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 is composed of almost 700 troops from 28 European countries
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.
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:
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:
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:
In order to achieve these objectives, EUTM Mali bases its activities on 4 pillars:
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 24th, 2018, Congress passed an increase of troops up to a maximum of 280, with the aim of assuming control of the mission.
Spain is the largest contributor of forces (24%). As a result of the COVID-19 hibernation plan, this deployment is temporarily reduced to 180 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.
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