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EU Takes Further Steps to Better Support the Security of the Sahel Region

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BRUSSELS, Belgium, February 18, 2019/ — The EU supports the efforts the G5 Sahel countries in the fight against terrorism, organised crime and any other threat to security and peace. The EU wants to reinforce its regional approach in the Sahel with the aim of supporting  cross-border cooperation,  regional cooperation structures, and, in this context, of enhancing  national capacities of the G5 Sahel countries. Stability in the Sahel region is also key for European security. 

Today, the Council decided to  make more effective, at regional level, the work of the EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions  in the Sahel: EUCAP Sahel Mali, EUCAP Sahel Niger and EUTM Mali. It approved a joint civil-military concept of operations on regionalisation of CSDP action in the Sahel. This means that the process of regionalisation will now enter its second phase. 

The first phase of the regionalisation of CSDP missions in the Sahel was agreed by the Council on 20 June 2017. It allowed for the establishment of a  regional coordination cell (RCC) based within one of the EU civilian missions, EUCAP Sahel Mali. The regional coordination cell included a network of  internal security and defence experts,deployed in Mali but also in EU delegations in other G5 Sahel countries (Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad). 

In the second phase agreed by the Council today: 

– The regional coordination cell will be renamed  regional advisory and coordination cell (RACC) and will be reinforced. Its command and control structure will move from Bamako to Nouakchott and its network of CSDP security and defence experts, embedded within EU delegations in the five countries, will be enlarged. The RACC will support, through strategic advice, the G5 Sahel structures and countries, in synergy with Commission-funded programmes and in an integrated approach perspective. The objective of the cell's activities will be to strengthen the G5 Sahel regional and, where appropriate, national capacities, in particular to support the operationalisation of the G5 Sahel joint force military and police components, with the aim of facilitating and improving  regional cross-border cooperation in the field of security and defence. 

– EUCAP Sahel Mali and EUCAP Sahel Niger will be able to conduct punctual and targeted activities of  strategic advice and training in other G5 Sahel countries. EUTM Mali already supports the operationalisation of the G5 Sahel joint force at its headquarters (located in Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad). It may provide training outside its mission area on a case by case basis. 

– In the medium to long term, the  coordination hub's function will be transferred from Brussels to the structures of the G5 Sahel. The coordination hub is a mechanism which has operated under the responsibility of the EU military staff since November 2017 and which provides an overview of the needs of the military G5 joint force together with the potential offers of military support from EU member states and from other donors. It is a forum which allows matching offers to needs, and proposes solutions to avoid duplication, put at the disposal of the G5 Sahel joint force. Its scope has been extended at the beginning of 2019 in order to encompass the needs and offers regarding the police component. 

The EU also supports the G5 Sahel structures with financial support. On 6 December 2018, the European Commission announced funding of €125 million for the G5 Sahel countries at the partners and donors coordination conference organised by the G5 Sahel in Nouakchott, Mauritania. 

On 25 June 2018, the Council adopted conclusions on Mali and the Sahel. The Council reiterated the EU's strategic and comprehensive engagement towards the Sahel region and reaffirmed that the EU will continue to support the stabilisation efforts of the G5 Sahel countries as a basis for the development of the Sahel. 

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