News BlogCentral Southern Africa

New orientation for the Eusec mission in Congo

(BRUSSELS2) The Political and Security Committee (PSC) approved a new direction for the European Security Sector Reform Assistance Mission (EUSEC) in Congo. Mission which is extended until September 30, 2012. At its creation, in May 2005, this mission was designed essentially to support the process of integration of ex-combatants into a single force, the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo ( FARDC), in a difficult context the pacification of eastern Congo and support the reform process underway in the army. These objectives have not yet been completely achieved but committed. In the meantime, a new FARDC reform plan has been proposed, running from 2009 to 2025. It is this process that the new EUSEC mission will have to support with new objectives: the modernization of logistics, the relaunch of the training system, and the fight against sexual violence (1).

In this first phase, EUSEC carried out work, discreet but necessary, of census and identification of members of the armed forces (with distribution of identity cards), of reestablishing the payment chain (necessary to ensure that everyone receives their pay) and various support, particularly in terms of networking (IT, etc.). An important component was devoted to supporting the reestablishment of the training circuit with the rehabilitation and restarting of certain premises of the application school of the Superior Military Center (CSM) of Kinshasa – a project mainly supported by the British – and a non-commissioned officer school in Kitona. The objective is now to recreate an administration/logistics school and the military academy for officers, in Kananga in the Western Kasai province.

Sail reduction

General Padiri and General Michel at the opening in Lubumbashi (credit: EU Council / EUSEC T.Slätis)

In terms of the structure of the mission, it remains substantially identical with a management, an administrative and logistical support department, a department of experts, an advice and assistance department. The projects unit – already set up – has been approved and, above all, strengthened. Most staff will be based in Kinshasa, but the deployment to eastern DRC of some experts is also planned.

The number of people assigned to the mission could decrease from 60 international experts (including 50 seconded by Member States) and 55 local employees to 50 international experts (including 40 seconded by Member States) and 36 local employees.

The mission's budget is 12,6 million euros for the first year (until September 2011).

No merger of the two EU missions

The European Union wanted to go further and merge its two missions EUSEC and EUPOL (police) but the Congolese authorities opposed this, preferring to have two different profiles to respond to Congolese interlocutors. On the European side, however, we are very willing to pool certain expertise, “pool certain functions” (as mentioned in the draft decision) to avoid redundancies. It also involves implementing the new system resulting from the Lisbon Treaty, by working more closely with the EU ambassador on site. Thus the head of the EUSEC mission will act as “defense advisor” to the ambassador.

(1) According to the draft decision, the mission has 5 objectives:

  • maintaining support at the strategic level;
  • support for the consolidation of the administration and the establishment of a human resources management system based on the work in progress;
  • support for logistics modernization;
  • support for the relaunch of the training system, particularly for executives, including support for the School of Administration and Military Academy project in Kananga and studies for the School of Logistics in Kinshasa;
  • the pursuit, to their extent, of activities linked to the fight against impunity in the areas of respect for human rights, including sexual violence.

(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).