News BlogCentral AfricaMissions Operations

EUTM RCA suspends its activities, it does not stop. Finally a little anyway!

(B2) Asked by B2, the European diplomatic service half-heartedly confirmed the suspension of the European Union mission to train the Central African armed forces. And especially its cause.

(Credit: EUTM RCA)

advice only

This is not a stoppage of the mission justified the spokesperson for the High Representative, Nabila Massrali. EUTM RCA will stop training and “ temporarily refocus its efforts on strategic consulting ". A piece of advice given to the Ministry of Defense and [the military staff] » as well as « FACA military schools », the Central African armed forces.

The cause: the presence of Wagner

« The Central African armed forces received bilateral support from Wagner ". From " reports say it. This cooperation was established without any transparency ". The presence " of Wagner's mercenaries in the CAR is a matter of serious concern for the European Union, more particularly for the EUTM ».

A mission that is not engaged on the battlefield

However, EUTM is “ a training mission, not a combat mission ". That is to say, she is not physically on the battlefield and is not engaged on the battlefield alongside the FACA ».

No cooperation with Wagner, wherever it is

And the spokesperson, to add " to be [perfectly] clear ": " We do not cooperate with the Wagner Group anywhere ". So it is not so no plans for FACA to receive additional training from EUTM at this time or in the short term, this is a temporary operational measure ».

Comment: a six-year throwback! Neither seen nor known

This statement in the form of denial is in fact a confirmation of the information published yesterday. (Read : Faced with Wagner in the Central African Republic, Europe withdraws). It represents a serious setback for the European Union, condemned to an admission of helplessness, and a great return to square one, from the beginning of the mission in the form of strategic advice only (EUMAM CAR) between 2015 and 2016.

Reluctance to engage in the Central African Republic from the start

This EUMAM RCA mission had aroused strong reluctance from Europeans at the time, pointing out the risk of inefficiency. The generation of forces for this mission will be very laborious. With most member states reluctant to send staff (read: EUMAM RCA, a painstaking generation of force). In fact, it will only owe its existence to France, which will provide a good third of the workforce in the end, to a dozen or so Member States, ... and above all to the Georgians who will provide the protection team and the Serbs the support medical (read: The EUMAM RCA mission will be launched, all personnel will arrive later). Two fundamental points for the smooth running of the mission.

I persist and sign

Our article signed yesterday did not really please in high places. Some disputing the title or the analysis. I persist and I sign. This decision – which is called refocusing and suspension (like the EEAS) or withdrawal or stoppage – is not insignificant. It could not, in our view, be taken simply by a decision of the political and security committee.

A political and democratic failure

It should have been taken by ministers as such, or at least endorsed by them. As was the decision on Wagner's sanctions (prepared beforehand and 'endorsed' by the ministers, without debate). And in a democratic system, the European Parliament should have been duly and officially informed. Even if it means deciding in an opinion (purely advisory), it seems quite logical.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

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).