13/05/2024 |

Under the Radar- 20 years of EU military missions

Under the Radar

For decades, the EU has been gradually moving towards becoming a de facto military power. This has happened beyond the sight of the European public, with scant oversight from democratic institutions or judicial accountability. Over the past 20 years, the EU has been deploying overseas military missions, most of them on the African continent. While the missions officially aim to increase stability in their host countries, in reality they follow a colonialist logic of protecting ‘European interests’. They are driven by securing access to raw materials and trade routes, while generating profit for the arms industry.

These missions operate under an EU flag and mandate and deploy military personnel on foreign soil to conduct military training of national armies. Soldiers trained have been responsible for severe human rights violations, as well as coup d’états, and some of them have joined non-state armed groups. While ‘terrorism’ is often cited as the justification for EU military presence in the Sahel, evidence suggests a reverse causality – military interference provokes non-state armed groups, which in turn is used to justify further militarisation. Despite its poor track record in bringing about peace and stability, the EU continues to deploy new missions.

These findings are part of a report recently published by the Transnational Institute (TNI), an international research and advocacy institute, which has critically reviewed 20 years of the EU’s CSDP military missions, with a focus on the 10 most recent or current missions, showcasing how these missions have clearly sought to consolide Europe as a regional power, to the detriment of local populations in host states. 

Full report here: https://www.tni.org/en/publication/under-the-radar