The recent military coup in Burkina Faso briefly caught public attention and reminded the world that the Ukraine war is not the only military flashpoint involving the EU. Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the mission in Mali and police and military assistance in the Sahel were high on the EU foreign policy agenda. Now, questions and doubts are being raised about the missions, which have lasted almost ten years, amid few signs that the officially set goals are being achieved.

This study is assessing EU involvement in the Sahel region, with a focus on the military deployments in Mali.

According to the study, the multiplicity of actors providing military and police training assistance, seeking to reform the security sector, combat terrorism and migration, while at the same time pursuing particular self-interests, has led to extensive militarisation.

The variety of justifications for mandates and missions is broad and indicate a “one-size-fits-all” EU approach to foreign policy in which securing and exerting influence takes priority.

Link for the launch event: