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EU's military mission in Mali


The European Union´s training mission in Mali, EUTM-Mali, provides the Malian Army with military training and chain of command, logistics and HR management advice, as well as advice on international humanitarian law.

EUTM Mali constitutes the military pillar of the EU strategy in the country, which includes other fields such as political and humanitarian development. The mission was born in 2013 to respond to the need to strengthen the capabilities of the Malian Armed Forces, with the ultimate result being self-sustaining armed forces capable of contributing to the defence of their population and territory.


EUTM Mali troops

In January 2012, Tuareg rebels joined the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and rose up in arms against the central power in Bamako, demanding the secession of the Azawad region, traditionally recognized only as a cultural entity by the Malian government. Within months, the entire Northern part of the country (Kidal, Timbuktu and Gao) had succumbed to the offensive of rebels and jihadists.

In March 2012, Captain Sanogo carried out a bloodless coup d’état and he assumed the presidency of the country replacing Amadou Toumani Touré. Shortly thereafter, on 6 April 2012, the MNLA – under the authority of Bilal Ag Acherif – unilaterally declared the independence of the Azawad.

In June 2012, the Islamists took complete control of the Tuareg revolt, cruelly imposing Sharia law throughout Northern Mali; there were then massive population displacements from the North to Southern Mali and other bordering countries. On 9 January 2013, the jihadists – at that time AQIM, Ansar Dine and MUYAO – took the initiative again and, from their Northern strongholds, launched a coordinated offensive with Bamako as their target.

In response to the request for support from the new transitional government of Dioncounda Traoré, France deployed in Operation Serval. With the support of Malian and Chadian forces, it stopped the advance of radical Islamist groups.

In a few weeks, the international reaction overwhelmed the jihadists who, offering little or no resistance, abandoned their northern redoubts, camouflaged themselves among the population, and either took refuge in their former sanctuaries in the Sahara or fleed outside Malian borders.

Bilateral meeting

UN Security Council Resolution 2071 directly called on Regional and International organizations, including the EU, to provide coordinated assistance, expertise, training and support for the development of the Malian Armed and Security Forces in order to restore state authority. This purpose was reiterated in the European Parliament Resolution of 22 November 2012.

 On 24 December 2012, the President of the Republic of Mali sent a letter to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy requesting the deployment of a European Union military training mission in Mali.

All these events led to the adoption of Council Decision 2013/34/CFSP on 13 January 2013, which designed the structure and objectives of the European Union Training Mission (EUTM) Mali.

Thus, the first European soldiers arrived in Bamako on 8 February 2013. On 18 February, Council Decision 2013/87/CFSP was adopted, launching officially the EUTM Mali, which was immediately activated in Brussels. Finally, on 20 February 2013, the mission began in Bamako.


FIRST MANDATE (2013-2014)

The First Mandate of EUTM Mali was approved by Council Decision 2013/34/CFSP of 17 January 2013. Article 1 defined the mission, which is summarised in the following points:

  • The Union shall conduct a military training mission (EUTM Mali), to provide, in the South of Mali, military and training advice to the Malian Armed Forces (MaAF) operating under the control of legitimate civilian authorities, in order to contribute to the restoration of their military capacity with a view to enabling them to conduct military operations aiming at restoring Malian territorial integrity and reducing the threat posed by terrorist groups. EUTM Mali shall not be involved in combat operations.
  •  The objective of EUTM Mali shall be to respond to the operational needs of the MaAF through the provision of:
  1. Training support for the benefit of the MaAF
  2. Training and advice on command and control, logistical chain and human resources, as well as training on International Humanitarian Law, protection of civilians and Human Rights.
  3. The activities of EUTM Mali shall be conducted in close coordination with other actors involved in the support to the MaAF, in particular the United Nations (UN) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

SECOND MANDATE (2014-2016)

 The approval of Council Decision 2014/220/CFSP of 15 April 2014 triggered the Second Mandate of EUTM Mali, without significant variations except for its extension until 18 May 2016.

THIRD MANDATE (2016-2018)

The Third Mandate began with the adoption of Council Decision 2016/446/CFSP of 23 March 2016. This new mandate increased the mission’s sphere of responsibility in 3 key areas:

  • It extended the area of responsibility up to the southern bank of the Niger River, including the cities of Timbuktu and Gao.
  • It began support, through decentralised training activities to the Units and Headquarters of the Military Regions. 
  • It began to support G5 Sahel, in the framework of activities with the Malian Armed Forces, improving its interoperability with the rest of the armies that make up the G5 Sahel Joint Force.

