German security policy in the framework of the EU
The Union defined its common goals at the Petersberg Conference near Bonn in 1992: “humanitarian and rescue tasks, peace-keeping tasks and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peace-making”. This approach has since become the trademark of European involvement in security policy.
Missions on behalf of the EU
The EU is currently contributing to security and stability in its neighbouring regions with 17 missions involving roughly 5,000 soldiers, police officers and civilian experts. The most recent of these operations is IRINI, which began in the Mediterranean in April. It deploys naval forces from EU countries to monitor compliance with the United Nations arms embargo against the conflict parties in Libya. The oldest ongoing EU mission is Operation Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where soldiers from the EU are helping the young Balkan country develop its armed forces.
The majority of missions are civilian operations
Today most of the missions of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) are civilian operations. Beyond crisis management, the goal is to create sustainable security – through the establishment of reliable structures not only in the army and police, but also in the government institutions of partner countries. For example, members of the German police force are part of the EU Advisory Mission (EUAM) in Iraq. The mission advises the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior.
Fundamentally, CSDP missions focus on advising and training partners – in the sense of providing help towards self-help. This is done in the firm belief that local actors can better resolve conflicts than governments or alliances attempting to exert influence from outside. Often, however, regional partners lack the means to implement appropriate security strategies. This is precisely where the EU focuses its efforts. It wants to put its partners in a position to manage their own and regional security.
Bundeswehr mission in Mali
The European Union Training Mission in Mali (EUTM Mali) is one of the most important operations in which the EU is taking responsibility for the stability of its wider neighbourhood. It has been contributing training and advice to increase the effectiveness of the Malian army since 2013. Some 15,000 Malian soldiers have received training so far. The Malian government’s ability to secure its territory independently represents a major pillar of stability for the region. Security is the foundation for economic recovery and better living conditions for the population.
At the end of May, the Bundestag, Germany’s federal parliament, extended and expanded Bundeswehr participation in EUTM Mali. Germany can continue the operation with up to 450 soldiers and, in addition to assisting the armed forces of Mali, provide support to the other G5 Sahel countries, above all Niger and Burkina Faso. This regional approach aims to strengthen the effectiveness of the EU Training Mission. If the use of force is successfully reduced in the fragile Sahel region, it will also eliminate causes of flight and migration.