Brussels-based EU staff gets first-hand impression of the situation on the ground in Palestine

This week, the Mission welcomed two delegations from the EU in Brussels. Both visits aimed at familiarizing the Brussels-based staff with the situation on the ground and to establish a real-time picture of the operational environment in the occupied Palestinian territories.

From the Crisis Management and Planning Directorate (CMPD), the Mission received the Head of the Middle East/North Africa Sector Océane Lahanque and Strategic Planner Emilia Gulkowska. The Directorate is integrated in the European External Action Service and forms a basic part of the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CSDP). It conducts Strategic Reviews of existing missions, such as EUBAM Rafah, to examine the mandate, objectives, size and sustainability against the background of a transforming strategic context or changes in the political situation. It also conducts Strategic Planning of future missions and operations to develop options for possible EU action.

From the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability (CPCC), the Mission received Policy Officers, Richard la Cour and Daniel Munk, who – as Desk Officers – serve as the Mission’s key points of contact in the CPCC. The CPCC is the Operational Headquarters for all civilian Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) Missions, such as EUBAM Rafah. There are currently 10 such missions in Ukraine, Georgia, Kosovo, Libya, Niger, Mali, Somalia, Iraq and the occupied Palestinian territories (Rafah and Ramallah). There are approximately 2,000 staff in the field, and around 80 in the Headquarters. In June 2018, of the staff in the field, almost 1,300 were internationals, mainly (but not exclusively) from EU Member States. Approximately 790 were locally engaged staff.

The five-day visit included both missions in the occupied Palestinian territories –EUBAM Rafah and EUPOL COPPS. The visitors met with the Heads of Missions and were briefed by Heads of Sections and Experts in the Missions as well as their key Palestinian counterparts. The visit also included a meeting with the Deputy Head of the Office of the European Union Representative Office for the West Bank and Gaza Strip in Jerusalem.

Photo: The visitors were greeted by the Head of EUBAM Rafah. From left: Policy Officer Daniel Munk (CPCC); Strategic Planner Emilia Gulkowska (CMPD); Head of Mission Günther Freisleben, Head of the Middle East/North Africa Sector Océane Lahanque (CMPD); General Director of the General Administration of Borders and Crossings (GABC) Nazmi Mhanna; Policy Officer Richard la Cour (CPCC); Personal Assistant to the Head of Mission Abeer Assouli and Head of International Relations at GABC Iyad Salameh.