The EU and Arms Exports: Options and Limitations of the Common Position Review

In 2012, EU Member States started reviewing the EU Common Position defining common rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment. While the process is still ongoing, this note takes stock of what Member States have agreed to review and suggests avenues for further improving the Common Position and its implementation. To do so, it draws upon an analysis of Member States’ practices which highlights not only inconsistent interpretations of the Common position’s criteria but also contradictions between some export licensing decisions and the spirit and letter of the European instrument. Therefore, and in spite of EU Member States having decided to carry out a limited review, this note calls for a thorough review and a progressive revision of the Common Position and its User’s Guide. When lives are at stake, proactive processes offer the options that reactive approaches deny.

Crédit photo: Stand de la FN Herstal au salon de l'armement terrestre Eurosatory (Benjamin Vokar/GRIP - Juin 2014)

The EU, Japan and South Korea: Mutual Recognition between Different Partners

Over the past ten years, the European Union has started to negotiate and sign Framework Participation Agreement (FPA) with third states, in order to have them participate in the various CSDP missions. The EU has recently signed an FPA with South Korea and has approached Japan to negotiate one, going beyond its usual area of cooperation and engaging partners with which it has very little experience. Yet, the rationale underlying this trend has to be figured out. It appears that what prevails is rather the symbolic value of recognising and being recognised as a relevant international security actor, both for the EU and its Asian partners. It does matter that the EU set a foot on the security map in East Asia, while it is equally important for Japan and South Korea to appear as key security players through partnerships.

Credits: C. Ashton meets ROK Minister of Foreign Affairs to sign the Framework Participation Agreement (EEAS)

The EU and its member states in the Sahel, presence and action modes

In the Sahel, there are threats and natural resources. So many reasons that lead some states to rush to the area and to engage in economic competition. But it's mostly security concerns and the urgent need to create a real dynamic of development and resilience in populations that led some European States to increase their presence and to encourage the EU to mobilize its broad ranges of tools in all fields of actions. Because they are well aware that their bilateral actions are no longer sufficient, EU Member States organize themselves with the partners’ assistance who are ready to financially or logistically support their actions in Sahel countries. But the EU remains the primary driver of EU Member States’ actions because of the efficiency it is supposed to generate.

This Note is adapted from the book "Europe has an idea, et alors ?" from Sven Biscop andAlexander Mattelaer, published in December in the series "The Ashgate Research Companion to the Foreign Policies of Europe" 

(Crédit photo: The EU Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel – An indicator for the future of EU External Action


African Peer Review Mechanism: insight and perspectives

The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is a review mechanism settled for and by African countries. 34 countries on 54 voluntarily joined the APRM. Its aim is to assess state practice of governance in four areas: democracy and political governance, economic governance and management, corporate governance and socioeconomic development. It allows for a self-assessment, an external assessment and a peer review, and so creates two-folded dialog opportunity: between state and its civil society and between states themselves.

(Crédit photo : NEPAD Photo Gallery - Fatuma Ndagiza Nyirakobwa, Vice Chair of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Panel of Eminent Persons)


The French Defence Industry: A Strategic Autonomy Under Stress

The French Defence Industrial and Technological Base (DITB) faces a tricky political and budgetary situation, between an increasingly competitive international business environment, a European Defence project in the doldrums, and the persistence of significant pressures on the State’s finances. This note provides a snapshot of the situation. It analyzes the trajectory of the French BITD since the end of the Cold War and then focuses on its current fragilities. It also proposes avenues for reflection about the future trajectory of this BITD, taking into account the possible impacts on the French and European military-industrial landscape.

