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And three! Europe will form a new African army. A French general takes command

Brigadier General Hautecloque is the commander of Task Force La Fayette at Warehouse Kabul.
Brigadier General Hautecloque is the commander of Task Force La Fayette at Warehouse Kabul.

(BRUXELLES2 - exclusive) The European Union has decided to launch a third mission to train an African army. After Somalia (with EUTM Somalia), launched in 2010, and Mali (with EUTM Mali), set up in 2013. It's the turn of the Central African Republic.

A real challenge

The objective is simple: to restructure and set up a modern, efficient and democratically controlled Central African army. In short, to prevent the army from massacring populations tomorrow or carrying out a coup d'etat, but also being able to maintain the stability of the State. But in the Central African Republic, it's a real gamble!

The principles laid down

The mission will officially start at the beginning of July, or even before, if everything is ready. But the Ministers of Defense have already decided, yesterday, the main lines of this operation, during their half-yearly meeting in Luxembourg (read: The EUTM RCA training mission endorsed by the ministers. The third of its kind). Proof of a certain success of this type of mission, and of an evolution of minds, no one at European level disputes the usefulness of such a mission.

Reluctance that has died down

In 2009-2010 when the mission in Somalia was decided, many critics had been expressed, considering that the risks were greater than the advantages. At the time, the United Kingdom but also Germany, Sweden, Austria... were very skeptical. These voices have fallen silent today because EUTM Somalia is a success. Ditto for EUTM Mali launched with forceps, thanks to French and Spanish pressure in particular. Even more recently, for the Central African Republic, several countries were particularly reluctant to see a new military training mission see the light of day. For want of anything better, it was a simple advisory mission (EUMAM RCA), a transition mission which had been set up as a test. Today, everyone can clearly see that the stabilization of African countries is a necessity. If only out of pure national interest: avoiding terrorism, curbing migration, enabling economic development.

A French commander

It is a French general who will command this new mission, as announced yesterday (Read: The second of the Eurocorps will take the head of EUTM RCA). The Central African Republic is somewhat the ground of the army, it is naturally a landsman. But this time a rider, formerly of the 1st Parachute Hussar Regiment (1st RHP), who was chosen: French General Éric Hautecloque-Raysz. A soldier accustomed to external theaters: in Kosovo (KFOR) twice in 2001 and 2004, in Afghanistan in 2012 - where he closed the ban on the Lafayette task force in Kapisa and Surobi - and in Lebanon (within UNIFIL ) in 2014. Former military governor of Strasbourg, and former head of the 2nd Armored Brigade (2nd BB) of Illkirch-Graffenstaden.

Eurocorps deployment

General Hautecloque-Raysz is today the number 2 of the Eurocorps. He leaves surrounded by part of the European staff. About 70 soldiers will accompany him (read: Notebook 05.04.2016). This will make it possible to constitute the hard core of this mission. This is the second time in a few months that part of the Eurocorps staff has deployed on African soil on behalf of the European Union. It changes from the Alsatian capital 🙂

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde, with Leonor Hubaut in Strasbourg)

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).

2 thoughts on “And three! Europe will form a new African army. A French general takes command"

  • Bullshit, gesticulation, self satisfaction.
    The Shebab are retreating in Somlie?
    What is happening in Kidal in Mali?

    • Well yes, the Shebab have retreated in Somalia and do not control any city while the jihadists in Mali are content with the sandy desert 🙂

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