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7 avril 2014 1 07 /04 /avril /2014 11:50
EU battlegroups after the Central African Republic crisis: quo vadis?


2nd April 2014 by Niklas Novaky * - europeangeostrategy.org


This year will mark the 10th anniversary of the European Union’s (EU) battlegroup (BG) concept. Despite the approaching milestone, the EU is unlikely to celebrate it with much fanfare. This is because, although the EU has deployed three Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) military crisis management operations since the first battlegroups became operational in January 2005, none of them have been a BG-operation.


The future of the BG-concept was subject to heated debate in the run-up to last December’s European Council, where EU heads of state and government focused on CSDP for the first time since the Lisbon Treaty’s entry into force in 2009. Over the years, many EU countries have become frustrated by the BGs because using them in crisis situations has proven extremely difficult, although they are often hailed as CSDP’s ‘flagship capability’.


The latest opportunity to use them came last year when the security climate in the Central African Republic (CAR) deteriorated. In March 2013, the Séléka group, a loose coalition of Muslim militias, overthrew the CAR government of President François Bozizé. After President Bozizé fled the country, Séléka-leader Michel Djotodia became the country’s President. However, the situation in the country deteriorated further after clashes between various Christian and Muslim groups escalated in the second half of 2013.


In order to contribute to the international community’s efforts to stabilise the situation in the CAR, the EU began to consider the option of deploying a BG in November. It was considered that the BGs would be an ideal instrument for providing temporary relief on the ground by stabilising the situation in Bangui, the CAR capital. However, the idea of deploying a BG collapsed quickly.


In the second half of 2013, the only BG on standby was led by the United Kingdom (UK). However, Britain’s conservative-led coalition government refused to discuss deploying the BG because it would have been extremely difficult for it to justify using the BG for its Eurosceptic domestic audience. In the first half of 2014, the only BG on standby was led by Greece. However, this BG could not be used either because it lacked financial resources. According to member state officials, Greece was also reluctant to deploy the BG for political reasons; since the country has gone through dramatic cuts to balance its budget, deploying the BG would not have been popular among the Greek public.


The EU’s inability to use the BGs in the CAR raises tough questions about the future of the BG concept. Finland’s Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, for example, expressed recently that ‘there is something fundamentally wrong in the EU’s capabilities’ if the BGs cannot be deployed when there is a clear need to deploy them. Furthermore, Sweden’s Foreign Minter Carl Bildt saw that the Union’s failure to use the BGs in the CAR could even spell the end of the BG concept as we know it.


The Nordics’ frustration is not just words. At the Athens informal EU defence ministerial in February, Sweden proposed that EU defence ministers should hold a workshop to study the conditions under which the BG could be deployed in the future. According to Finnish Defence Minister Carl Haglud, this shows that the member states are finally waking up to the reality that the BG concept simply ‘does not work’ in its current form.


In the author’s opinion, there are two options for increasing the deployability of EU BGs. The first one is the modularity idea, which was featured in High Representative Catherine Ashton’s annual report on CSDP in October 2013. According to Ashton, BG modularity ‘would allow incorporating the modules provided by the member states most interested in a given crisis, avoiding a too rigid and prescribed composition of the EU BGs, and allowing for more proportionate contributions according to member states’ means’. In other words, rather than having a rigid pre-determined structure, BGs could be assembled from EU member states’ modules on a case-by-case basis.


Modularity is an idea worth testing because it would increase the BGs’ flexibility. However, it is unlikely that it would significantly speed up the EU’s military deployment process. This is because the deployment of BGs would still depend on EU member states’ willingness to contribute the required modules, which is not guaranteed to happen. As the case of EUFOR RCA has show, EU member states have difficulties generating enough forces even for a relatively small operation of 1,000 troops. Thus, it is unclear how BG modularity would change the current dynamics in the EU’s force generation process.


