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Written by Simon Roberts

In December 2008, the President of the Council of the European Union released a report detailing the current European Security and Defence Policy. Here is the first of two parts summarising the contents of the report.

Operational activities

Africa

Somalia  EUNAVCO, established to combat piracy and protect maritime trade. Since October 2008, the action of EUNAVCO has facilitated the establishment of escort slots, to the benefit of many merchant and fishing vessels. Operation ATALANTA

tasks the EU's naval force to protect World Food Program vessels delivering food aid to displaced persons in Somalia.

Darfur  EUFOR Tchad/RCA is a mission designed to contain regional tensions and support international efforts to protect civilians hit by the Darfur regional crisis. EUFOR is also implementing protection measures for humanitarian organisations. The Council has emphasised that an international military presence would still be needed after the European force has departed in order to ensure that the progress achieved would be lasting.

Democratic Republic of the Congo  the two ESDP missions have maintained their support for the Security Sector Reform (SSR) process within the country through the provision to the local authorities of expertise and technical assistance. These activities are continuing despite serious developments in the east for the country. The extension of the EUSEC RD Congo Mission by one year, until June 2009, demonstrates the EU's ongoing commitment to supporting SSR in the field of defence and to the stabilisation of the Great Lakes Region.

Guinea-Bissau  The EUSSR Guinea-Bissau mission was launched in June 2008 and aimed to assist the local authorities in the process of SSR with respect to police, justice and defence. Despite a change in government in august, the Mission has been able to establish good relations with the local authorities, in particular through workshops organised in cooperation with the local bodies responsible for the reform process.

Western Balkans

Bosnia and Herzegovina  following the successful reconfiguration of Operation ALTHEA back on 2007, the EU Force (EUFOR) numbers some 2,200 troops. Its operational priorities remain the maintenance of a safe and secure environment, the transfer of Joint Military Affairs tasks to the relevant national authorities, and support for the armed forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina with regards to training. Due to the recent political situation, the future development of Operation ALTHEA will have to take into account any political developments.

The EU Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina has continued to promote and support the reform of the police service. The mission has concentrated on supporting the authorities in implementing the two police reform laws adopted in April 2008

Kosovo  The EULEX Kosovo Mission reached its initial operational capability in December with 1600 personal deployed. Its mandate is to uphold and promote the rule of law throughout the entire country in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244. EULEX will act in three key areas: the police, justice and customs, where their activities will involve monitoring, mentoring and advising the competent Kosovo institutions. EULEX Kosovo will ensure that cases of war crimes, terrorism, organised crime, corruption, inter-ethnic crimes, financial/economic crimes and other serious crimes are properly investigated, prosecuted, adjudicated and enforced.

Asia

Afghanistan  the EU Police Mission in Afghanistan has actively pursued implementation of its mandate, in particular by monitoring, mentoring, advising and training all levels of the command chain of the Afghan Police. The mission has also put considerable effort into interaction between the police and justice and the areas of criminal investigation and border management. Coordination has also been strengthened through, among other things, the creation of Integrated Project Teams with the United States partners. The decision to double the number of Mission personnel, so that there are 400 members in the field, will be implemented progressively as of December 2008. This will enable the Mission to reinforce its activities in support of the Afghan National Police

Georgia  The Council adopted the Joint Action on the European Monitoring Mission in Georgia on 15th September 2008 for a period of one year. It was launched following the terms of the agreement of the August 2008 Ceasefire Plan. In October and November 2008, the Mission carried out nearly 500 patrols, day and night; however, frequent incidents in the vicinity of both Abkhazia and South Ossetia are a reminder that the situation remains volatile. In accordance with its mandate, the Mission is involving itself on the spot in the development of a conflict prevention and resolution mechanism.

Near and Middle East

Palestine  The EU Police Mission in the Palestinian Territories has continued its action to assist the Palestinian Civilian Police in establishing lasting and effective policing arrangements. The mission has embarked on setting up its Rule of Law section in order to assist the Palestinian justice system and has also begun to draft its strategy for assisting the Palestinian courts and the prison sector.