Finally, this decision extended the mission until 18 May 2018.

FOURTH MANDATE (2018-2020)

on 14 May 2018, with General Millán in command of the mission since 31 January, the Fourth Mandate was launched, as approved by Council Decision 2018/716/CFSP of 14 May. Under this new mandate, support for G5 Sahel has been strengthened through training and advisory activities, while extending the mission until 18 May 2020.

FIFTH MANDATE (2020-2024)

Following a Strategic Review process, the Council of the EU decided to extend the mandate of the European Union Training Mission in Mali until 18 May 2024. This is first time that the mandate has been extended for a period of four years. The Mission’s area of operations has been expanded and now comprises the whole of Mali. Additionally, the Council also authorised the extension of EUTM Mali’s area of operations to provide military assistance to the G5 Sahel countries. The Council also provided an increased indicative budget to the mission of €133.7 million for a four-year period.



Since the approval of the Fifth Mandate in March 2020, the strategic objectives of the mission have been:

  • To contribute to the improvement of the capabilities of the Malian Armed Forces under the control of the political authorities
  • Consolidate the improvements achieved since 2013
  • Contribute to the political stabilisation and improvement of the security situation in Mali through support for the implementation of the Algiers Peace Agreement.
  • Support the restoration of state control and the rule of law throughout Mali.
  • Support G5 Sahel, through the consolidation and improvement of the operational capabilities of its Joint Force, strengthening regional cooperation to address common security threats, especially terrorism and illegal trafficking, especially of human beings.

In order to achieve these objectives, EUTM Mali bases its activities on 4 pillars:

  1. Training of Malian military units
  2. Advice at all levels to the Malian Armed Forces
  3. Contribution to the improvement of the Military Education System, from schools to ministerial level
  4. Advice and training to G5 Sahel Joint Force headquarters
Spanish troops in Mali

Spanish participation, with a maximum of 50 soldiers, was authorised on January 30th, 2013 by Congress. On April 1st, 2013, The first Spanish troops were deployed in EUTM-Mali.

An increase of the contingent up to 110, as well as necessary support elements, was authorised on June 18th by the Defence Commission. On January 24 th 2018, Congress passed an increase of troops up to a maximum of 280, with the aim of assuming control of the mission.

At present, the Spanish participation is approximately 140 troops.

Spanish troops are mostly deployed in the town of Koulikoro, northeast of Bamako. This is where they carry out the training of the Malian military who, once their first period of training and instruction is over, are sent to the north of the country to face the Jihadist groups that still operate relatively freely in that area.

spanish force protection unit

Security within EUTM-MaliYoutube video


  • June 3. The Spanish contingent take over. EUTM MALI XXII starts.


  • December 16th. EUTM-Mali's Force Commander is replaced. Brigadier General Santiago Fernández Ortiz-Repiso is the new Force Commander. The brigadier general assumes command of the EUTM-Mali mission.
  • December. The Spanish contingent take over.EUTM MALI XXI starts
  • June 10th. The Spanish contingent, incluidng the helicopter unit, take over.


  • December 15th. Colonel Víctor Valero García is the new Head of the Spanish forces and, also, EUTM-Mali Chief of Staff.
  • December 1st. The Helicopter Unit and the Force Protection Unit handed over to their members deployed in EUTM-Mali.
  • July 7th. Spanish Brigadier General Fernando Luis Gracia Herréiz handed over as EUTM - Mali Force Commander and Colonel Soriano remains as Head of contingent.
  • June 29th. The Spanish Army succesfully deploys a Helicopter Unit (3 NH-90), at the disposal of EUTM- Mali. 
  • May 25th. The incoming Spanish contingent, EUTM-M XVIII, led by Brigade 'Aragón' I and marines belonging to 'Tercio de Armada' takes over. 
  • April 20. ESP CHOD, admiral general López Calderón visits EUTM-MALI Headquarters and meets with his Malian counterpart.
  • January 12. Spanish CHOD attends the change of Command ceremony and afterwards he visited Spanish troops deployed in Mali at the Koulikoro Training Centre. 
  • January 12. Change of Command of EUTM-Mali Mission Force Commander. Spanish Brigadier General Fernando Luis Gracia Herréiz is the new Force Commander.


