The birth of the European Gendarmerie Force (Eurogendfor - EGF) is marked by the treaty signed in Holland on 18th October 2007, but the idea of creating a European security force, inspired by the French Gendarmes and the Carabinieri M.S.U., dates back to earlier times. In 2003, in fact, the French and Italian Defence Ministers considered this option as a means to create an international police force available for the maintenance of public order within peacekeeping operations. Within a month of its formation, the EGF was immediately called in to deploy its first fully operational contingents of Integrated Police Unit (IPU) for the “EUFOR Althea” mission in Bosnia Herzegovina, with a mandate of crowd-control, investigations and supplying support for local police forces.
Today, the EGF can dispatch between 800 and 2,300 units in crisis areas to prevent conflicts, to support military operations or to ensure the transition to civilian administration. The five countries that, in addition to Italy, currently supply EGF with resources are France (with its Gendarmerie Nationale Française), Holland (with the Koninklijke Marechaussee), Portugal (with the Guardia Nacional Republicana), Romania (with the Gendarmerie Romena) and Spain (with the Guardia Civil).
The Eurogendfor Command, based in Vicenza, is led in turns by each of the six countries.
Vicenza is also home to the CoESPU (Centre of Excellence for Stability Police Units), established in 2005 by the Carabinieri, in close agreement with the U.S. State Department and under the aegis of the UN Department for Peace Operations. Its aim is to increase global capabilities to support peacekeeping operations, with a particular focus on African countries. The Centre trains officers from foreign Police/Gendarmerie forces that, once back in their native countries, will assume leadership positions within units deployed back to the UN for peacekeeping operations or employed in training tasks. The Centre offers high-level and middle-management training courses, respectively, for senior and junior officers or warrant officers from Jordan, India, Morocco, Senegal, Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Serbia, Pakistan, Ukraine, Mali, Romania, Indonesia, Egypt, Nepal, South Africa and Burkina Faso.
The CoESPU has, furthermore, consolidated its role as an international training and doctrinal centre also by partaking in several UN, EU and NATO initiatives, in cooperation with counterpart institutions abroad and organising training courses in the field concerning several aspects of police management in international crises, protection of cultural heritage, fight against international terrorism and Military Policing.