Crédit photo: Hélicoptère Airbus au salon de l'armement terrestre Eurosatory 
(source: Benjamin Vokar/GRIP, Paris, juin 2014)

The European concept of “comprehensive approach” challenged by the Sahel crisis

Coordination, Coherence, Effectiveness, Sustainability are challenges that Brussels and Delegations face to give life to the constantly evolving European concept of comprehensive approach. The European Strategy for development and security in the Sahel is the first European External Action Service strategy of comprehensive approach for a region. The EU has a wide range of policies, tools and instruments to simultaneously address the issues of security and development at the regional level. 

Crédit photo : cérémonie de fin de formation par EUTM Mali du GTIA Balanzan (source EUTM Mali, mars 2014).

Dual use goods proliferation: Suspicious Iranian networks

Matters relating to the proliferation of dual use goods in favor of Iran regularly make the headlines. Suan Zhang, Parviz Khaki, Nicholas Kaïga ... If unfamiliar these names played at one time or another, a crucial role in the pursuit of Iran's nuclear program. The latter, and its possible military dimension, have been at the heart of intense negotiations between Tehran and the international community for nearly a decade. The suspicions of international negotiators are regularly renewed by the discovery of proliferation networks supplying the Iranian program in dual use goods, prohibited for export to Iran. This note aims to present the main existing means of struggle against the proliferation and the methods used by networks to circumvent international sanctions.

Crédit photo : Assaut du navire nord-coréen « So San » par les forces spéciales espagnoles, le 9 décembre 2002 au large des côtes yéménites. C’est en partie en réaction aux manquements juridiques qui ont empêché la saisie de pièces de missiles balistiques transportées par ce bateau qu' a été initiée l'Initiative de sécurité contre la prolifération (Source : US Navy)

Turmoil in Southern Libya: a major threat at the door of Africa

Since the fall of the Gaddafi regime in 2011, South Libya has become the meeting point of numerous armed groups under a background of global breakdown of the State and community and region fragmentation. Involved in a struggle for gaining the control over resources and power monopoly, active militias and brigades have gradually meddled with transborder trafficking, and disturb frontier countries, which fear a spread of conflict and tension to the sub-region as a whole.

Crédit photo : dans la foulée de la révolution en Libye, de nombreux stocks de munitions ont été exposés et le pays a même été qualifié de "marché d’armes à ciel ouvert". (Source : UNMAS/Iason Foounten)

Illegal fishing: what possible future for West Africa?

West African waters, rich in fishery resources, are currently the target of organized ocean floor pillaging, an activity which endangers the nutritional security of populations in the sub-region for whom nutritional balance greatly depends on the products of fishing. Many foreign ships, generally European or Asian, fish in West African Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) without authorization and without any consideration for the marine flora and fauna, thereby adding to the already serious overexploitation of the marine zone. Illegal fishing is more prevalent in West African waters than anywhere else in the world, representing an annual economic loss for the sub-region estimated between 828 million and 1,6 billion US dollars. In order to confront this issue, governments and organizations both local and international are working to improve national legislation and surveillance systems while reinforcing regional cooperation.

Crédit photo : pêcheurs au large de Port Loko en Sierra Leone (source: Environmental Justice Foundation)

The EU Electoral Observation Missions: A Discreet Tool for Crisis Management

The European Union (EU) has a valuable tool for conflict prevention and resolution, which is neither its Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), still at an embryonic stage after more than fifteen years, nor the painful crisis management missions its deploys in this framework. The EU has another asset, this time more discreet: the Electoral Observation Missions (EOMs), partly sent in post-conflict situation or in unstable countries (mainly in Africa). As a post-national actor, the Union disposes here of a real lever in the field of foreign policy, one which traditional European diplomacies cannot even aspire to. An evident value-added for the EU… which is also troubling for its member States, still so jealous about their national sovereignty.

