Documents considered by the Committee on 6 January 2016 - European Scrutiny Contents


16   EU training of Malian security forces

Committee's assessment Politically important
Committee's decisionCleared from scrutiny; further information requested
Document detailsCouncil decision authorising Year 2 Budget
Legal baseArticles 28, 42(4) and 43(2) TEU; unanimity
DepartmentForeign and Commonwealth Office
Document Number(37383), —

Summary and Committee's conclusions

16.1  The restoration of security and lasting peace in Mali is a major issue for the stability of the Sahel region and, in the wider sense, for Africa and Europe (see "Background" for further details).

16.2  The EU's objective in Mali is to support Malian efforts to: (a) fully restore constitutional and democratic order through the implementation of the road-map adopted on 29 January 2015 by the National Assembly; (b) help the Malian authorities to exercise fully their sovereignty over the whole of the country; (c) neutralize organized crime and terrorist threats.

16.3  On 18 February 2013, at the request of the Malian authorities, and in accordance with international decisions on the subject, in particular UN Security Council Resolution 2085 (2012), the EU launched EUTM Mali (EU Training Mission). to support the training and reorganisation of the Malian Armed Forces and to help improve its military capacity, in order to allow, under civilian authority, the restoration of the country's territorial integrity.

16.4  Then, in January 2015, EUCAP Sahel Mali became operational, supporting the Malian Government's reform of its three internal security forces (see "Background" for further details). Its Year 1 budget of €11.4 million (£8.38 million) is due to expire on 15 January 2016. The budget proposed in this draft Council Decision is €15.1 million (£11 million), covering the period 16 January 2016 to 15 January 2017.[119]

16.5  The Minister for Europe (Mr David Lidington) acknowledges 33% is a significant increase; but it reflects increased work on border security; an evolution, and increase, of the work started in 2015; and "ultimately some costs being reconsidered in light of the realities the Mission faces"; and is in line with the mission mandate and "good value for money".

16.6  The Minister notes that the Mission's work has been done against a backdrop of implementing a peace agreement between the Government and both pro-government and opposition armed groups, where EUCAP Sahel Mali will play an important role in close cooperation with EUTM Mali and the UN Mission (MINUSMA).[120] EUCAP Sahel Mali is also stepping up work with the Malians in the New Year, on irregular migration in the Sahel and border security. The Minister fully supports this approach and focus. Overall, he believes EUCAP Sahel Mali has created strong foundations and made considerable progress in its first 12 months and ensured close coordination with EUTM Mali and MINUSMA, to avoid gaps or duplication (see "Background" and the Annex for further details).

16.7  We see no reason to question the Minister's judgement. But we are — once again — disappointed that a clear request for an update on progress has been overlooked. When the previous Committee cleared the Council Decision launching the Mission a year ago, it noted that it had been engaged already on two fronts in connection with the first of these EU's two missions, EUTM Mali — avoiding "mission creep" and an unending commitment; and "upstream" scrutiny of the process (see paragraphs 15.15-15.16 of our predecessors' Report for full details).[121] Our predecessors said:

"It is plain that we are not there yet: there is no mention of the potential challenges, nor is a focused and measurable mandate discernible. Moreover, an exit strategy is at least a year away — which raises the other longstanding point of discussion, regarding how the Committee can be engaged in the Strategic Review process of such missions, so as to avoid being where we are now, presented with a fait accompli in the form of a Council Decision requiring urgent attention. That issue remains unresolved."

16.8  They asked the Minister to bring the Committee up to date in autumn 2016, on how the new mission was performing — its counterpart in Niger having got off to a slow start — and the position then with regard to a proper exit strategy, and whether the Committee was to be given sight of the Strategic Review before any decision was presented regarding the Year 2 budget.

16.9  We are now presented with another fait accompli. We therefore ask the Minister to explain how this further oversight occurred, and what systemic measures are being put in place to ensure that such requests are never overlooked in future, be they with regard to this or any other mission (or any other aspect of CSDP and ESDP-related activity).

16.10  In the meantime, we clear this Council Decision.

Full details of the documents: Council Decision amending Decision 2014/219/CFSP on the European Union CSDP Mission in Mali (EUCAP Sahel Mali): (37383), —.

Background

16.11  Mali has been in crisis since March 2012, when the military overthrew the government and, then, a coalition of separatist Tuareg rebels and militant Islamist armed groups with links to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb pushed the national army out of the north of the country. In late 2012, it was agreed to create a military intervention force (now known as AMISA), under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which would attempt to retake the north. However, in January 2013, the prospect that the entire country might fall to the rebels before AMISA could become operational provoked an urgent French military intervention.

