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Appointment of Lithuanian Usackas in Afghanistan confirmed. decision

(BRUSSELS2) The Council of EU Foreign Ministers will, on Monday, confirm the appointment of a new EU special representative in Afghanistan. This is the Lithuanian Vygaudas Usackas. This name was acquired during the last Council which preferred it in particular to the current holder of the post, the Italian Sequi. The Lithuanian has, in fact, an advantage: having the full confidence of the American allies.

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Usackas in discussion with Hillary Clinton during a NATO meeting, March 2009 (credit: NATO)

Taking office. The EU Special Representative (EUSR) will take office on April 1. His mandate lasts until August 31, 2010, like the other special representatives (1). But it may be modified when the European External Action Service comes into force. Ultimately, he will have under his command the delegation of the European Commission (led by Hansjörg Kretschmer). This will finally make it possible to have the “single European representation” so desired in the past (2). Which meant that there were no longer three EU representatives as in the past but one. Note that since January 1, the EC “embassy” in Afghanistan has already exercised the role of representative of the EU. This country is one of the first “embassies” where Spain, which holds the rotating presidency of the EU, has already ceded its role to the EU (3).

General coordination role. The EUSR has a primary function of " general policy coordination » of Union instruments so that they are “ used consistently ". Its activities must therefore be coordinated with those of the Commission, the EUSR for Central Asia and with the EU representation in Pakistan. It also has a particular role with regard to the EU police mission (EUPOL Afghanistan) for which it formulates " political orientations ». “The EUSR and the civilian operation commander consult each other, if necessary. »

Be present and inform. The Special Representative also has several roles: 1) supporting the EU position in the political process and developments in Afghanistan; 2) therefore maintain close contact with Afghan institutions (government, parliament, local authorities), as well as 3) as well as with international actors (particularly the UN special representative and the NATO civilian representative); 4) inform on progress made in the area of ​​the EU Action Plan for Afghanistan. NB: The RSUE has a budget for these 5 months of 2,5 million euros.

Staff safety: paramount. Given the environment of Afghanistan, the EUSR has a particular security role. He must thus establish a “ specific security plan » of the mission, including physical security measures within the mission and for travel. the staff must be “ covered by “high risk” insurance ». He must also ensure that all members of the team deployed on the ground or in Kabul have followed a “ appropriate security training, before or upon arrival in the mission area ».

To read the draft decision, download here

Born in 1963, Usackas joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1990. Advisor to the Lithuanian mission to the EC and NATO from 1992 to 1996, he became political director at the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs then deputy minister (1999). In 2000 and 2001, he was chief negotiator for Lithuania's accession to the EU and then was appointed ambassador to the United States (2002), Mexico and then the United Kingdom (2006). He returned to Lithuania as Minister of Foreign Affairs (December 2008). But he had to resign from this position in January 2010, following disagreements with President Grybauskaite (former European Commissioner), particularly after the revelations of the installation of a secret CIA detention center in Lithuania (the Americans would have benefited from the assistance of certain Lithuanian services).

(1) EU Special Representatives confirmed, provisionally
(2) The 27 decided so in September 2009. Europe will have a single representation in Afghanistan. It was time !
(3) 54 “EU ambassadors” received their mission orders

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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