Jeunesse, classes moyennes et transition démographique et politique en Afrique équatoriale et centrale

Avec près de 200 millions d’habitants âgés de 15 à 24 ans, en 2012, l’Afrique représente de loin la population la plus jeune du monde. Les moins de 15 ans représentent quant à eux 45 % de la population d’Afrique centrale. Et, selon les estimations, le nombre de jeunes en Afrique devrait doubler d’ici 2045. Cette population jeune est non seulement de plus en plus nombreuse, mais son niveau d’instruction progresse également. D’après les tendances actuelles, 59 % des 20-24 ans auront reçu un enseignement secondaire en 2030, contre 42 % actuellement. Cette tranche d’âge comptera 137 millions de diplômés du secondaire et 12 millions de diplômés de l’enseignement supérieur.

De plus en plus urbanisée, mieux informée et ouverte aux dynamiques culturelles transnationales, la jeunesse africaine constitue l'un des pôles de contestation et de questionnement de l'ordre institutionnel dans l'ensemble du continent et dans la sous-région d’Afrique centrale. Frange la plus touchée par la fracture socio-économique – les jeunes représentent 60 % de l’ensemble des chômeurs africains – la jeunesse est potentiellement « instrumentalisable » dans les conflits internes de pouvoir, mais reste aussi un acteur porteur d'innovations sociales...

The Japanese “Proactive contribution to peace”: A real change in its strategic posture ?

Since December 2013, Abe Government has revised Japan’s defense policy, with the creation of a National Council Security (NSC), the adoption of the National Security Strategy (NSS) and the National Defense Program Guidelines (NDPG) that results from the NSS. Moreover, in April 2014, Abe Government also revised the principles ruling arms exports. Abe Government affirms it wants to strictly respect the constitutional pacifism as defined in Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution and to give Japan the appropriate means to be a “proactive contributor to peace”. Nevertheless, on 1st July 2014, the Prime Minister’s Cabinet recognized the right to collective self-defense as constitutional.

Crédit photo: affiche de campagne d'Abe Shinzō (source : site internet du PLD) 

Craft weapons in Côte d’Ivoire: Between tradition and legal requirements

Although the vast majority of weapons in circulation in Africa was made ​​outside the continent, a part of them – especially weapons intended for hunting – is produced locally by modest craftsmen. This study, conducted largely through a field survey, focuses on the production, repair and detention of homemade ​​firearms in Côte d'Ivoire. It confirms that these phenomena are deeply rooted in traditions, whether that of blacksmiths as producers or Dozos as users. While the demand for such weapons is significantly slowing down, the study also shows that most manufacturers do not produce only weapons, but first of all a wide range of goods intended for household or professional use. While Côte d'Ivoire is in the process of finalizing a new law on arms, political and administrative authorities should take into account these realities to develop appropriate rules, encouraging the registration and compliance of tens of thousands of producers and owners.

Crédit photo : armes en cours de production à Ferkessédougou en Côte d'Ivoire (© GRIP 2014).

Monitoring of Regional Stability in the Sahel region and in West Africa - April to June 2014

This quarterly monitoring is part of a three years project (2014-2016) on “Improving human security, conflict prevention and strengthening the rule of law in eight countries in West and Central Africa” funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

It aims to monitor the security situation in West Africa with a focus on Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Senegal. It examines in particular broad internal security issues, regional tensions, and cross-border crime and trafficking.

Crédit photo : mosquée  à Tombouctou classée au patrimoine mondial de l'humanité
(source: MINUSMA/Marco Dormino)

Géopolitique du pétrole dans la CEEAC : l’enjeu des nouvelles politiques des hydrocarbures

Depuis le début des années 2000, les pays africains affichent des taux de croissance élevés, liés principalement à l'attractivité de leurs abondantes ressources naturelles. Principale source d'énergie au cœur d'une économie mondialisée, le pétrole demeure l'une des ressources stratégiques majeures justifiant ce regain d'attention pour le continent africain. En 2012, l'Afrique dans son ensemble – avec 9,442 Mb/j (millions de barils par jour) – a totalisé 10,9 % de la production mondiale, soit une augmentation de 7,7 % par rapport à 2011, et le continent dispose de 7,8 % des réserves mondiale. La région du golfe de Guinée, plus particulièrement, avec ses 25 milliards de barils de réserves, nourrit l'intérêt d’un nombre croissant d’États et de compagnies pétrolières...

