Migration policies and European security in the Sahel

Andrew Lebovich argues that the European Union should contribute to regional stability and development of Sahel in the long term, rather than implementing short-term initiatives

The EU has always had a presence in the Sahel to guarantee the security and development of the region. In the latest ECFR Report, Andrew Lebovich, a Visiting Fellow, claims that the EU should increase their investment effort so that the initiatives in the region actually reflect the true European strategic vision.

Europe should contribute to regional stability in the long term, rather than promoting short-term initiatives and political interests. Only then will it be possible for the Sahel to attain stability in a context in which a multitude of international actors are working to secure the most power and influence by injecting a fearful amount of money into one of the poorest areas in the world.
Andrew Lebovich also analyses the implementation of European programmes in the Sahel, following the recent re-election of Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and the departure of many other EU officers in addition to the heads of the European missions in Niger and Mali.

The EU should:

  • Offer CSDP missions more political and technical support and advice;
  • Avoid developing special programmes that do not fall in line with broader institutional strategies;
  • Put more pressure on the Niger and Mali governments so that they pursue a substantial reform of the security sector and develop long term national strategies;
  • Support good government practices, especially in the justice sector;
  • Guarantee that the CSDP missions are successful in developing such an approach, otherwise their direct impact could be severely limited.

A  few figures:

  • European investment in the EUCAP Sahel-Mali mission: €15.1 million in 2016-2017; €29.7 million in 2017-2018
  • European investment in the EUCAP Sahel-Niger mission:  €18.4 million in 2015-2016; €26.3 million in 2016-2017
  • European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa: the EU contributes with €3 billion while member states provide € 400 million. The Sahel/Lake Chad region receives €1.3 billion; the Horn of Africa €900 million; North Africa €300 million; €900 million have not yet been allocated.
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