Bundeswehr Paratrooper Waves to Kinshasa Residents during a Patrol of the City (October 26, 2006)
At a June 1999 meeting in Cologne, the European Council decided to create a European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) as an integral part of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) introduced in the Maastricht Treaty. On June 12, 2003, the EU Council of Ministers approved Operation Artemis, a short-term military deployment designed to support the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. On April 27, 2006, the EU Council voted in favor of Operation “EUFOR RD Congo,” which provided renewed support for the UN mission during the presidential and parliamentary elections. Germany assumed command of the mission and dispatched the second-largest contingent of troops (up to 780) after France (1,090). Although the Congo operation was controversial, both among the German population and within the Bundeswehr, the German Bundestag approved it on June 2, 2006 (with the FDP and the Left Party voting against it). Photo: Andrea Bienert.