EUTM Mozambique: a new mission for Europeans

(B2 – exclusive) The Europeans will give the green light on Monday (July 12) to the launch of a new military training mission, the fourth EUTM in Africa. A mission led by the Portuguese. France will participate in a 'measured' way

The Portuguese marines, one of the elite units of the Portuguese army, could come and train their Mozambican counterparts (Credits: Portuguese Army)

A political green light

The decision will be adopted at the meeting of foreign ministers on Monday. But, without debate, in what is called the 'A points' part. It was in fact prepared well in advance, between the Member States, the EU military staff and the European diplomatic service, within the various working groups and endorsed during the meeting of PSC ambassadors ( Political and Security Committee) then COREPER (permanent representatives).

Two decisions in one

In fact, not one text, but two were adopted. One is a decision that frames the mission from a political point of view (objective, tasks, duration, chain of command, budget). This public document will be published in the official journal in all official languages. The other document — the crisis management concept (or CMC in the jargon) — is more technical and will not be made public. It describes more precisely the tasks to be accomplished, the means developed on site, as well as the context (Mozambican, international, etc.). It will be followed by several other military planning documents (such as a mission plan, rules of engagement, etc.) that are already being written.

A training mission that fits into other actions

Like all the other European Union Training Mission EUTM Mozambique will not have an executive mandate. It will not have the vocation to impose or restore peace, but just to train the Armed Forces of Defense of Mozambique (FADM), or rather a part of them. EUTM is only one part of the European action which includes humanitarian action in northern Mozambique, but also non-lethal FADM equipment support (eg vehicles, radios, etc.).

Un Existing state and an already constituted army

This EUTM is however different from the others deployed between the Horn of Africa and the Sahel. It is no longer a question of intervening in a failed state (Somalia) or near-failed state (Central Africa, Mali) where the army is in tatters, but in a fairly structured state, with an army that certainly lacks capacity, but does exist. The Europeans will therefore have only one task: to form several companies of special forces, in order to eventually form a Quick Reaction strength.

A presence in a protected environment

The European mission is also intervening for the first time in the southern part of Africa, in an area, beforehand, calmed down. The European training mission will not in fact be based near Cabo Delgado, reputedly dangerous, where the rebels and jihadists operate, but very far away, either in the Mozambican barracks of special forces and marines, near Maputo (the capital ).

A reduced format, mainly provided by the Portuguese

The format of the mission will be rather reduced: approximately 120 people, of which nearly two thirds should be provided by the Portuguese, according to our information - the Portuguese already present within the framework of bilateral training. The mission will be led by an experienced Portuguese officer, Brigadier General Nuno de Lemos Pires.

A French contribution by the FAZSOI

The French shouldn't provide a lot of personnel. At least in the state of forces. One or two officers should be present in Mozambique in the mission headquarters. But the French forces of the southern Indian Ocean zone (FAZSOI), based in Reunion or Mayotte, could come and do specific and targeted training (for example shooting or maritime training), within the framework of instruction detachments. operational (DIO). A participation that could increase over time (1). The destination is not totally unknown to the FAZSOI, which have already intervened for the benefit of the Mozambican forces, but especially at sea.

Operational start of the mission: between the end of September and the end of October. If all goes well…

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

  1. The French commitment could be quite reciprocal of the Portuguese commitment in Takuba, according to our understanding of the discussions between Paris and Lisbon. If Portugal provides what France is asking for in the Sahel (units on the ground, and not just a few staff officers), France would be more involved in Mozambique. An exchange of good practices that no one has expressly confirmed to us, but which has not been energetically denied...

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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).