The current turmoil in the Central African Republic is the subject of this edition of Utalk. Pierre in Paris asks: “In early December, France launched the Sangaris operation in the Central African Republic, but can it succeed on its own? Is a European military intervention possible under the EU’s defence and security policy?”
Arnaud Danjean, MEP, Chair of the European Parliament’s subcommittee on Security and Defence responds: “Concerning your first question, we should recognise that France has never had the ambition to succeed on its own.
“France is committed to supporting African forces that are already deployed on the ground and hopefully will continue to deploy in the Central African Republic.
“So France is not alone, France is there in support of Africans and this is the mandate given to the French by the UN.
“It’s wrong to think that it’s a solely a French operation. Having said that, one can ask are there enough French troops, or enough African troops.
“There is cause for doubt. Because to secure, to intervene, and to disarm in such a chaotic situation as the one in Central African Republic, it can take a lot of time, a lot of effort, and it is doubtful that a contingent of 1,600 French soldiers is sufficient.
“Concerning your second question on the possible involvement of Europe, I must say I’m also doubtful. Many European countries do not consider the situation in Central African Republic as a strategic and military priority.
“Even if they are moved like everyone else by the situation, by the humanitarian plight, many European countries do not plan a military action in the Central African Republic. So, I doubt that European countries will be strongly committed. But, a European mission under the common security and defence policy is possible. Though it’s hard to say what the mandate of the mission would look like. How many people would be deployed?
“It’s all very vague to me. Moreover, I doubt that a European contribution would be decisive, given the current situation in Central African Republic.”
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