Three years have passed since the EU-NATO Joint Declaration of Brussels in 2018. This troubled period that has seen the stepping down of key institutional leaders in both the EU and US left the West with an underlying feeling of imminent change in the operational relationship between the EU and the Alliance. This feeling can be summarised by European Commission President von Der Leyen in her State of the Union speech in September 2021:
The current legal framework of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) was set in stone in 2009 by the Treaty on European Union (TEU). The CSDP is described in detail by the Articles 41 to 46 of the TEU. Article 41, paragraph 2 of the TEU, prohibits expenditure arising from military operations from being charged to the EU budget. Therefore, a large percentage of the military operations costs should be covered by the EU Member States (MS). According to Article 42 of the TEU, the Council of the European Union (EU) and the European Council unanimously decide on matters related to the CSDP.
In the last years, the already fragile situation in Mozambique has become even more dangerous. In particular, the northern province of Cabo Delgado has been hit by excruciating violence, putting the civilian population at risk. The 2017 outbreak of a notable rebellion has only made matters worse. At the moment, the security and humanitarian situation has reached the point of no return. More than 700,000 people have been internally displaced, and it is presumed that, currently, at least 1.3 million people, in Cabo Delgado and its neighbouring provinces of Niassa and Nampula require, immediate humanitarian assistance and protection (OCHA, 2021). Without any external intervention, these numbers are expected to drastically increase.
After more than 20 years since EU member states first discussed the idea of a quick response military instrument, EU Battlegroups are again regaining visibility due to the current institutional efforts to move forward in security and defence.
After much wait and debate, on 19 April, the Council of the European Union has approved a set of conclusions to establish its new Sahel strategy.