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 EUPOL COPPS, 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 EUPOL COPPS. There are currently 10 such missions in Ukraine, Georgia, Kosovo, Libya, Niger, Mali, Somalia, Iraq and the occupied Palestinian territories (Ramallah and Rafah).

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 – EUPOL COPPS and EUBAM Rafah. The visitors met with the Heads of Mission 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 and Deputy Head of EUPOL COPPS. From left: Head of Mission Kauko Aaltomaa; Strategic Planner Emilia Gulkowska (CMPD); Policy Officer Daniel Munk (CPCC); Deputy Head of Mission Katja Dominik; Head of the Middle East/North Africa Sector Océane Lahanque (CMPD); and Policy Officer Richard la Cour (CPCC).