Weapons Tracing in Conflict Theatres: Lessons and Perspectives

During the last couple of decades, increasing attention and resources have been dedicated to tracing illicit weapons in conflict areas. This Paper underlines the importance of this discipline and the value of the evidence-based information it generates, not only to identify the entities involved in international sanctions violations, but also to improve understanding of conflict dynamics, to enhance conflict analysis, to improve the effectiveness of existing arms control mechanisms, and to steer international assistance and cooperation more effectively.

Crédit photo: Claudio Gramizzi

Boko Haram: one year under emergency state

One year after the government declared the state of emergency in the North-East, Boko Haram Islamists are still posing a serious threat in Nigeria. By now, the conflict – which received large media coverage since the abduction of more than 200 school-girls in Chibok – is deadlier than ever, causing more than 2 000 death since the beginning of the year. Even worse, the group seems to extend its operations to the Middle Belt but also to the neighbouring countries. As the 2015 general elections approach with the risk of an escalation of violence, the government seeks international assistance to stop Boko Haram.

Crédit photo : Manifestation dénonçant l'enlèvement des lycéennes par Boko Haram (source : ONU / Lagos, Nigeria -  8 mai 2014)

CEEAC : enjeux sécuritaires de la souveraineté alimentaire

La question de l’accès aux produits alimentaires revêt une importance politique cruciale, particulièrement en situation de faible priorisation du secteur agricole, de déficit de la productivité de ce secteur, d’insuffisance des revenus de larges couches de la population et lors de la flambée des prix des denrées de première nécessité. La grande crise alimentaire de 2008 et les émeutes sociales qui l’ont accompagnée ont révélé, pour nombre de pays, une fragilité structurelle porteuse de risques systémiques majeurs, qui font de la souveraineté et de la sécurité alimentaires un enjeu central de la gouvernance. Tout ceci justifie une réflexion sur les stratégies agricoles et alimentaires envisagées par les États de la sous-région de l’Afrique équatoriale et centrale...

Maritime security: towards a European Strategy

The maritime security is an integral part of the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) of the European Union. It took the launch of the Atalanta operation in December 2008 for the PSDC instrument to explicitly endorse an anti-piracy mission in the Horn of Africa. Considering the success of this operation and the importance of shipping lanes for the European economy, it was expected that the EU build a European Strategy of Maritime Security, due to be adopted in June 2014. The strategy will have to take into account the full set of maritime security stakes affecting the European interests, thus allowing a consensus to emerge on this issue. Elaborating this strategy will not be easy in view of the significant number of actors involved.

(Crédit photo: EuNavFor Media and Public Information Office)

Indonesia: From Regional to Global Power?

On April 9, Indonesians elected a new Parliament. In July, they will be back to the polls for Presidential elections. These elections, however, may not bring as many changes to the country’s foreign policy as many would expect. Faces may change in Jakarta, but structural factors will continue to weigh heavily on the country’s international strategy. Indonesia is a rising power, building a buoyant international outlook on the back of a growing economy and changing geostrategic environment. In these times of changes, Jakarta is pursuing a consistent agenda, acting with increasing self-confidence on the international stage. But is the country ready to play a prominent role not only in regional but also in global affairs? On what strength can Indonesia build itself? And what are the hindrances to Indonesia’s rise? Is Indonesia indeed poised to become a global power?

(Photo credit: jpatokal at en.wikipedia (Wayang Kulit performance))

Nayarit conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons: "A point of no return!"

