EU Ministers Establish Civilian Rapid Reaction Units

European Union foreign ministers have decided to establish civilian rapid reaction units.  According to the Swedish government, it will now be possible to despatch the units at short notice to crises and conflicts around the world. The aim is to enhance EU capability to contribute to peace and security.

In November 2004, Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds submitted a proposal to improve EU capacity to rapidly deploy civilian crisis management resources in conflicts. Despite the need to act quickly, it has previously often taken weeks or months for support to be in place.

In a press release, Freivalds said ”the decision we have taken today means that by the end of next year, the EU will be able to deploy civilian rapid reaction units with only five days notice.  The Foreign Minister added that ”the units will include experts in areas such as conflict resolution, human rights and conflict mediation.”

EU civilian crisis management is part of the Union’s Common European Security and Defence Policy and is already working with training and advisory programmes for local police services in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.