Missions Operations

A “little Switzerland” in EUTM Mali

(BRUSSELS2) The European Union and Switzerland finally signed, on Monday (April 28), an agreement for the participation of the Swiss Confederation to the EU military mission of the Malian army (EUTM Mali). Agreement signed, on the side of the European diplomatic service (EEAS), by Maciej Popowski, Deputy Secretary General, and, on the Swiss side, by Roberto Balzaretti, the head of the Swiss mission to the EU.

This is the result of a long negotiation started last year (Read: Finances and people. Two French-speaking reinforcements at EUTM Mali). This is, in fact, a smooth Bern coaster. Initially, Switzerland planned to participate directly in the mission, with a team of military trainers to provide training in humanitarian law, in the first phase of the mission. It would have been quite logical... But the internal situation decided otherwise. For lack of anything better, and just to save face, a position has been found: in the form of a media specialist, who will participate in the mission's visibility and awareness activities with the Malian population...

It is rather weak and purely symbolic. Although one can wonder about the usefulness of such a symbol. Would this mean that there are so few French speakers available within the European Union that he recruits them outside the European Union... 😉 More generally, one can wonder about this strategy. Oopening EU missions to third countries is in itself an act of foreign policy, which is not useless. But is multiplying them to excess just to have one or two more countries on the "challenge list" really interesting? We also note the lack of appetite of the countries of the European Union to fill the positions offered within it. Which reveals more than a problem...

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

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).