A second round of conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons was held in Mexico, Nayarit February 13 and 14. Far from being a repetition of the Oslo conference (March 2013), this forum has allowed 146 states and civil society to explore further scientific humanitarian and political reflections facing a nuclear disaster. Between willingness to move quickly in the process of nuclear disarmament or continuity with the NPT, the postures of each state are emerging and will certainly reveal themselves at Vienna’s (Austria) third round at the end of 2014.

Crédit photo: Le président de la conférence de Nayarit, Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo, vice-ministre mexicain des Affaires multilatérales et des Droits de l'homme. 
(source : ministère de Affaires étrangères du Mexique

Use of Armed Drones: Legal and practical considerations

The international media, on an almost weekly basis, mention targeted killings of so-called terrorists in Yemen, Somalia, or Pakistan by drones deployed by distant States, such as the United States and Israel. States reach for armed drones because of their free-ranging capacity to eliminate human targets anywhere in the world. The world has become an open battlefield without borders, and so-called ‘armed drones’ kill enemy individuals without there being a declaration of war. There seems to be no turning back for the logic of the use of drones. Therefore, the actual challenge is not to delegitimize the use of drones (since it now is a declared policy). Rather, the challenge is to regulate this practice. This Analysis focusses on the most important rules of public international law applying to drone attacks.

Crédit photo: drone de type Predator de l’US Air Force
(Source : Robert Huffstutter/Licence Creative Comons)


The Hague 2014 Nuclear Security Summit: Success or Missed Opportunity?

The third nuclear security summit took place on 24-25 March 2014 in the Dutch city of The Hague. The process aims at enhancing the security of fissile and other nuclear materials around the world. Despite the progress initiated at the first two summits, the expectations on the eve of the 2014 summit were high and have been partially fulfilled through major new multilateral commitments and discussions on the establishment of a global and sustainable nuclear security architecture. However, some gaps still remain. Some major players on the international level have not supported some core initiatives. Important nuclear security instruments have not been ratified nor fully implemented. The next summit will be hosted in 2016 in the United States. In addition to continuing the progress initiated in 2010, heads of States will have to agree on the form of the process beyond 2016 and on the future role of the International Atomic Energy Agency in nuclear security.

Crédit photo: Sommet sur la sécurité nucléaire de La Haye
(Source : site du Premier ministre du Canada)

Sûreté et sécurité maritimes dans l’espace CEEAC : enjeux et perspectives

L’espace maritime de la Communauté des États de l’Afrique centrale (CEEAC) est partie intégrante du golfe de Guinée, dont il constitue le versant oriental. D’un point de vue à la fois géographique et institutionnel, le golfe de Guinée est un vaste ensemble intégrant 17 pays côtiers d’Afrique de l’Ouest et d’Afrique centrale qui se partagent un littoral long de près de 6 000 km, en partant des côtes du Sénégal jusqu’à l'Angola, sans oublier les îles du Cap-Vert et Sao Tomé-et-Principe. Le golfe de Guinée couvre ainsi deux vastes régions géographiques, politiques et économiques : la Communauté économique des États de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (CEDEAO) et la Communauté économique des États de l’Afrique centrale (CEEAC), toutes deux affiliées à la Commission du golfe de Guinée (CGG) et à l'Union africaine...

”Error 404: the European defence project you were looking for does not exist”

This essay analyzes the challenges defence industries and governments are currently facing in the context of a constrained domestic demand and new competition arising from the BRICS and other emerging countries. It identifies major drivers and stages in the globalization process of arms industry and put them in perspective with the evolution of the global defence and security markets since the end of the cold war. It also isolates the underlying trends that are currently shaping the global process of arms production now and possibly in the next decade. This contextualization allows for the identification of threats but also opportunities for European defence groups. It also underscores the fact that corporate strategies pursued by firms that are growing less dependent on the domestic market will have various political and policy implications, notably on the European defence project. Measures implemented by the US and the emerging countries and the situation prevailing in Europe may significantly damage, any attempts to create a truly European military power relying on an industrial base resilient enough to ensure the old continent’s strategic autonomy.