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European Union (EU) member states established the Civilian Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) Compact in 2018 to strengthen civilian CSDP missions. Among other things, they committed to increasing the number and share of seconded personnel in these missions. Both had been decreasing in previous years.
The number of seconded personnel started to increase in 2019, driven by the expansion of several missions. It increased from 712 in August 2019 to 773 in April 2020. The increase discontinued thereafter, most likely as a consequence of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Meanwhile, the share of seconded personnel continued to decrease both overall—from 66 per cent when the compact was established to 62 per cent in August 2020—and in most missions.
In order to ensure the delivery of the CDSP Compact, EU member states should, among other things, continue expanding their capacity to second more personnel to missions in the medium term and increase their contributions in the short term to prevent missions becoming more dependent on contracted personnel, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa. The European External Action Service should, for example, introduce indicators based on the retention and recruitment of seconded and contracted mission personnel and analyse the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on these two issues.