29th Mar 2023

EU mission in Africa goes on spending spree

  • The EU military training mission in Central African Republic (Photo:
Listen to article

The EU's civilian mission in the Central African Republic is bankrolling office supplies to security ministries, while incurring huge expenses on its own.

Set up in 2019, the mission aims to extend the state's authority in a country whose army has been cooperating with Kremlin-linked Russian private military contractor Wagner Group.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The EU over the summer earmarked €28.4m to extend the mission until late 2024 in an effort to boost Central African Republic's internal security forces.

Part of the money is going towards interior ministries and the police, including oddities like storage containers [€50,000] and €10,000 worth of USB keys, computer mice and power cables.

Other items include 11 radio sets for prisons managers in Bangui and Bimbo for €20,000, while the air and border police will get 200 packs of cardboard cards and five pieces of furniture for another €7,000.

The EU is throwing some money to the country's national commission of human rights, totalling €5,000 worth of USB keys and other computer supplies.

State-building or currying relations

The purchases provide an insight into the EU currying relations with state ministries in what it says are part of a larger effort to "support the build-up of rule-based governance and management capacities."

This also includes seminars on gender and human rights.

However, the bulk of the funds is going towards the mission itself, including staff salaries, running expenditures, office rent and travel costs to Europe and back.

EUobserver has obtained a detailed glimpse into a breakdown of those expenses, split into two periods, from an internal EU document dated 18 July.

Some €14.7m has been set aside for August 2022 to August 2023, while the remaining €13.7m will be used up until August 2024.

The breakdown poses numerous questions on how exactly the funds are intended to help establish authority for a government that struggles to even maintain control of the capital, Bangui.

In a sign of the insecurity surrounding the task, the mission has eight armoured vehicles and intends to spend €235,000 for its own armoury, equipped with ammunition, spare parts, as well as shooting range equipment.

But the breakdown also poses rights questions on working with security and interior ministries, following the EU's decision last year to no longer train the military given the state had co-opted Russian mercenaries.

Those mercenaries had taken command of at least one EU-trained battalion in the Central African Republic. In July, the EU proposed to extend the military training anyway.

Local vs EU wage disparity

The disparity between salaries of locals working at the EU mission, compared to Europeans, is also striking.

While a local working in the head of office is paid €1,700 a month, an international contracted staff with a similar role is paid €4,650.

The EU's head of mission takes home €19,000 a month. Including travel and other allowances, his overall pay for the two year mission is €483,000.

Meanwhile, just over €20,000 is going towards team-building activities to create "a good atmosphere in the workplace."

Another €7,000 is slated for one year of newspaper subscriptions, while €30,000 is going towards stationary over the same 12-month period.

An accessories kit, including a mouse, keyboard and headset with microphone, is set to cost €20,000. A printer with toner and image drum €18,159,06. Both are listed for use by only one personnel.

Over €538,000 has also been set aside for 74 flights to Europe per year. And another €11m is for running expenditures to maintain a fleet of 32 vehicles, pay office rent (€900,000/year) compound accommodation rental cost (€2.2m/year), as well as other expenses.

Macron pledges troops in Niger after Mali exodus

The pullout from Mali raises fresh doubts about European military resolve. But Macron said troops would return to fight jihadists in the region from bases in Niger and Nigeria.

EU mulls 'specialised teams' to counter migration abroad

The EU is exploring ways to further crack down on irregular migration at its overseas missions, including the use of "specialised teams". Such missions are found in places like Niger, Libya, Mali, Somali, Iraq and elsewhere.


What does China really want? Perhaps we could try asking

Perhaps even more surprising to the West was the fact that the Iran-Saudi Arabia deal was not brokered by the United States, or the European Union, but by the People's Republic of China. Since when was China mediating peace agreements?


Biden's 'democracy summit' poses questions for EU identity

From the perspective of international relations, the EU is a rare bird indeed. Theoretically speaking it cannot even exist. The charter of the United Nations, which underlies the current system of global governance, distinguishes between states and organisations of states.

Latest News

  1. The overlooked 'crimes against children' ICC arrest warrant
  2. EU approves 2035 phaseout of polluting cars and vans
  3. New measures to shield the EU against money laundering
  4. What does China really want? Perhaps we could try asking
  5. Dear EU, the science is clear: burning wood for energy is bad
  6. Biden's 'democracy summit' poses questions for EU identity
  7. Finnish elections and Hungary's Nato vote in focus This WEEK
  8. EU's new critical raw materials act could be a recipe for conflict

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. InformaConnecting Expert Industry-Leaders, Top Suppliers, and Inquiring Buyers all in one space - visit Battery Show Europe.
  2. EFBWWEFBWW and FIEC do not agree to any exemptions to mandatory prior notifications in construction
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ways to prevent gender-based violence
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Economic gender equality now! Nordic ways to close the pension gap
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: Pushing back the push-back - Nordic solutions to online gender-based violence
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCSW67: The Nordics are ready to push for gender equality

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Azerbaijan Embassy9th Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council Ministerial Meeting and 1st Green Energy Advisory Council Ministerial Meeting
  2. EFBWWEU Social Dialogue review – publication of the European Commission package and joint statement of ETUFs
  3. Oxfam InternationalPan Africa Program Progress Report 2022 - Post Covid and Beyond
  4. WWFWWF Living Planet Report
  5. Europan Patent OfficeHydrogen patents for a clean energy future: A global trend analysis of innovation along hydrogen value chains

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us