Two external crisis management tools

(B2) The deployment of the first external operation of the Frontex agency in Albania is not trivial. It 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 is indeed of great political significance in terms of the tools of the European Union used in the field of foreign policy. Until now, crisis management in terms of stabilizing or strengthening the rule of law outside the European Union was more in 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 similar 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 countries of the Balkan neighborhood, while CSDP missions seem to be of longer duration, in countries 'more at risk', where security instability takes precedence. But this distinction is nowhere indicated. And nothing prevents us from thinking that these missions could also be deployed in Tunisia, in Lebanon... if the need arises. Everyone can also remember that it was in the Balkans that the CSDP missions started...

Necessary coordination

It will be necessary to ensure that there is good coordination between internal security missions, like Frontex, and rule of law missions, like CSDP. This is not pure theory: the two structures will find themselves very quickly 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 for a European corps of border guards to project its expertise where it can be most useful: the immediate or nearby neighbourhood. This will no doubt force the common security and defense policy to refocus its activities on its primary objective: the stabilization of crisis areas, 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 advisers can do very well 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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