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Duration and source of OpsCenter budget under discussion

(BRUSSELS2) Ambassadors of the PSC, the EU political and security committee, could today finish the discussion on the OpsCenter, the EU operations center for operations in the Horn of Africa which the 27 foreign ministers decided to put in place. Two points remain under discussion: the duration of the OpsCenter activation, the budget or rather the source of the operations center budget. Points which may seem technical but are also very political.

Regarding the duration of operation of the OpsCenter, each of the delegations around the table is in agreement that this center should not be installed on a permanent basis but rather linked to operations. The whole discussion is about renewal. The British want a fixed duration, with a renewal decision as for each mission. The Germans emphasize that this type of operation amounts to calling into question the future of the center, and leaving it at the mercy of a single delegation (follow their gaze…:-). Please note that the decision establishing the mission of the OpsCenter will be regularly re-evaluated (every six months), to adjust its operation if necessary.

On the budget, the whole question is who will finance what. The personnel will, in fact, come from both the military headquarters, the EUTM support element and the Eunavfor Atalanta liaison team already present in Brussels and personnel seconded from the State member. According to the draft decision that B2 was able to read, it is mentioned that the members of the European Union Military Staff (EUMS) are financed by its budget. While the experts seconded by the Member States are supported by them. There remain the other operating costs which will be covered by each of the European missions concerned (Eunavfor Atalanta, EUTM Somalia, RMCB/EUCAP Horn of Africa), in application of the appropriate financial rules. It is these last words that spark discussion. What are these adequate modalities? Some states – like France – want the Athena budget to contribute to this. Most other countries do not want it, the Athena budget being reserved for military operations... and on the contribution of each member state (per share of GDP).

As for the appointment of the head of the OpsCenter, applications run until Monday. Several countries are expected to apply, including several Weimar + countries (France, Germany, Poland, Spain, Italy).

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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).