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EU to double police trainers in EUPOL mission in Afghanistan

The EU General Affairs and External Relations Council has decided the EU should double the number of participants in the EUPOL mission in Afghanistan. This measure will strengthen efforts towards police reform. The decision, adopted at today's meeting chaired by the Slovenian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Dimitrij Rupel, underlined that security and the rule of law are essential for progress in Afghanistan. The consolidation of the rule of law, which is particularly weak in the areas where safety is not guaranteed, is of crucial importance for consolidating the democratic process in Afghanistan, also in terms of the presidential elections in 2009 and parliamentary elections in 2010. In the future, the operation of the EUPOL mission will also be closely coordinated with other international actors, mainly the United States, taking into consideration the Afghan regime.

In the conclusions of today's meeting, the ministers also highlighted issues related to further strengthening the fight against corruption, introducing local self-government and implementing a strategy for the fight against drugs.

The President of the EU Council, Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel, underlined that this is a continuation of the discussion by foreign ministers in the margins of the March European Council. At that time, the ministers agreed that the situation in Afghanistan needed more attention, which should be appropriately expressed in the EU's positions to be represented at the Paris Conference on 12 June. "I believe that today's conclusions properly reflect what we have to focus on: what we could do more and what we can do better for Afghanistan," said Dr Rupel.

The decision that the EU should double the EUPOL mission will, according to the Slovenian Foreign Minister, be "an important contribution to facing the challenges ahead of us"; it conveys a clear message about EU commitments to the international community and the Afghan government. "Timely planning, meticulous preparations and evaluation of the needs in the field will guarantee an efficient use of our resources. EUPOL, however, is only as good as its forces; therefore, our Member States will have to provide for the secondment of highly qualified forces also in the future," said the Slovenian Foreign Minister, additionally pointing out the presidential elections in 2009 and parliamentary elections in 2010 as future challenges. "Our success will be measured by the success of these elections, and it is on us to contribute to them. That's why we should consider financial and other forms of assistance," said Minister Rupel with regard to Afghanistan.


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Date: 30.05.2008