The EU Sahel Missions have helped strengthen the internal security forces in Niger and Mali, but progress has been slow due to challenging conditions and operational inefficiency, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors.
The EU runs civilian Missions in Niger and Mali under the Common Security and Defence Policy that provide training, advice and equipment to strengthen the capacity of the national internal security forces. The European External Action Service (EEAS) plans and manages operations; the European Commission manages the budgets. Funding for Niger over the period 2012 to 2017 was €69 million and for Mali from 2014 to 2017 it was €66 million.
“Insecurity in the Sahel region of West Africa impacts negatively on the development of the region and on the interests of the European Union”, said Bettina Jakobsen, the member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report. “The EU Missions in Niger and Mali have played an important role, but progress with regard to strengthening the capacity of the internal security forces has been slow and limited.” The auditors found that Mission staff did not receive adequate practical guidance and, in the case of Niger, pre-deployment training. The EEAS and the Commission did not provide enough support and in some cases applied procedures unsuited to conditions on the ground.