‘Green Light’ for EUFOR Mission in Central African Republic

Written by | Friday, April 4th, 2014

Having been delayed for a couple of months, the European Union has finally approved a EUFOR mission in the Central African Republic (CAR), which will consist of approximately 1,000 EU soldiers. Those will come to support 6,000 African and 2,000 French soldiers who are already on the ground. Although the EU is not generally supportive of military interventions on the African continent and as such, it has succumbed to the French pressure to launch a European mission in CAR. The official launch of the mission was announced at the high-profile EU-Africa Summit which is currently taking place in Brussels.
The main objective of the EUFOR RCA, as the mission is officially called, is to provide a temporary support for the building of a secure environment in the Bangui area. It is envisaged that African partners will, at a later stage, eventually take over the entire mission. In mid-March, EU foreign ministers stipulated that there had been a need to hasten preparations of the CSDP-EUFOR CAR mission so that it could be implemented as soon as possible. France, being the major driver behind this endeavour, was rather outraged at several EU member states which had been protracting their financial, logistical, or personnel obligations with respect to the mission. In the end, “big” EU members supported Paris and acted in accordance with EU commitments.
According to a press release, the CAR mission will include up to 1,000 soldiers led by France’s Major-General Philippe Ponties who will serve as EU Operation Commander. The cost of the operation is estimated to hover at around 25.9 million EUR for the preparatory stage only, while the cost for the entire mission is not yet determined. The mission has a mandate of up to half a year starting from the point when it obtains full operational capacity. So far it is not known which EU countries will send soldiers, but Germany has already declared it would send none.

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