The EU has already trained more than 4,000 Somali army soldiers since 2010 to fight insurgency in the region, EU Ambassador to Somalia Michele Cervone d'Urso told The Anadolu Agency on the sidelines of a press briefing in Nairobi.
"Today was very much to emphasize that the EU will focus this year on making a difference, particularly in the security sector, because there is a change in command of the EU training mission," the diplomat told AA.
"Its objective (The EU training mission) is to enhance the capacity of the Somalia National Army (SNA) by training and by advising the army on the capacities to really make a difference on the ground," he said.
The EU training mission is capable of training 1,400 soldiers annually, the diplomat said. "These soldiers are now partnering with the African Union troops in the offensive" against Boko Haram militant group, d'Urso said.
The training mission was launched in April of 2010 with the aim of boosting the transitional federal government in Somalia. Since its launch, the EU says that more than 4,000 soldiers have been trained at a budget of €8.9 million (around $10 million), funding that was contributed by 11 European states.
Al-Shabaab, which in recent years has waged an active insurgency against the Mogadishu government, has recently suffered several significant blows, including the loss of most of its strongholds in southern and central Somalia to the joint Somali and African troops.
Several group members have also recently been killed in U.S. drone strikes.
D'Urso said that his body is glad to see Somalia slowly regaining its sovereignty on the country's territory.
"Somalia is starting to stand up. If we look at where it was 25 years ago, you can see that there is progress,” the diplomat said.
"It all starts down with security. This is why the EU is supporting the security sector in Somalia more than any other country in the world, and we believe that the Somali security forces are slowly making a difference."
For his part, the mission's commander Brig. Gen. Massimo Mingiardi told AA that the training program was supposed to be terminated on March 5, but the deadline has been pushed to December 2016.
"We provided basic training and specialized training. We also are involved in the strategic, advisory and mentoring activity at the political level and at the strategic level," Mingiardi said.
"We are going to provide training for 1,000 soldiers this year, but we will do specialized training instead of the basic one," he said. "We also want to provide not only the training, but also the equipment needed for the Somali troops," he added.