EU
EU wants access to more national police units for "robust" missions outside European borders
13.09.2013


The European External Action Service (EEAS) has been seeking information from EU Member States about the availability of national police officers for Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions outside of the EU. There are currently ten civilian CSDP operations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Kosovo, Libya, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Iraq, amongst other places.

In a questionnaire issued in May and discussed last week at a meeting of the Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management (CIVCOM), the EEAS asked Member States to provide information on "Integrated Police Units, Formed Police Units, police national and multinational expert teams and other civilian "niche" capabilities," as the EU has suffered "critical shortfalls" in the availability of police units able "to take on the executive functions involved in the most complex of substitution missions." [1]

Member States are asked about the following types of police units:

  • Integrated Police Units (IPUs: "a police unit robust, rapidly deployable, flexible and interoperable; able to perform police executive tasks; preferably (to be deployed) in non-stabilised situations);
  • Formed Police Units (FPUs: these are "not normally be deployed to non-stabilised situations, and cannot be placed under military command. A FPU can perform police core functions such as patrolling and public surveillance, information gathering, public order, civil disorder, riot and crowd control");
  • National and multinational police expert teams ("a group of police officers, pre-established within a Member State, trained and equipped to undertake a specific specialised task or set of tasks, and deployable for international crisis management");
  • Other "niche" capabilities ("national or multinational teams deployable to international crisis management missions that consist of non-police civilian personnel trained and equipped to undertake a specific specialised task or set of tasks").

In order to make up for the shortfall in numbers for CSDP missions, the EEAS has apparently also considered entering a cooperation agreement with the European Gendarmerie Force (EGF), a paramilitary force with six member states: France, Portugal, the Netherlands, Italy, Romania and Spain. Full membership is only open to EU Member States with "police force[s] with military status", although the EGF is not an EU body. Poland and Lithuania are partners and Turkey is an observer. [2]

Police units for overseas missions are not the only area in which the EU is failing to meet its goals: "civilian capability shortfalls extend well beyond police elements," says the questionnaire. "Areas such as the judiciary, prison system functions, integrated border management functions, including customs, and mission support" also lack the numbers required to the meet the EU's goals.

The attempt by the EU to ensure greater commitment from Member States to policing missions abroad comes at the same time as work is ongoing to try and encourage those missions to increase their intelligence-gathering in order to try and obtain "comprehensive situational awareness and intelligence support" for EU agencies and institutions such as the Intelligence Analysis Centre (INTCEN). [3]

The results of the questionnaire are currently unknown, although it was due to be discussed last week at a meeting of the Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management (CIVCOM), [4] the minutes of which are not yet available.


Further reading


Sources
[1] European External Action Service, Questionnaire on Integrated Police Units, Formed Police Units, police national and multinational expert teams and other civilian "niche" capabilities, 9973/13, 24 May 2013
[2] European Gendarmerie Force, Participating Forces
[3] EU: Plans emerge for the collection of personal data outside European borders to obtain "comprehensive situational awareness and intelligence support", Statewatch News Online, October 2012
[4] Committe for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management, Notice of meeting and provisional agenda, CM 3902/13, 2 September 2013
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