On 26 February, the German Bundestag voted by a large majority to extend the participation of German servicemen and women in the EU Training Mission in Mali (EUTM Mali) for a further 15 months, and to increase the number of soldiers involved. The aim is that up to 350 soldiers can be deployed in Mali in the future. Germany will take over as chair of EUTM in August 2015.
The decision is intended to extend the Bundeswehr’s involvement in the training mission by 15 months, taking it to 31 May 2016. The personnel ceiling is also to be raised from 250 to 350 soldiers, meaning that more German instructors can be sent to Mali in future. The reason for this increase is that Germany will be taking on more tasks. From August 2015, it will take over as chair of EUTM Mali and provide the Mission Commander.
Germany to take over as EUTM chair
The aim of the EU mission remains unchanged, namely to support the Malian armed forces and Defence Ministry through training and guidance, thus enabling them to provide security and stability in the country without external assistance. The German servicemen and women also perform security‑related duties to protect the mission and ensure that EUTM is provided with medical support. Around 150 German soldiers are currently stationed in Mali.
The humanitarian situation has improved significantly in the country since the military intervention by the international community against Islamist groups in northern Mali. There has also been progress as regards the political process needed to ensure long‑term stability in the country. It is now vital to foster the process of reconciliation between the conflict parties and to consolidate the integrity of the state.
Involvement in the UN mission MINUSMA
The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) is also in operation in Mali. The aim is to restore and stabilise state authority. The Bundestag agreed to mandate the involvement of armed German troops in MINUSMA until 30 June 2015. The personnel ceiling for that mission is 150 soldiers. The Bundeswehr currently has around 86 servicemen and women in Mali.
Germany is also participating in a third mission in Mali: the civilian EU Capacity Building Mission in Mali (EUCAP Sahel Mali), which trains and advises the police, Garde National and Gendarmerie, thus augmenting the international community’s security‑policy role to date in Mali.
Germany is also engaged in humanitarian relief efforts and development cooperation to improve conditions for people in Mali and the many refugees. The German Government has pledged a total of 12 million euros in humanitarian aid for Mali since 2012, primarily to fund food aid and improve the returnee situation in northern Mali. Bilateral development cooperation was restarted in March 2013. Over the 2013‑2014 period, the German Government spent more than 100 million euros as development cooperation activities were gradually resumed.