Blog AnalysisMissions Operationsmaritime piracy

Interview with Admiral Launay (EUCAP Nestor). Objective: “to make people work together”

(BRUSSELS2, exclusive) “ Make a link "," network "," generate trust "," catalyze the energies Here are the key words of Admiral Launay who has just taken up his duties as head of the new European mission EUCAP Nestor. Objective: to strengthen the capacities of Somalia and its neighbors in the face of piracy but also other maritime risks. I had the chance to meet him in Paris recently (*), on the sidelines of the seminar on maritime security, organized by the ministry fr. Defense and the Cypriot Presidency of the EU.

Admiral Launay is not a novice in the region... It's an asset. In 2007, he was commander of the French forces in the Indian Ocean (Alindien) and had set up "Alcyon", the French operation intended to protect the boats of the World Food Program (an operation in a way a precursor to Operation EUNAVFOR Atalanta). The situation " has since changed he warns. Nevertheless, the contacts made at the time - with the African Union, with certain Somali officials - will be very useful...

Admiral Launay is cautious. He does not want to generate unnecessary expectations and, in fact, does not want to give the mission too much visibility which could harm its effectiveness. He knows that this work will be long, a slow work of weaver, and will be done a lot behind the scenes, for this mission which will be above all "software", expertise, advice, intelligence... And above all he considers too early to lower the sails on the anti-piracy operation Eunavfor Atalanta.

Gradual deployment… The deployment of the 175 people of the mission will be done “ gradually ". A first team must be deployed quickly to Djibouti and Seychelles, at the end of July and beginning of August, to make contact with the authorities. A first team of experts of 20-25 people will be deployed in September. Second, the speed of deployment will depend on several factors: 1° the technical or political difficulties on the spot, 2° external difficulties, logistical for example, 3° the availability of the Member States to provide the necessary personnel. We need very specific skills” (Nb: that States may wish to keep internally). The objective of the mission is, let us remember, to have a full operational capability at the beginning of 2013.

The first difficulty, the first job ? “The first difficulty, the first job, will be to know which administration to work with, in the different countries. It will be necessary to forge bonds of trust, to make people understand what our expertise can bring. You have to make sure that people are not used to working together, than those who know each other but do not speak to each other, work together. »

The objective of Eucap Nestor? « …To make people aware that they must work together to guarantee stability at sea and then solve their internal problems, that it is up to the coastal States to take the notion of security in hand in order to promote development. "" It's easy to say, it's much harder to do. And it's not tomorrow that we will see the first results. But it is not useless to hope in order to undertake"as Lyautey said. So we're going to start! »

A software mission… « Until now we were attacking the effects of piracy, now we are attacking the causes”. The mission will thus have a small budget for equipment. “But it's not a matter of providing heavy equipment, hardware (patrol boats or radars) but rather software (like radar operating software for example). »

Federate the energy of other actors... Many initiatives have been taken, somewhat all-out by states in the region and others, and private companies. Many of them did not last the time of a spring. " The simple fact of drawing up a map of what is being done, has been done, has worked or not, will already be useful » “Each of the actors can have a partial view of things, and therefore partial. It will be necessary to channel the energies and direct all the actors towards the search for truly collective interests., get the international organizations working together that look at the problem of piracy, but also on development (…) to have a more global view, and less piecemeal, to achieve a global approach as desired by the European Union. There is room for everyone because the problems are immense. »  The EU has an advantage in this work. " The vision of low-intensity crisis management, developed by the European Union, is a factor in the federation of energies. »

Giving back a place to the State… What was done in Puntland” does not quite correspond to sovereign powers, it is necessary, at some point, to restore order in the thought  ».Â" You have to restore a conceptual place to the sovereign vision of things from international organizations such as the UN and the European Union. By avoiding dealing with the problems, piecemeal, in a vision that is more that of particular interests too limited in time, we can return to a more global conception of things. »

A momentum in the reconstruction of Somalia? The moment is particularly propitious. " It is necessary to use the concomitance of times, of a political process finally on the right track, with a cooperative process of capacity building at the regional level. (…) EUCAP Nestor is a building block in trying to ensure stabilization of the Horn of Africa in the field of the fight against piracy, and therefore to develop the feeling of collective work for the benefit of a administrative entity. Nothing will be done without the Somalis themselves. It is up to them to be defined. »

A network of coastguards ? " We want to set up a 'coast guard' function in each country. But the organization will not be unique, it will be different by country. Because there is not a single organization. (…) Whatever the modus operandi of each other, it is not a question of giving them a lesson in things by telling them: “you have to organize yourself like that”. Instead, it is about making different entities work together in a cooperative and collective way. »

A complementary strategy "Exit strategy for Atalanta"?… EUCAP Nestor is not an exit strategy for Atalanta, at least not only. “That would be to reduce EUCAP Nestor to a 'protection' dimension and not a 'development' one. And that would reduce Atalanta to a simple operation that will be able to decrease in power. Rather, it is necessary to combine the effects “on land and at sea.” Once we have seen the combination of these effects on land, we can then consider reducing the sail area on the high seas. All of this remains to be clarified and assessed according to events on the ground and at sea.

Expectations, results. Don't expect too much just yet… Cautious, very cautious, Admiral Launay's action is medium and long term. " Do not expect me to commit to short-term results. (…) We are not going to solve everything. My problem is actually going to be managing expectations. "" Like a sailor, I would say, you have to last and endure. If we don't last, we'll do it bit by bit. The duration indicated, two years, is the prerequisite for starting work. We're here to stay awhile ».

(*) With my colleague from RFi, Olivier Fourt. You can listen to his "sound", here.

Read also:

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).

Comments closed.