reinstatement. The objective is to reintegrate the elements of the insurrection. the EU could thus participate in a "trust fund" of several donors to support the Afghan government's efforts in this direction.
Border management (A Eubam mission?). The EU could offer Pakistan and Afghanistan its skills already acquired in other fields (Eubam Mission in Moldova, Gaza, etc.) in terms of border management, as well as technical assistance and expertise.
Rail connections. The EU could launch measures to facilitate trade and transit in Afghanistan, including a feasibility study on rail links in the region.
Formation of the Afghan administration. It could be done by setting up a " training center for civil servants » Afghan, even of regional training centers ". All accompanied by a packet of capacity building », with the commitment of the Member States and the European Union. The idea is also to use the pool of experts » European Unions – formed in matters of civilian crisis management – to provide technical assistance in the necessary sectors.
And in Pakistan, a new SSR mission?
With Pakistan, caution is required, we feel it. And the proposals carefully weighed.
Pooling of European resources
There too, it is a matter of strengthening coordination between the Member States and the community, using the technique of "pooling" (commoning) of resources. " Several Member States have financial resources available for Pakistan but a limited number have security and logistical capacities for on-site delivery” it is emphasized. It is also a matter of strengthening contacts at all levels between European structures and the Pakistani administration.
Rule of law component: an SSR mission
The EU nevertheless offers its assistance for security sector reform (SSR) and the building of counter-terrorism capacity. Finally. At least, "it's an idea". The EU would help Pakistan, in this context, to " define its counter-terrorism strategy ". This could include training and equipment support, such as establishing " Recommendations for concrete actions. This cooperation can only take place, however, on one condition, the document implies: " include a dialogue on the rule of law and human rights "...
Economic aspect: an opening of European borders
The other aspect of cooperation with Pakistan concerns socio-economic development. This is, following previous EU declarations, to assist Pakistan in terms of sanitary and phytosanitary standards for fishing and other products so that it can benefit from the preferential customs tariff (known as: GSP+).
(1) This may sound a bit far-fetched. Kabul, in winter, at more than 1500 m altitude, it is cold and snowy. But actually it will put everyone in the mood a bit. With consequent security risks…
(2) The buildings of the Council of the European Union and the European Commission, in Brussels, are located opposite each other on the rue de la Loi.