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ESDP Newsletter No.2

01 July 2006
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As we finalise this second issue of the ESDP newsletter, the European Union is about to launch its fourth military operation under the European Security and Defence Policy. This latest mission will support the UN force, MONUC, during the crucial electoral period in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The DRC is a key country for the stability and development of the Great Lakes region and of Africa as a whole. Accordingly, it has been a major priority for the EU in recent years. The new operation will help to consolidate peace. The newsletter places the new mission in the context of the EU's strong, long-standing and multifaceted commitment to the DRC and its transition process.

In a similar spirit – supporting a peace process and helping a post-conflict transition – the EU is engaged alongside Asian and other partners in an innovative mission, the Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM), in Indonesia. Aceh has been ravaged by years of conflict and by the December 2004 tsunami. We talk to Pieter Feith, the Head of AMM, about how this mission is successfully supporting the peace process while also breaking new ground for future missions.

ESDP is about women and men who are or will be called upon to implement the policy. A new scheme, built as a network, is aimed at promoting a shared security culture: the European Security and Defence College. The newsletter looks at the College as it completes its 2005-06 academic year and shares in the experience of course participants, including those from non-EU countries In this issue we also meet EU counter-terrorism coordinator Gijs de Vries, take stock of the EU-Russia partnership on security, and highlight significant new assets that will enhance the EU's operational capabilities: the EU Military Staff's Civil-Military Cell and EU battlegroups.

Your comments on the first issue of the newsletter tended to confirm that it was filling a gap. We will try to continue to follow developments in the rapidly expanding policy that is ESDP in as comprehensive and lively a way as possible. Please do not hesitate to continue to share your comments with us.