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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Lords blast EU's Afghan police mission

The House of Lords EU Committee has strongly criticised the EU's police training mission in Afghanistan in a fairly damning report released yesterday. The report concludes:
This was an opportunity for Europe to pull its weight in Afghanistan in a discipline and skills area where it had great expertise. In this, despite the dedication and risks taken by those on the ground, the EU’s Member States have not yet succeeded. Not only was the resource allocation of 400 staff in practice woefully inadequate for this important task, the fact that even those numbers have never been met has undermined the reputation of the mission.
It is the same familiar story of the EU's inability or reluctance to meet its rhetorical commitments on foreign policy with boots on the ground or adequate resources.

The mission, which is due to cost €54.6 million in 2010-11, is at serious risk of failing to meet its aims with 70% of Afghan police remaining illiterate. There also appears to be little or no cooperation with Nato and a lack of a strategic timetable: despite deadlines for military withdrawal set at 2014-15, the EU's policing mission is expected take another 5 to 10 years to achieve its objectives. It is far from clear that such a mission could continue after the bulk of troops have returned home.

The Lords argue that, "The planned size of the EU mission of 400 was always too small to make a major difference to civilian outcomes in Afghanistan." But even this modest commitment of man-power "has never been met, with numbers in the high 200s being typical." The result, argue the Lords, is that the mission "illustrates EU weakness rather than strength."

As we have noted before, building institutions and making empty commitments an EU foreign policy does not make.

1 comment:

Robert Snare said...

Take 27 countries from across Europe, ranging from former Communist states through Eastern Muslim to Christian Western States. Add in an unelected European Commission composed mainly of civilianised apparatchiks , a few inter-state wars and stir. Place a woman in charge who has never been elected in her life: give her an unlimited budget to disburse on grandiose buildings, cars and staff all over the world and call it an External Action Service.
The premise that Europe would achieve a common foreign policy with such a disparate set of nations with different ethnic, cultural, religious and historical backgrounds is as fanciful as the concept of a United States of Europe.
The sheer irony of Baroness Ashton using, democracy, and free elections in one sentence when addressing the fall of Mubarak, is worthy of a full page article in Private Eye, or any other satirical article. I rest my case.