16.12  The restoration of security and lasting peace in Mali is a major issue for the stability of the Sahel region and, in the wider sense, for Africa and Europe.[122] On 18 February 2013, at the request of the Malian authorities, and in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution 2085 (2012), the EU launched a training mission for Malian armed forces, EUTM Mali. That mission (to which 25 States, including 22 Member States, are contributing military personnel) aims to support the training and reorganisation of the Malian Armed Forces and to help improve its military capacity, in order to allow, under civilian authority, the restoration of the country's territorial integrity.[123]

16.13  On 15 April 2014 the Council established a further CSDP civilian mission to support the internal security forces in Mali — EUCAP Sahel Mali — as an additional contribution to the EU's overall support to stability, institutional reform and the full restoration of state authority throughout the country. The mission will support the Malian state to ensure constitutional and democratic order and the conditions for lasting peace as well as to maintain its authority throughout the entire territory. The mission will deliver strategic advice and training for the three internal security forces in Mali, i.e. the police, Gendarmerie and Garde Nationale, and coordinate with international partners, with a view to:

—  improving their operational efficacy;

—  re-establishing the chain of command;

—  reinforcing the role of the judicial and administrative authorities in the management and supervision of their missions, and

—  facilitating their redeployment to the north of Mali.[124]

The draft Council Decision

16.14  The proposed EUCAP Sahel Mali budget for 2016-17 is €15.1 million.[125]

16.15  In his Explanatory Memorandum of 10 December 2015, the Minister for Europe says that this "significant increase from the current budget… reflects the increased work on border security (including additional staff), an evolution, and increase, of the work started in 2015, and ultimately some costs being reconsidered in light of the realities the Mission faces". However, his officials "have interrogated the budget", and he judges the proposed expenditure to be "commensurate with delivery of the mandate and good value for money" (the Minister's comparison of the new budget to the previous budget is set out in the Annex below).

The Government's view

16.16  The Minister comments as follows:

"This work has been done against a backdrop of implementing a peace agreement that was signed earlier this year between the Government, pro-government armed groups (Platform), and opposition armed groups (Coordination). Fighting between Platform and Coordination groups over the summer brought the agreement close to collapse. However, a ceasefire agreement has brought the agreement's implementation a new momentum, though progress remains slow. EUCAP Sahel Mali will play an important role in the implementation as, in close cooperation with EUTM Mali and the UN Mission (MINUSMA), it will support the integration of members of the armed groups into the Malian security forces.

"The Mission reacted to the focus on irregular migration in the Sahel by undertaking a review of its mandated tasks, and considered what extra work it could do on border security with the Malians. The Mission's proposals remain within its existing mandate and focus on providing strategic advice and support to the Malian authorities. The Mission ruled out a focus on training as this is already being provided by other partners.

"Its proposed activities have been added to the operational plan and will begin in the new year, following the renewal of the budget. The UK fully supports this approach and focus and believes the Mission could have a considerable impact. It also addresses our concerns, which were raised with the EU, that any additional border security work should not impact on the progress being made on the Mission's core tasks. Also, that any work must be relevant to the Mali context, which is significantly different from its neighbour, Niger.

"Overall, the UK Government strongly supports the work of EUCAP Sahel Mali and believes it has made considerable progress in its first 12 months.

"The Mission has created strong relations with relevant Ministries and each of the Malian civilian security forces (the Police, Gendarmerie, and National Guard). It has also ensured close coordination with EUTM Mali and MINUSMA, to avoid gaps or duplication. Whilst the Mission's ultimate progress is directly related to the security situation in Mali, and continued progress of the implementation of the Peace Agreement, the Mission has created strong foundations."

Previous Committee Reports

None, but see (36579), —: Twenty-eighth Report HC 219-xxvii (2014-15), chapter 15 (7 January 2015); also see (35889), —: Forty-fourth Report HC 83-xxxix (2013-14), chapter 16 (26 March 2014) and earlier Reports referred to therein.


119   €1 = £0.7182. Back

120   The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) was established by UN Security Council resolution 2100 of 25 April 2013 to support political processes in that country and carry out a number of security-related tasks. The Mission was asked to support the transitional authorities of Mali in the stabilization of the country and implementation of the transitional roadmap. By unanimously adopting resolution 2164 of 25 June 2014, the Council further decided that the Mission should focus on duties, such as ensuring security, stabilization and protection of civilians; supporting national political dialogue and reconciliation; and assisting the reestablishment of State authority, the rebuilding of the security sector, and the promotion and protection of human rights in that country. See MINUSMA for full information. Back

121   See (36579), -: Twenty-eighth Report HC 219-xxvii (2014-15), chapter 15 (7 January 2015). Back

122   The EU has been concerned by the deteriorating political, security, humanitarian and human rights situation in the Sahel region since the early 2000s. This situation predated the Libyan crisis, but was further exacerbated by its consequences. In March 2011, the EU adopted a comprehensive approach to the Sahel region, using as reference an EU Strategy for Security and Development based on the assumptions that development and security are mutually supportive and that the issues faced in the Sahel require a regional answer. This strategy includes four lines of actions:

· Development, good governance and internal conflict resolution;

· Political and diplomatic action;

· Security and the rule of law;

· Countering violent extremism and radicalisation.

Since the beginning of the crisis in Mali, the Council has reiterated the EU's resolve to accelerate and enhance the implementation of this Strategy in order to help tackle the regional consequences of the crisis and to enhance the coherence of the EU approach, with a particular focus on Mauritania, Niger and Mali. See The European Union and the Sahel for full information. Back

123   See EU Training Mission in Mali for full information. Back

124   See The EUCAP Sahel Mali civilian mission for full information on the mission. Back

125   €1 = £0.7182. Back


 
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Prepared 15 January 2016