Brussels, 23 May 2023
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Ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues, dear [EU Foreign Affairs] Ministers,
Thank you very much for taking part in this event to launch the new Civilian CSDP Compact.
Many thanks particularly to my colleagues from Sweden and from Spain for taking this initiative.
We are here to celebrate our Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) – on the civilian side – and a special thanks has to go to the people standing here with us on the stage.
They are the Heads of our 13 civilian missions that the European Union is deploying around the world.
You are the real protagonists of this event. Well, you, and 2,200 men and women deployed under the European Union flag across the world.
We could not have all of them here, but there are 2,200 people being deployed with a European flag defending peace around the world, and this is a good occasion to thank them, and to underline the importance of what our CSDP missions are.
Because 20 years ago, the European Union launched the first civilian CSDP mission [EU Police Mission (EUPM) Bosnia Herzegovina]. It was already 20 years ago that we started this work. Since then, we have deployed 23 civilian missions on three continents.
Through these missions, more than 15,000 men and women have served in these missions. And through these missions, we have trained and advised police, judiciary, and border guards. We have monitored ceasefires or advised our partners on security sector reform.
We have contributed to the stability of our partners, but also to our own security and stability, back at home. Because everything is related, if insecurity grows somewhere, it will – sooner or later – affect us.
And since 2018, it was already clear that we need to invest more in this kind of missions – not only military missions, but civilian missions. And it was then, in 2018, when the European Union, the Member States, adopted the first Civilian CSDP Compact.
Five years later, we have made progress. I think that we have adapted our decision-making process and demonstrated that our missions can adapt to a moving and changing environment.
The most important one, Ukraine. After Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, we were very quick in adapting the mandate of our Mission in Ukraine (EU Advisory Mission) – adding new tasks on border management and on war crimes investigations. And this mission is collecting evidence that sooner or later will be used to ask for accountability for the perpetrators of the war crimes in Ukraine.
Then, the conflict started in the Caucasus, and immediately, we were able to deploy our Monitoring mission in Armenia (EU Monitoring Capacity in Armenia), only a few days after the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed on doing that last October, in Prague.
We have also improved the capacity of our personnel, developed new tools. We have specialised teams to train, for instance, the judiciary and the border guards, not only in Ukraine – which in the end is quite close – but [also] in Somalia (EUCAP Somalia). Our mission is also doing the same work in Somalia.
We are deploying active police and justice officers and officials from Member States – from all Member States – and this is what makes these [civilian] CSDP missions unique.
Congratulations to all of you, and congratulations to the people that work with you. We can be proud of what we have done but at the same time we have to recognise that there is much more to be done. The bottle is half empty and half full. Let us look at what is still missing and what we have to continue doing.
Because we know that our strategic environment is worsening, and the threats we are facing are evolving very fast, and we have to adapt permanently to a changing situation.
We have to give an answer to a high demand around the world for our missions. Many countries around the world are asking us to deploy a mission. The demand is growing and our capacity of supplying new missions is limited by budgetary and organisational reasons.
When we drafted the Strategic Compass, the Member States committed to adopt a new Civilian CSDP Compact. And that is what we are presenting here today.
Today, with Member States – thank you for attending this meeting, dear colleagues [EU Foreign Affairs Ministers] – we have undertaken 20 new commitments to make our [civilian] missions more effective, more flexible and more robust.
We are defining concrete objectives and deliverables, with specific timelines. An objective without a timeline is something vague that you never know if you deliver or not. We need to have a schedule, a timeline. And we need to develop the four pillars of our Compass. As you remember, it is about ‘Acting’, Securing’, ‘Investing and ‘Partnering’.
And let me give you a few examples.
First, we need to ACT, and to act in a more rapid manner. Rapid and flexible manner.
We have to strengthen the civilian missions’ headquarters. The headquarters have to be more able to control, manage and provide guidance to all the missions around the world. We have to invest in more and stronger capabilities. Let me say that today we do not have all the staff. There are a lot of vacancies. We need to fill them in, and it is a call to the Member States to provide the staff. And I want at least 40% of women, and we are far from this objective.
We want to be able to deploy 200 experts within 30 days. This is a clear purpose. We should be able to deploy 200 people in 30 days anywhere in the world.
We have to SECURE our citizens and the citizens of our partner countries. We have to increase our resilience against hybrid and cyber threats. Look at our new mission in Moldova (EUPM Moldova) which I will have the honour to inaugurate next week in Chisinau, [and] which has the potential of becoming a new model in this regard.
We have to INVEST – in personnel, in equipment, in training, in doing exercises – and we have to work with our partners [PARTNER] around the world, with the host countries, first of all, with civil societies and with international organisations.
Let me stress one thing: this paper is not a paper. It is a plan for action – not very exciting to read, but very important to implement. It is a plan for action, and this plan for action has the commitment of all Member States and European Union institutions.
But for that, we need resources and political will. We need both political will and resources.
I think this is a necessary investment for the European Union. This allows us to be present in many places in the world, where our flag and our people bring a light of hope preserving peace, and protecting the most vulnerable, giving security to our partners and building also on our own security.
So, I am very proud, I am very happy to be able to present this effort, to present these people, to present this paper, and to thank all of you for the efforts you are doing to make that a reality.
- Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-241639
Source – EEAS