West Africa - SahelBlog AnalysisMissions Operations

One year of EUTM Mali

(BRUSSELS2) We are continuing our dual approach of tracking down information in European corridors, of analyzing and deciphering the most important points, but also of going into the field to encounter news that does not is not always first in the ranks of the media. Leonor Hubaut was thus - at the beginning of March - (re)seeing the Malian military training mission (EUTM Mali) on the occasion of its first anniversary and the relay provided between Generals Guibert and General Marc Rudkiewicz (of the Franco Brigade -German) *.

An interesting point because it comes a year after the start of this mission, where I had been there myself. Readers will thus be able to see firsthand the evolution of this mission. It must be recognized that, at the beginning of 2013, when this mission was launched, it was not without difficulties, in particular to bring together the necessary personnel (medical support, protection force, etc.). At the time, there were many questions about the framework of this mission, the role of Europe, the risk of training the terrorists of tomorrow, even a certain fatalism. Very few believed in its success, some even going so far as to make fun of these Europeans incapable of doing anything other than training Malians in the rear who were incapable of fighting and doubting the interest of this training.

A well-established mission

These doubts are now erased. And we have to recognize that these criticisms or mockery have died down... Today, the mission is well established, its outlines are now better defined, the 4 battalions (Waraba, Elou, Sigi, they balance) were formed on time. Official representatives (Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Czech Rep....) parade in Mali, understanding the interest of being present in this Sahelian zone both to mitigate security risks but also - one must not deny it - for their own interest (immigration, economy...). Not being present in this zone when there are difficulties means giving up the markets of tomorrow.

A bet on the future

On the Malian side, the political apparatus is not yet really stable, but at least stabilized. And the EU is starting a second training mission, intended to complement EUTM Mali, to train the security forces. A different challenge... Of course, everything is not settled, it remains to train the rest of the Malian army, to ensure the follow-up of this training, to see if in the medium term, the newly structured army will hold the road, will respect democracy, the rules of conduct of humanitarian law during the conduct of operations, will not be tempted (as in the past) to carry out a coup d'etat. It is a real bet on the future that the Europeans are trying. Whatever its outcome, this bet had to be taken.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Read our report: EUTM Mali: one year later

See also our report from April 2013 at the start of EUTM Mali: Discovering EUTM Mali

All articles published on the blog on EUTM Mali

* We can thank the team in Bamako of the European mission for its warm and precious welcome.

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).