FBA contributes to the EU’s ability to respond to crises

The EU faces increasingly complex security threats. Sweden has pushed for efforts to strengthen the union’s civilian crisis management ability, and contributes extensively, through FBA among others, by training and sending experts to EU missions in various parts of the world. The aim is to prevent conflicts and increase respect for democratic principles, rule of law and international law. How to launch more flexible operations faster and adapt them to new threats is now under discussion.

An advisory mission in Iraq, a military training mission in the Central African Republic, a maritime operation in the Mediterranean and an assistance mission in Ukraine are among the most recent additions to over 30 civilian missions and military operations launched by the EU since the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) became a reality almost 15 years ago.

The wars in the Western Balkans revealed the need for the EU to plan and conduct its own crisis management operations, and prompted the EU to build up a capacity to deploy CSDP missions. As of today, there are 16 ongoing missions, 10 of them civilian.

Sweden has been a driving force for efforts to strengthen the civilian crisis management capacity and is one of the countries that provides the largest staff contribution to the EU’s civilian crisis management operations; around 80 experts annually.

– FBA is commissioned to recruit, train and deploy a large proportion of these monitors and advisers. We also promote increased efficiency in the EU’s civilian crisis management operations, says Anna Wikner, Head of the Department for Missions, Elections and Deployment at FBA.

EU – FBA’s main partner

Currently, around 30 experts are on secondment from the FBA to the EU’s civilian crisis management operations. Among other things, the FBA has staff deployed to the advisory mission EUAM in Iraq, the capacity building mission in the Horn of Africa, EUCAP Somalia, and the monitoring mission in Georgia, EUMM.

FBA also has personnel deployed to the EU’s external action services in Brussels, most of them work with crisis management. A couple of secondees are also placed at the EU’s special representatives’ offices. The experts work with, for example, monitoring agreements and capacity building in order to strengthen democratic control of judicial institutions, the police and the military.

FBA has since long a close cooperation with the EU regarding these issues. For example, the government agency had an active role when the EU developed a new framework for security sector reform, SSR. Today, FBA is also part of a consortium that can act when there is a need for efforts in any of the EU’s partner countries, which makes it possible to support important reform processes to increase security for people in conflict affected areas.

The development of a common security and defence policy has also resulted in the EU formulating security strategies. When the EU Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy was launched in June 2016, Federica Mogerini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, described the civilian crisis management operations as the union’s flagship to deal with international crises and promote citizens’ security.

Apart from increasing preparedness among the police, the constitutional state and public administration, the EU’s civilian crisis management is also requested to manage situations connected to security threats such as terrorism, hybrid threats, economic instability, climate change and unsafe energy supplies, radicalization, organized crime and border control.

Johan Lindroth, who coordinates EU-related issues at the FBA, explains that the ongoing discussion about the future direction of the EU’s civilian crisis management centers around increased flexibility and agility as new security threats emerge.

– The role of the EU has to be clarified and the working methods have to be improved, just as the coordination of efforts. It should be possible to activate the entire toolbox of the EU in foreign policy, and more easily adapt both focus and scope of operations according to the circumstances, he says.

One concrete suggestion is to reposition coworkers with short notice to assist the start-up of an EU mission, and also, when needed, to support existing crisis management missions. Another proposal that has been made is to establish a core responsiveness capacity to allow for more rapid action on the ground, for instance teams with specific knowledge that are ready to boost missions.

The EU member states are expected to reach common ground before the end of the year regarding what interests and principles that should be guiding the union’s foreign policy commitment, in order to mark out the route forward.

FBA a key actor in training

There is also a need to improve the EU’s civil-military cooperation and to use all of the instruments of the common security and defence policy; political, diplomatic and judicial tools, as well as economic incentives, development and trade.

The European Security and Defence College, ESDC, was established in 2005 to meet the need for training within the common security and defence policy. FBA contributes to the strategic governance of the ESDC and aims at making sure that the courses offered are consistent, relevant and of good quality. On a yearly basis, FBA carries out introductory courses on security sector reform, SSR, and leads the steering group for SSR, which is an important platform for support to policy development.

Moreover, FBA carries out courses on gender mainstreaming in crisis management operations, and preparatory training for mission staff. Some courses are customized by the FBA to strengthen the competence of the EU in both these areas.

Ib Hansen, legal officer in EUCAP Somalia, was one of the participants at the course in gender mainstreaming that the FBA arranged for civil and military staff together with the ESCD earlier this autumn. In order to integrate a gender perspective in their daily work, the participants were trained in analyzing gender structures, the UN resolutions on women, peace and security, and current EU policy frameworks.

– As gender focal point I need knowledge and tools to perform my work in the best possible way. It takes both understanding of the importance of having a gender perspective, and knowledge about the practical work, to be able to do a gender analysis, says Ib Hansen, who perceived the training to be useful for his role in EUCAP Somalia.

FBA also offers opportunities to develop the leadership of EU’s civilian crisis management operations, through practicing central tasks and cooperation in an emergency. When the civil-military exercise Viking 18 took place in Sweden this spring, FBA coordinated the civilian actors’ participation, and approximately 20 EU employees joined to practice leadership in a life-size crisis management mission.

Photo: JP Moulijn

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