Blog AnalysisEU Defense (Doctrine)

2013… an African year

(BRUSSELS2) I send you my best wishes for this year which is beginning... (with a beautiful photo of my friend Thierry Monasse who is off the coast of Gibraltar). A year that could well be an African year, for the European Security and Defense Policy (PeSDC) as well as… for me.

I am continuing, in fact, my journey with my comrades from the Institute of Advanced National Defense Studies, across the black continent – ​​the theme of this 65th session of the famous institute. And we should not settle for theory (with excellent speakers) but move into the field. After Djibouti, in December, we should be in spring in Ivory Coast and Ghana.

Africa remains an ambiguous land. At the same time in full expansion, with sometimes insolent growth at a time when Europe is in recession and Asia is coughing, it remains marked by successions of crises which cross from east to west its central axis - from the Ivory Coast to Somalia —. After Libya and the Ivory Coast, here is Mali, South Sudan (whose declaration of independence has not alleviated the conflict with its northern neighbor), Congo (which continues to suffer from conflict deadly), and very recently the Central African Republic. But it is also a source of a certain hope. Somalia – which some have written off for years – seems to be regaining some stability. A sign that nothing can be completely lost. Africa had not been the subject of a discussion on strategic partnerships after entry into force. A…strategic error in my opinion (read:The EU's diplomatic priorities for the “next 12 months” according to Ashton. Exploding). We can measure it today...

PeSDC operations restart: 8 to 9 missions in Africa in 2013

Three new European missions were opened on the continent in 2012: EUCAP Nestor – to strengthen the maritime capacities of East Africa – EUAVSEC South Sudan – aimed at strengthening the security of Juba international airport – and EUCAP Niger- intended to strengthen police and judicial capacities in this Sahel state.

Two or three other missions are being planned which should see the light of day this year: EUTM Mali – to train the new Malian army –; a border security assistance mission, such as EUBAM in Libya; even the extension of the EUCAP Sahel mission to Mali and Mauritania.

Without forgetting the existing missions: EUTM Somalia III - the training mission of the new Somali army which should gradually leave its Bihanga camp in Uganda and move towards the Somali capital, Mogadishu - EUSEC and EUPOL Rdc Congo - which have for objective of strengthening the command structures of the Congolese army and the police of the DRC — and EUNavfor Atalanta — a mission certainly focused primarily on the sea, but which has its bases in three countries in East and East Africa. Indian Ocean (Djibouti, Seychelles, Kenya).

A very European Defense year

Apart from the restart of missions – exclusively on the African continent – ​​we can note that the mandate given at the last European summit gives a different tone to the PeSDC for the year to come. European institutions have been asked to consider different initiatives. We are awaiting communication from the European Commission on the subject which should come in the spring. And the Heads of State and Government should fully take up this subject, making various proposals to outline new axes in the field, at the summit at the end of 2013. Which will certainly give everyone something to grind for. Especially since this year must also be accompanied by the implementation report from the European Diplomatic Service (EEAS) and, possibly, various proposals to amend its status. And that in France, a new White Paper will see the light of day, which should give pride of place to European cooperation, if I believe my information. Certainly a year where B2 will not be idle... Especially since his alter ego - upon subscription - the B2 club will fully take off, after a few months of running-in. It's never too late for those who haven't done so to subscribe...

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).