New "concept" drafted for EU border missions abroad

The European Union's guidelines for "border management" missions abroad are being updated "in view of the increasing demand for CSDP [Common Security and Defence Policy] to tackle border management tasks" and in order to "integrate the know-how acquired since 2006, and to translate the principles of Integrated Border Management (IBM) into the strategic and operational processes for the planning and conduct of CSDP missions."

An evaluation report published in April 2013 that examined the EU's "support to Integrated Border Management and the fight against Organised Crime" across the globe found it:

"[H]ighly influential in the comprehension and implementation of IBM principles in partner countries, although the levels of ‘take up’ became less noticeable the further geographically from the EU the intervention was."

Current CSDP border missions include deployments in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (EUBAM Rafah) and on the border between Moldova and Ukraine.

A CSDP mission in Libya launched in May - "the first CSDP mission fully devoted to border management", according to EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton - has been the subject of some controversy, with accusations of EU funds going towards the training of paramilitary forces.

The new "concept" seeks to update guidelines from 2006. A first draft appeared at the end of November last year, and has since been revised twice. It is being drawn up by the Crisis Management Planning Directorate of the European External Action Service.

The second draft was discussed by the Council's Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management (CIVCOM) on 13 December, but so far no minutes of the meeting have been published and it is unknown whether it was agreed or sent back for further re-drafting.

The document outlines the EU's principles, aims and tasks with regard to CSDP border missions, the EU agencies and international organisations that may be involved, planning and coordination, expertise required, and details on the aims and objectives of the three different types of border management missions the EU can undertake:

  • missions with a strengthening mandate;
  • missions with a substitution mandate; and
  • missions with a monitoring mandate.


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