A guest post from Technoelite on EU Defence Policy
The European Parliament is in session!
EU Flag Raising Ceremony (I know its a UKIP video but its the only one I can find of the whole event which isn’t from the mainstream media)
At the end of the Cold War a combined rapid reaction force called Eurocorps was established. It comprised of personnel from the main western European nations except the the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Ireland and was principally designed to work alongside NATO in peacekeeping missions, the Balkans for example.
This video below shows a German tank unit that was part of the KFOR NATO mission under the Eurocorps
One might think that the new EU Common Defence and Security Policy would be designed to work alongside the NATO framework like Eurocorps did in the early 90’s.
This is not the case; as seen in my first post, the structure of the policy and organisation are completely separate from NATO. Some view this as a method of counterbalancing American and British influence within NATO policy making, that allows Europe to project its power abroad with one voice.
The video example below shows the EU speaking as one voice on the Ukraine issue in Kiev
Representing this vision is Catherine Ashton.
She has overall control of the EU External Action Service with consent provided by the Council of Ministers and European Commission President.
Additional support is provided by representatives of all battle group contributing nations.
What has her main policy initiatives been since the office was created?
The EU mission in Somalia consists of (at the last count) a 650 million Euro Defence and Aid package that includes a training and maritime counter piracy force.
In Mali they delivering a training role.
(British troops are taking part in this under the EU banner)
These are the main ones right now but although relatively small it is clear the EU since the Lisbon treaty is beginning to flex its muscles and putting financial and military resources into overseas missions.
The final part in this short series will look at the future as I see it and ask the question, is it possible we could see a unified European Armed Forces under the European Union?