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Exit strategies: what's in a name?
The December 2013 European Council identified ‘increasing the effectiveness, visibility and impact of CSDP’ as a priority. Ensuring adequate follow-up of CSDP missions through other EU instruments and/or external partners constitutes a key component in ensuring the long-term sustainability of peace-building actions. The imminent adjustments to the mandate of EUPOL Afghanistan, as a result of US withdrawal plans, highlight the challenges facing the EU in this domain, as do other missions – such as EUFOR RCA – the operation launched in Central African Republic (CAR) earlier this year – where the handing over of responsibilities to external partners was an explicit goal from the outset. Conceptually, the adoption of the ‘comprehensive approach’ as a guiding paradigm re-opens the discussion over CSDP and how it fits into the broader EU toolbox, which has resurfaced in the context of institutional developments over the past five years.