West Africa - SahelMissions Operations

Belgium confirms its commitment to EUTM Mali (update)

(BRUSSELS2) Following a restricted meeting of the Council of Ministers, the Belgian government has decided to engage in the European operation to train the Malian army (EUTM Mali), jointly announced the ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense, Didier Reynders and Pieter de Crem.

The medical evacuation helicopters will thus change operational roles on March 15, passing from French command (support for Operation Serval) to European command. The location should be changed from Sévaré to Koulikoro, according to our sources. Belgian protection forces could also be made available to the European mission but in a “ proportionate (to) the efforts made by other European partners ". As for the mission of the C-130 aircraft, engaged in Operation Serval, it should cease as soon as the fin February. This commitment to the mission EUTM Mali and this disengagement from Operation Serval is the result of a clever political, operational and financial balance.

The objective is not to overburden the operations budget of the Belgian army, already engaged on other fronts in Africa. At the same time, it is a question of not blocking European Defense operations, for which Belgium has often campaigned. But also to push a little certain European partners, who are much more timid in their commitment. Finally, and also, it is a question of preserving the skills of the Belgian army in Africa, of which it is somewhat the natural element.

Read also: interview with Christophe Lacroix, Some countries could do more…

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).