(BRUSSELS2 - exclusive) A new meeting of the EU military committee should be held today (or tomorrow) to refine the format of the European operation in the Central African Republic. EUFOR RCA Bangui will be a "small" operation in terms of its size (about 600 men) and its duration (about 6 months). The objective is to create a "bridge" (bridging operation) before the rise in power of the African force (MISCA) and the possible operation of the United Nations in CAR. It should be deployed on the ground fairly quickly, in the spring, either before or simultaneously with the relief of Operation Sangaris (which should take place in April).
A mission on the airport
During their meeting yesterday (Wednesday 15 January), the 28 ambassadors of the COPS - the Political and Security Committee - indeed definitively chose one option: that around Bangui airport (the second option was to secure an area west of the Central African Republic towards Cameroon). The objective of the operation will be threefold: 1) to contribute to securing the airport, 2) to contribute to the supply of humanitarian aid, 3) to provide technical support to the Misca General Staff which is lacking certain elements — such as C2 (Command and Control) or satellite telecommunications.
Half a dozen participating States according to B2
No country has today formally indicated that it will participate in the EUFOR RCA Bangui operation. But B2 has made a first overview of the various possible participations, potential or not. As it stands, a first survey gives half a dozen States (potentially) participating in the mission. We can't say that we are jostling at the gate. There France offered to be the framework nation for the operation by providing the FHQ (force headquarters) or even if necessary the OHQ (operation headquarters) of Mont-Valérien (which had already been used for the EUFOR Chad operation). Paris should thus logically provide a significant contribution in personnel and a good part of the General Staff. Part of the relief from Operation Sangaris would then come under European mandate. Note that the Greece - which currently commands the on-call "battlegroup" - has also offered to make its headquarters in Larissa available.
La Belgium could provide a parachute company. The Poland and Czech Republic study a participation which could be common. I'Estonia should quickly formalize its participation, a modest participation but which reveals a regular commitment of this Baltic country in the military operations of the EU (*).
The other countries
L'Germany in the current state would not take part in the mission with troops on the ground but will lend logistical assistance, in particular aerial. Several other countries (such as Sweden, Spain) said they were thinking about participating. Others (Luxembourg, Austria, Italy, Finland) have not provided for a contribution but do not exclude it. As it stands, some countries (Netherlands, Bulgaria) do not really intend to participate in the operation.
Other details (policy discussion, planning, timeline for discussion, funding) on the Club
(*) an Estonian commando is taking part in the EUnavfor Atalanta operation and a detachment has been sent to the mission EUTM Mali