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Two external crisis management tools

(B2) The deployment of the first external operation of the Frontex agency in Albania is not trivial. This is not a simple evolution. It's a little more

Slovenian police officers in the foreground, the director of the Frontex agency Fabrice Leggeri on the right, in Albania the day after the operation (credit: Frontex Agency)

A loss of external primacy for the CSDP?

This step has, in fact, great political significance in terms of the European Union's tools used in terms of foreign policy. Until now, crisis management in terms of stabilization or strengthening of the rule of law outside the European Union was more the domain of the common security and defense policy (CSDP). The European Union has thus deployed, under this name, civilian border assistance missions in Libya (EUBAM Libya) or rule of law missions with a border component (EULEX Kosovo). A mixed mission is also deployed in Ukraine and Moldova, around secessionist Transnistria (under contract from the European Commission but comparable to CSDP missions). EUBAM Moldova Ukraine is typically a Frontex-type mission.

A subtle distinction

A subtle distinction seems to be emerging today: Frontex operations are rather short-term, reinforcement and internal security missions in the Balkan neighborhood countries, while CSDP missions seem to be of longer duration, in 'more risky' countries, where security instability prevails. But this distinction is not indicated anywhere. And nothing prevents us from thinking that these missions could also be deployed in Tunisia, Lebanon... if the need arises. Everyone will also be able to remember that it was in the Balkans that the CSDP missions began...

Necessary coordination

Care must be taken to ensure that there is good coordination between internal security missions, such as Frontex, and rule of law missions, such as the PSDC. This is not a pure theory: the two structures will very quickly find themselves in the same area, in Serbia (where EULEX is deployed on the other side of the border, in Kosovo) or in Bosnia-Herzegovina (with EUFOR Althea ).

Comment: good news in the end

These remarks aside, this irruption of the Frontex agency into the 'external' field seems a good thing. It is logical that a European border guard should project its expertise where it can be most useful: the immediate or near neighborhood. This will undoubtedly force the common security and defense policy to refocus its activities on its primary objective: the stabilization of crisis zones, or even the maintenance of peace, in complex, unstable areas.

A military or civilian crisis mission is not made to deploy in a country where you can walk the streets with your hands in your pockets... or do what a small team of advisors within a delegation (embassy) of the European Union.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Updated: the 'analysis' part has been detached from theoriginal article, for more readability, and supplemented.

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).

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