EUCAP Somalia : A Double Standard Policy

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Launched in 2012 in Djibouti, Eucap Nestor became Eucap Somalia in 2016 and shortly moved its headquarter to Mogadishu. From a regional mission that was intended to support maritime security capabilities of the Horn of Africa’s countries, the mission decided to put its focus only to Somalia “including Somaliland”. However, with the two different political and security reality in Somalia in one part and Somaliland in the other part the mission decided to follow a “double standard policy approach” which in return created confusion with regards to the mission objectives and goals.

On 15 July 2012, the then Prime Minister of the Transitional Federal Government of the Somali Republic, in a letter to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, confirmed that ‘the rights and obligations contained in the agreement on the status of the EU-led mission Atalanta concluded on 31 December 2008 will also be applicable to EUCAP NESTOR, its personnel, premises and assets. But it was first in 2014 in Hargeisa, Somaliland that (the then) Eucap Nestor put its first foot on {what is still officially called) Somalia. The mission signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the government of Somaliland in April 2014 under the name of Eucap Nestor and logo. The Agreement laid the ground for the assistance of Eucap Nestor to Somaliland in enhancing the Somaliland Coast Guard capabilities and Counter-piracy effectiveness. The security situation on the ground in Mogadishu at that time discouraged Eucap Nestor to open an office in Mogadishu, with the FGS still weak politically. In December 2016 the Council of the European Union decided that the mission should fully focus in Somalia and renamed the mission Eucap Somalia. The mission moved its headquarter from Djibouti to Nairobi and then gradually to Mogadishu in 2019. The decision to rename the name and logo to Eucap Somalia was not based on a proper assessment of the political reality and was immediately challenged by the Somaliland authorities. It became clear that Eucap Somalia was unable to operate under the same logo in Somaliland and unstill of reviewing the available political and diplomatic options the mission decided to change its official Eucap Somalia logo to only Eucap (without the name Somalia) with all the official correspondence with the Somaliland government.

The move created a confusion to the employees specially those working in Mogadishu who have been told that they were operating in Somalia but have the feeling that they are operating in two different realities or countries. This furthermore impacted how the mission formulated its mandate.

The decision to rename the mission to Eucap Somalia was followed by an agreement between Eucap Somalia and the Federal Government of Somalia in 2019. The agreement laid the status of EUCAP Somalia, all over Somalia including Somaliland. This furthermore angered the Somaliland government which in response asked the mission to renew the 2014 agreement. According to our information Eucap is still reluctant to sign a new agreement with Somaliland although it operate with a different logo and but has since then renewed its agreement with the FGS until December 2022. The lack of agreement complicated the mission’s relationship with the Somaliland authorities since the personnel working on Hargeisa believe that they are operating under the SOMA signed with the FGS whilst that the Somaliland government claims that whatever agreement that the mission has signed with the FGS is not applicable in Somaliland. According to a local news (Somaliland oo Dalka ka Eriday Saraakiil ka Tirsan Hay’adda EU CAP | Berberanews.com) three Eucap mission members were expelled by the Somaliland Ministry of Foreign Affairs in March this year after they have been found guilty of stealing the plate number of a car belonging to one of the International Organization parked in a garage in Hargeisa.

According to source close to Brussels the majority of the success that the mission presented to the Council of the European Union in 2020 as part of its end of mandate report have been accomplished in Somaliland. This is particularly due to the advanced stage of the Somaliland Coast Guard in terms of equipment and training but mostly to the “friendly” security situation Somaliland. The ambiguity remain however that the majority of the mission’s budged was spend in Mogadishu during the last four years.

It’s clear that Eucap Somalia is following a double standard policy in Somalia and Somaliland and this created confusion to its own mission members but mostly to the mission objective and priorities. The mission needs to “come clean” and reveal to public and to European tax payers why it’s following such policy without tangible outcomes