Sunday

25th Feb 2018

EU ministers to discuss Ukraine security mission

  • Maidan protesters' funeral: Ukrainian police lost public trust in the February revolution (Photo: Christopher Bobyn)

Foreign ministers will, in Luxembourg on Monday (23 June), discuss a new EU proposal to send security experts to Ukraine.

A diplomatic source said the EU foreign service has elaborated a so-called Crisis Management Concept (CMC) - an initial blueprint - for the mission.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

It says EU countries should send “civilian” police and security experts to help overhaul Ukraine’s interior ministry forces.

The experts are to work with officials in Kiev on “strategic advice” to “reorganise and restructure the security services in a way which permits recovering control and accountability over them”.

They are also to teach the “necessary skill-sets” to rank-and-file officers in regional HQs. But they would have a “non-executive role”, meaning they would not take part in police operations, unlike, for instance, the EU mission in Kosovo.

One goal of the project is “increasing public confidence and trust” in Ukrainian police, which is linked with abuse under the ousted regime of Viktor Yanukovych.

Another goal is “de-escalating the situation”, with irregular “Self-Defence” groups in Ukrainian cities still in possession of large quantities of small arms.

The EU diplomatic source said the CMC aims to help Kiev in “developing effective strategic communications” alongside the reforms.

Ukraine's interior ministry controls about 170,000 policemen and 30,000 gendarmes.

The police includes special units, such as squads who protect nuclear facilities, or anti-mafia and counter-terrorist forces.

The gendarmerie has access to military-grade weapons, such as armoured personnel carriers and heavy machine guns.

The EU blueprint does not propose reforming the Ukrainian military or intelligence services. But the EU diplomatic source said EU experts would help Ukraine police and military on “sharing intelligence” and “co-ordinating assistance” at an “operational level”.

It is too early to say when the EU experts would arrive if member states opt to go ahead.

There is some controversy on how long they should stay and where in Ukraine they should go, amid fighting with Russia-backed rebels in east Ukraine and after Russia annexed Crimea.

A second EU diplomat said the mission is designed to have an impact in “up to two years”. But a third diplomat said EU missions normally start with a 12 or 18 month mandate.

Police training aside, some EU countries are keen to get international personnel into Ukraine before monitors from the OSCE, a European multilateral body, leave in August.

The OSCE is a source of independent information on the conflict, which has seen rebels and Ukrainian authorities accuse each other of atrocities and which is becoming increasingly dangerous for journalists.

Its mandate expires in August, and Russia, an OSCE member, is expected to block a new mandate, creating an international vacuum.

But a fourth EU diplomat told this website: “It will be a challenge to have it [the EU mission] by August”.

Clock ticking

Meanwhile, EU and Ukraine leaders aim to sign a landmark trade treaty in Brussels next week. The treaty lets Ukraine have free trade with Russia, but binds it to stay out of Russia’s Eurasian Union and to make pro-EU reforms instead.

Member states’ ambassadors met in the EU capital on Wednesday to adopt a formal decision to sign.

But they put it off until Monday morning, the day of the foreign ministers’ meeting, because Spain asked for more time to make legal preparations.

An EU diplomat told EUobserver that next week’s treaty signature is not in doubt. The contact added that Spain gave “bilateral reassurances” to some EU countries who were worried that the technical glitch could delay the signature ceremony.

Opinion

EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy

Not extending the EU fisheries deal with Morocco to fish off the disputed coast of Western Sahara could deprive the Sahrawi people of much-needed income - and throw into question future EU foreign policy in the name of human rights.

EU warns Turkey over 'threat' to Cyprus

The European Commission called on Ankara to refrain from doing "damage to good neighbourly relations", after Turkish vessels stop a rig from reaching a gas drilling zone.

News in Brief

  1. EU calls for immediate ceasefire in Syria
  2. UK's post-Brexit vision is 'pure illusion', Tusk says
  3. EU leaders express solidarity with Cyprus in Turkey drill row
  4. EU to double funding for Sahel forces
  5. EU parliament president: 'The immigration problem is Africa'
  6. May to unveil EU departure strategy next week
  7. Pregnant workers may be dismissed, EU court rules
  8. Romanian minister demands anti-corruption prosecutor fired

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeAnkara Ban on LGBTI Events Continues as Turkish Courts Reject NGO Appeals
  2. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  3. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. EU agrees budget to focus on defence, security and migration
  2. EU leaders nix transnational lists, cool on 'Spitzenkandidat'
  3. Regions chief: calls for smaller EU budget are 'impossible'
  4. Election fever picks up This WEEK
  5. EU-Morocco fishing deal casts doubt on EU future foreign policy
  6. EU leaders put 'Spitzenkandidat' on summit menu
  7. European far-right political party risks collapse
  8. The key budget issues on EU leaders' table

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesHarnessing Globalization- at What Cost? Keynote Speaker Commissioner Malmström
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaSave The Date 28/02: “Nagorno-Karabakh & the EU: 1988-2018”
  3. European Heart NetworkSmart CAP is Triple Win for Economy, Environment and Health
  4. European Free AlllianceEFA Joined the Protest in Aiacciu to Solicit a Dialogue After the Elections
  5. EPSUDrinking Water Directive Step Forward but Human Right to Water Not Recognized
  6. European Gaming & Betting AssociationGambling Operators File Data Protection Complaint Against Payment Block in Norway
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Expresses Deep Concern Over Proposed Holocaust Law in Poland
  8. CECEConstruction Industry Gets Together to Discuss the Digital Revolution @ the EU Industry Days
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Relations in the New Era
  10. European Free AlllianceEnd Discrimination of European Minorities - Sign the Minority Safepack Initiative
  11. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Diversity Shouldn’t Be Only a Slogan” Lorant Vincze (Fuen) Warns European Commission
  12. Dialogue PlatformWhat Can Christians Learn from a Global Islamic Movement?