Belgium has transferred the command of the European Training Mission in Mali (EUTM Mali) to Spain on 31 January.
Brigadier General Bart Laurent, head of the outgoing mission, handed over his command to Brigadier General Enrique Millán Martínez during a ceremony at the Hotel Azalaï Nord-Sud in the Malian capital of Bamako.
The Transfer of Command ceremony was presided over by the Director of Operations of the European Union, Major General Daniel Grammatico. The ceremony was also attended by the Belgian Defense Minister Steven Vandeput and by Vice-Chief of Defense Vice Admiral Michel Hofman, Spanish Minister of Defense Maria Dolores de Cospedal, and several Malian authorities.
The EUTM Mali, under Belgian command since 3 July 2016, will have been for 19 months. During this period, three Belgian generals led this mission successfully. From 3 July to 19 December 2016, EUTM Mali was under the command of Brigadier General Eric Harvent. Major-General Peter Devogelaere handed it on July 12, 2017 to Brigadier General Bart Lawrence, commander of the training mission until January 31, 2018.
With this handover, the Belgian command as well as the most important mission of the Belgian Land Component (Belgian Army) abroad came to an end. Belgium’s significant commitment does not only highlight its strong involvement in operations under the European banner but also demonstrates his interest in stability in the Sahel region.
Since the beginning of the first mandate in 2013, European instructors have trained 11,500 Malian soldiers, a third of the Malian Armed Forces (FAMa). After the training, they are able to pass on their knowledge to their colleagues.
EUTM Mali (European Union Training Mission in Mali) is a European Union multinational military training mission headquartered in Bamako, Mali, which is training and advising the military of Mali.
EUTM Mali will not be involved in combat operations in the north of the country and does not have an executive mandate.
22 European nations (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom) and 5 European countries (not members of the EU: Georgia, Montenegro, Serbia, Moldavia and Albania) are engaged in this mission and have sent soldiers to the Republic of Mali.
EUTM Mali is one of the elements of a global approach organized by the EU in Mali defined within the Strategy for the security and development within the region of Sahel.
EUTM Mali responds to the operational needs of the Malian Armed Forces by providing training support for the benefit of the Malian Armed Forces as well as training and advice on command and control, the logistical chain and human resources. Furthermore through the provision of training on International Humanitarian Law, protection of civilians and human rights.
The mission consists of 569 persons. The Main Headquarters is in Bamako, where EUTM Mali’s mission force commander, staff and advisors are. The training camp in Koulikoro is located 60 km northeast of Bamako and is the home of the Education and Training Task Force.
Additionally, EUTM Mali also conduct decentralized training within “Combined Mobile Advisory and Training Teams (CMATT). In Brussels, the mission established a support cell in order to liaise to the different branches of the European External Affairs Service (EEAS) and the respective officials within the Common Defence and Security Policy of the European Union.