Mika-Markus Leinonen, a Finnish diplomat by origin, is currently serving as the permanent Chair of CIVCOM (Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis management) since joining the EEAS in 2011. He has extensive experience in CSDP from its beginning, both from a member state and Brussels institutions’ perspective.  He entered the Finnish Foreign Service in 1990 and subsequently served in Embassies in Chile, Belgium and Nato. After various years  spent in Brussels in the CFSP/CSDP units of the Council General Secretariat and the Finnish representative to CIVCOM, he became the Director for civilian crisis management in MFA Helsinki. In 2007 he was appointed  as Director of DGE9 (civilian crisis management) of the Council Secretariat and later also the Adviser for civilian capabilities.

Mika-Markus Leinonen’s 10 from 10

  • At the very beginning of the ESDP/CSDP, when the key capabilities required to deploy civilian missions were defined (Rule of Law/RoL, civilian administration etc.), we missed out one crucial one: mission support. The difficulty in getting these experts in procurement, human resources and administration – seconded or contracted – seriously hampers the deployment of new missions.Way forward: Have a critical mass of them permanently available under one roof in Brussels.
  • Comprehensive Approach is the new buzzword in Brussels. Huge expectations are placed on EEAS shoulders in this respect, and rightly so since it needs to build up the capacity and know how to connect horizontally the processes which are guiding the planning and conduct of CSDP missions with those guiding the planning and implementation of development aid instruments, while also taking into account Member States’ activities in 3rd countries. However, this should not blur the fact that the Comprehensive Approach is a shared responsibility between the three players.Way forward: Maximizing the potential of the comprehensive approach at EU level should start at home, in the Capitals, where too often political and development tracks do not meet.
  • A CSDP culture is taking roots but painfully slowly. We have a long way to go to match the level reached at NATO. At strategic level, the European Security and Defence College (ESDC) is starting to live up to expectations and multiplying opportunities for acquiring the strategic level knowledge across the EU.Way forward: Make the best use of scarce resources by bringing together the ESDC and the EU Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) in Paris.
  • A permanent solution to providing pre-deployment and specialised training for civilian experts to be deployed, seconded or contracted is urgently required. Enough of temporary, make shift solutions. The Commission financed ENTRi consortium is making an excellent effort to deliver pre-deployment and specialised training. But this is not enough.Way forward: The training should be delivered on a permanent and sound institutional and financial basis.
  • Ensuring local buy-in in the host countries is one of the weak points of CSDP efforts. The EEAS and its wide net of delegations are well placed to improve things.Way forward: Firstly, EEAS should invite key political figures of CSDP-host countries to Brussels for face-to-face encounters with Member States’ Ambassadors in the Political and Security Committee (PSC) to underline the importance of political accountability. Secondly, by maximising the potential of EU Delegations to support the CSDP missions through seeking political accountability at the level of ministers and ministrieswhich play a key role in the Security Sector Reform (SSR) of any country, not forgetting the important role of Finance ministries in fostering reforms.
  • The current average staffing rate of civilian missions is close to 85% of the full authorised level. However, the number of contracted staff is growing. Various Member States cannot afford to send civilian experts as secondees to our missions.Way forward: Considerations should be given to financing all costs of seconded civilian experts from the CFSP budget. In the longer run, this is the only way to guarantee sufficient numbers of civilian experts in our civilian missions, especially if the number of missions continues to grow, which seems to be the case.
  • In the post-Lisbon set up, the Presidency of the CSDP working parties, notably in CIVCOM, has only one thing in common with the Presidency of the pre-Lisbon era: the name. The rotating Presidency and its person at the helm of the committee was the undisputable power base: the CSDP structures of the Council General Secretariat (GSC) provided the necessary papers at its request and the documents were agreed with minimum resistance by Member States represented in the committee, each of them waiting their turn to occupy the chair. Things have changed completely in a sense that the chairmanship has become a balancing act caught in cross-fire, with one foot in the EEAS, the other with the Member States at the moment of brokering solutions.
  • The first 10 years of ESDP/CSDP have been characterised by constant change in the Brussels-based support structures in charge of planning and conducting the CSDP missions. Together with staff turnover, this has led to loss of continuity and collective memory, with the lessons learned processing particularly affected by these circumstances. At best, lessons have been the responsibility of one person. The level of in-house RoL expertise (prosecutors, judges and police) and other civilian experts at strategic level has been equally thin.
  • The mission impact assessment in addition to their exit/transition handling is perhaps the most challenging task facing the civilian CSDP structures, where concrete progress in defining the methodological basis as well as the concrete handling has to be achieved as soon as possible.
  • The upcoming EEAS review, as regards the CSDP structures, should focus on seeking to bring the CSDP mission planning process under one authority – in the interest of continuity and consistency – as well as rationalising, streamlining and bringing clarity to the chain of command of the whole CSDP.