The EU Border Assistance Mission for the Rafah Crossing Point suspended its operations after the closure of the crossing point at the time of the takeover of Gaza by Hamas in June 2007, however, the EU remains ready, to redeploy as soon as conditions allow.

Iraq  the EU's integrated rule of Law Mission for Iraq continued its activities to assist with the training provided by the Member States for senior Iraqi police officers, prosecutors, judges and prison governors. So far the mission has facilitated the training of more than 1,800 Iraqi civil servants. The EU has agreed to extend and reinforce the mission's mandate as from June 2009, allowing for it to carry out pilot activities on Iraqi territory where security conditions permit.

Capabilities

Civilian

In accordance with the plan for the implementation of the new Headline Goal 2010, the process of planning civilian capabilities has focuses on the establishment of a civilian strategic option. EU Member States have been invited to confirm or modify the indications regarding the possibility of making available civilian personnel for ESDP Missions. Regarding the Civilian Response Teams (CRTs), the creation of a group of 100 experts, which began at the end of 2007, was concluded in the summer of 2008. The need to increase the number of experts in the field of finance and procurement has already been highlighted. Efforts are continuing to train the members of the CRTs in order to equip them with the appropriate tools and facilitate their rapid deployment.

On the issue of logistics, a framework document on logistics for Civilian ESDP Missions has been drawn up to provide common bases for all missions. A detailed logistics handbook covering all the necessary procedures is being finalised. Regarding procurement, the conclusion of framework contracts is continuing in order to establish a proper catalogue of contacts.

Military

Within the context of the Headline goal 2010, new contributions to the Force Catalogue have been announced by some Member States, and are currently being studied. The Capability Development Plan, of which an initial version was approved by the EDA Steering Board in July 2008, will enable the Member States to focus their capability efforts on areas where there are gaps in the EU's operational capability.

Force Projection  A series of initiatives should enable the Member States concerned to ensure better force projection in external theatres: preparations with a view to the establishment of a European airlift fleet; the establishment of an A400M multinational unit; and the imminent establishment of a European airlift command. With a view to improving helicopter deployment in crisis management operations, including EU ones, the EDA Steering Board has approved a roadmap with a view to the launch in 2010 of a tactical training programme for helicopter pilots, and the EDA has started work on upgrading helicopters, the preliminary results of which are due to be presented in the spring of 2009.

Space  The future of the EU's space observation capability must be ensured. A Letter of intent has been signed by five Member States, which confirmed their intention to cooperate under the Multinational Space-based Imaging System (MUSIS) project and to involve the EDA under an ad hoc project. The European Space Agency (ESA) and the EDA are working, in their respective spheres of competence, to increase European space surveillance capability.

Maritime  European maritime surveillance capability should be improved, especially as a result of EDA initiatives, including the ad hoc project on the suture surveillance UAV and the work on the networking of European maritime surveillance systems. A major effort will be made as regards maritime mine clearance following the launch by 10Member States (plus Norway) of an ad hoc project in the EDA framework.

Rapid Response  The review of the rapid response concept should be concluded as soon as possible. It will take into account the progress made since 2003: the drawing up of the battle group concept in 2006 and the drafting in 2007 of maritime and air rapid response concepts. Progress has been made in the implementation of the Maritime Rapid Response and Air Rapid Response Concepts: at the Maritime Rapid Response and Air Rapid Response information conference held in October 2008, the Member States reviewed the resources and capabilities they had declared for 2009, and gave their initial indications for 2010 and beyond.

European Defence Agency

The Head of the Agency's report highlighted noticeable progress on finalising the strategic framework which has been supplemented by:

1.The initial version of the Capability Development Plan (CDP), which will enable the Member states to focus their capability related efforts.

2.Two new strategies, one on European armaments cooperation and the other on defence research and technology in Europe.

3.The creation of a European Union forum for military airworthiness authorities.

4.Provisional support for intelligence training activates.

5.Increased efforts in cooperation on research and technology. The EDA continued its efforts to ensure that its work is complementary with the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR),and also that its work was consistent with NATO's, both in compliance with the provisions of the Joint Action.

The full report can be found here

Read part two tomorrow.

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