Friday

18th Oct 2019

Exclusive

EU development aid used to put European police in Senegal

  • Police in Senegal deal with a street disturbance - they will soon be joined by European officers, paid for by EU development aid, to tackle people-smuggling (Photo: Serigne diagne)

In a matter of weeks, some €9m of EU development aid will be used to shore up the police in Senegal, West Africa, to help crack down on migrant smuggling.

While such EU-funded development projects on security are nothing new, the latest effort in Senegal is a novelty.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Senegal and foreign police following an anti-terror training exercise (Photo: Republic of Senegal)

The EU call it "COP", a project acronym short for 'common operational partnerships', that aims to get police in Europe on active service on the continent.

But aside from the broader question of using EU development aid to boost African police patrols, the COP in Senegal is viewed by EU policy-makers as a stepping stone towards establishing so-called "joint investigation teams".

Some joint investigations teams between African and European counterparts do already exist. Spanish and French police officers, for instance, have been operating in Niger since 2017.

But convincing other, and often poorer and less developed countries, to repeat the Niger experience can be tricky.

To help ease the hesitation and build up trust, EU policy-makers designed the COP.

Managed by the European Commission's Directorate-General for development, the COP can be anything from job mentoring to providing technical equipment.

In Senegal, it means fine tuning Dakar's ministries of interior, defence, finance, and justice so that they better share and manage information dealing with migrant smuggling.

But its final objective is always the same.

Over time, a COP will become a joint investigation team whereby police from Europe can work on African soil to crack down on migrant smuggling.

The Austrian connection

The plan is to then share intelligence with other capitals in Europe through a so-called "regional joint operation platform".

Based out of Vienna, the first joint operation office was set up in 2016 and then promoted under the Austrian EU presidency.

The office is run by a unit inside the Austrian criminal intelligence service.

EUobserver has learned that late last year, a brigade general from that same Austrian unit personally appealed to Italy's far-right interior and deputy minister, Matteo Salvini, to set up a similar branch in Sicily.

Salvini agreed. The second platform, based out of Catania, an eastern port city in Sicily, is scheduled for a September launch. Tunisians are mulling a third platform and Turkey may also join up.

The plan is to then merge and expand the initial network of three, joining up with the COP in Senegal that was first funded by EU development money.

The Austrian criminal intelligence service is ambitious and effective.

Earlier this month, they dispatched two agents to North Macedonia to collect 47 mobile phones from suspected migrant smugglers.

In three days, they cracked 30 of those phones and handed over the data to Skopje.

The whole points to a multi-agency approach spanning internal security and development aid when it comes to counter migrant smuggling and the money is flowing.

In March, Neven Mimica, the European commissioner for development, announced €115.5m to tackle a spate of violence and terrorist attacks in the Sahel and Lake Chad region.

Some €5.5m of that money will being going to the joint-investigate team in Niger, who had dismantled 33 criminal networks in the past two years.

Mimica wants to see similar results elsewhere but critics warn that development aid risks being instrumentalised as a political tool to stem migration flows.

In one study, the European confederation of Relief and Development NGOs (Concord) found that development aid support in Niger was often conditioned to migration control.

EU wary over Ukraine weapons in South Sudan

Ukraine, which had signed an EU arms embargo on South Sudan, has since sold attack helicopters used by the government forces in Juba against civilians and hospitals.

EU development aid to finance armies in Africa

The EU commission proposes to start financing militaries to help "partner countries in their development" as part of a larger policiy to stop migration to Europe.

Opinion

Tough questions for new EU 'development' commissioner

While much ink has been spilled on the naming of the new migration "European Way of Life" commissioner, another shift has gone largely unnoticed - the new European Commission will no longer include a commissioner for "Development".

Opinion

New Dutch terror bill must not target aid workers

A controversial counterterrorism bill could end up criminalising aid workers in the Netherlands if they enter conflict hotspots when assisting the world's most vulnerable people.

EU to pledge Africa security funds at G7 summit

The focus at the G7 summit will most likely narrow down to the global economy and foreign affairs, but the EU is also set to make a number of pledges on transparency and fighting diseases.

Hungary faces EU court for starving migrants

The European Commission is one step away from taking Hungary to court if it does not offer a credible explanation for why it denied detained migrants food in its transit zones along the Serbian border.

News in Brief

  1. Macron: Nato's inability to react to Turkey a 'mistake'
  2. EU: US can expect counter measures after tariff move
  3. Almost 7,500 people forcibly returned to Libya in 2019
  4. Puigdemont released after responding to arrest warrant
  5. Commission: Facebook's Libra needs international approach
  6. Italian PM: denial of accession talks a 'historic mistake'
  7. Catalan president blames clashes on 'infiltrators'
  8. US imposes €6.7bn new tariffs on European products

Opinion

Europe's refugee policy is test of its true 'way of life'

As ex-national leaders, we know it's not easy to withstand public pressures and put collective interests ahead of domestic concerns. But without strong institutional leadership, EU values themselves risk ringing hollow, not least to those seeking protection on Europe's shores.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  2. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  3. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  4. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  6. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  10. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  12. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  2. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  3. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  8. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  9. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  12. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us