  • December 5th. The Spanish contingent deployed to Mali takes over. Brigade ‘Extremadura XI’ leads the 17th rotation.
  • August 5th. Spanish Colonel took over as new Deputy Commander (DCOM). 
  • June 17th. HOTO ceremony following all health protocols against the COVID-19 pandemic. The bulk of outgoing and incoming troops belong to the Spanish Legión.
  • May 20th. The first rotation of EUTM Mali XVI arrives in Koulikoro. The contingent is made of servicemen belonging to the 7th 'Bandera' of the Spanish Legión and also Spanish Marines.
  • April 17th. Around 10 Spanish and foreign troops return home from Mali after a temporary cease on training activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • November 27. The Brigade of the Legion took over from the 'Canarias' Brigade in the EUTM MALI mission. The transfer of authority between XIV and XV contingents took place in Koulikoro.
  • August 31. Spanish Colonel Vicente Torres took over the command of EUTM MALI.
  • May 27. The 7th Brigade “Galicia” is replaced in its mission by the 16th Infantry Brigade “Canarias XVI” BRICAN, and by soldiers from the Marines (TEAR). Soldiers from the Czech Land Forces also joint the contingent.


  • November 26. Personnel from the 6th Parachute Brigade “Almogávares” and the 1st Landing Battalion of the Spanish Marine Infantry Brigade of the Marines are replaced by soldiers from the 7th Brigade “Galicia” and from the 3rd Landing Battalion of the Spanish Marine Infantry Brigade of the Marines. Two Czech sections were integrated, under the Spanish command, into the Protection Forces.
  • November 12. Brigadier General of the Spanish Army, Enrique Millán Martínez, hands over the command of the mission to the German General Peter Mirow.
  • May 30. Personnel from the Legion and the Marines are replaced by the 6th Parachute Brigade “Almogávares” and by personnel from the Marines.
  • January 31. Brigadier General of the Spanish Army Enrique Millán Martínez takes over the command of the mission from the Belgian General Bart Lauren.
  • January 24. The Congress approves increasing the number of troops up to 292 out of the 140 authorised until the moment.


  • December 28. On the occasion of taking command of the operation, the Council of Ministers requests the authorisation from Congress of Deputies to increase the number of troops up to 292.
  • December 28. The mission is extended till December 2018 with a total of 140 troops.


  • March 23. The European Union Council extends the mission. The third mandate will last until May 18, 2018.


  • July 28. General Alfonso García-Vaquero hands over command of the mission to the German Brigadier General Xaver Pfrengle.


  • October 24. General Alfonso García-Vaquero takes command of the mission.
  • May 18. The first mandate of the European Union comes to an end and the second one begins for a period of two years, till May 2016.


  • April. A military training centre goes into operation in Koulikoro.
  • March. Advice is provided on improving the chain of command and control, as well as logistics and human resource management.
  • February. The first Spanish soldiers arrive to Bamako.
  • January 17. The UE Council approves the training mission in Mali.


  • Donated sewing machines

    Spanish Mali Contingent funds the upgrading of a sewing training center.

    Spanish Mali Contingent funds the upgrading of a sewing training center.


    Bamako, Mali

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  • Inauguration of the renovations

    The Spanish contingent deployed in Mali funds health and security improvements at a school in Bamako

    The Spanish contingent deployed in Mali funds health and security improvements at a school in Bamako


    Bamako, Mali

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  • Speakers with General Fernández Ortiz-Repiso

    Panel discussion at the European Training Mission in Mali on the role of young woman in Malian society

    Panel discussion at the European Training Mission in Mali on the role of young woman in Malian society



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  • Meeting with the Mauritanian Chief of Defence Staff

    A delegation from the European Training Mission in Mali visits Mauritania

    A delegation from the European Training Mission in Mali visits Mauritania


    Nouakchott, Mauritania

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  • Casualty transport training

    The Force Protection Unit of the Spanish contingent in EUTM Mali participates in health workshops.

    The Force Protection Unit of the Spanish contingent in EUTM Mali participates in health workshops.



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