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EUFOR RCA launched! The European operation in the Central African Republic begins

BadgeEUFOR Rca 2014-02-27 17.28.04(BRUSSELS2) The European peacekeeping operation in Bangui (EUFOR RCA) is launched. General Pontiès announced this in a press release. The initial operational capability was “ reached this afternoon ».

The European command, led by General Thierry Lion, is in place and operational. The French (a company, around 150 men from GTIA Savoie) and Estonian (a platoon, around 40 men) soldiers have officially taken charge of the protection and security of Bangui airport. It is the arrival in particular of these Estonian troops - since today - which allows this start... at the last minute at the end of April, as General Pontiès, commander of the operation, announced in our columns. For the French troops, it's a little simpler, it mainly involves a change of flag and command, as well as affixing the logo of the European operation to their shoulders.

The ramp-up of the operation will continue throughout the month of May, an officer told B2. Reinforcements should arrive in the coming days ". This will ensure a “ responsibility for security in the districts in the following weeks”.

Commentary: A lesson in solidarity

We can notice how symbolic this launch is. It is the arrival of the Estonians – a small Baltic country whose attachment to Africa cannot be said to be the first foreign policy priority – which allows the launch of this mission. A “pure” act of solidarity, just like the arrival of planes. Flurry French in Poland (read: 4 French Rafale present in Malbork. More than a symbol...). This fact provides a scathing refutation to all those who mock the lack of enthusiasm of the Eastern countries or the need for enlargement. Being at “28” provides the European Union with resources that it would perhaps not have at 12 or 15… A real lesson in solidarity that Tallinn gives us.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

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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).