In order to work, modularity needs to be complemented with second parallel reform, i.e. increasing common funding for possible BG-operations. In the event that the EU decides to launch a BG-operation, the vast majority of the operation’s costs would currently be funded according to the principle of ‘costs lie where they fall’. This means that each member state participating in a BG-operation would be responsible for covering the expenses of its own contingent without external assistance. The only exception to this rule is a small amount of common costs, which are funded through the Athena mechanism.


To improve EU member states’ incentives to participate in BG-operations, common funding should be increased significantly. The best-case scenario would be to have the Athena mechanism fund the majority of BG-operations’ costs. This way EU member states would not have to worry about funding issues at the time when they are making a decision on whether or not to contribute modules to a possible BG-operation. In other words, the idea of using a BG should never again collapse because there would not be enough funding for it!


Sweden’s proposal to hold a ministerial workshop on EU BGs is a good one, although it is likely that resolving the BGs’ current structural problems will take much more than one workshop. However, if EU member states could implement modularity in an effective way and increase the level of common funding for possible BG operations, the deployability of EU BGs is likely to increase.



* Mr. Niklas Novaky is a Doctoral Researcher at the University of Aberdeen. He is also a Visiting Researcher at the Institute for European Studies, Free University of Brussels. He writes here in a personal capacity.

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27 mars 2014 4 27 /03 /mars /2014 17:49
European Defence Matters: Keynote Speech by Catherine Ashton


Brussels - 27 March, 2014  European Defence Agency


Catherine Ashton, Head of the European Defence Agency, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy & Vice-President of the European Commission, keynote speech focused again on the outcomes of December’s European Council. She reinforced the calls for the implementation of the four key capabilities given to the European Defence Agency and emphasised that European Defence needs to be underpinned by the right capabilities.

Please find the full speech here.

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26 mars 2014 3 26 /03 /mars /2014 08:50
EDA Annual Conference Opens Doors at 8 AM


Brussels - 25 March, 2014 European Defence Agency


Due to the high number of registered attendees (up to 600), registration to the EDA’s Annual Conference “European Defence Matters” on 27 March already starts at 8 AM. 

We encourage participants to arrive early as we expect delays at the registration counters. The conference will start at 9.30 AM (sharp) but early arrivers can enjoy a welcome coffee in the meantime. 
Military staff is furthermore invited to attend the conference in dress uniform.  

More information:

Annual conference web page (including draft programme).

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25 mars 2014 2 25 /03 /mars /2014 12:45
Remise de la médaille de la Politique Européenne de Défense et de Sécurité Commune


04.03.2014 EUTM Mali


Les 28 février et 1er mars, se sont déroulées, au quartier général de la mission EUTM à Bamako et au camp d’entrainement de Koulikoro, les cérémonies de remises de médailles au personnel Européen de la mission qui quitteront le Mali dans les prochaines semaines.

Au total, ce sont 279 officiers, sous-officiers et militaires du rang, de 22 nations, qui ont été décorés de la médaille de la Politique Européenne de Défense  et de Sécurité Commune. Le général Bruno Guibert, commandant l’EUTM, qui présidait les deux cérémonies a, au cours de son adresse, remercié les militaires européens pour leur engagement et leur détermination pour redonner au Mali une armée pérenne et efficace et ainsi rentrer dans leurs pays respectifs avec une fierté légitime du devoir accompli.


Medal parade for EUTM personnel

On the 28th of February in EUTM’s main headquarters in Bamako and on the first of March in the Koulikoro training camp, took place the medal parades for the European personnel who will leave Mali during the next weeks.

A total of 279 officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers from 22 different countries were awarded the medal for European Common Security and Defense Policy. General Bruno Guibert, EUTM commander chaired both ceremonies. He sized this opportunity to address the EUTM soldiers to thank them for their commitment and determination in favor of the rebuilding of the Malian army and assuring them that they could return to their nations and their armies with the legitimate pride of having fulfilled their duty.


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24 mars 2014 1 24 /03 /mars /2014 12:20
A new ‘special relationship’ between Washington and Paris: undermining or underpinning the CSDP?

Image credit: Official White House Photo / Pete Souza.


23rd March 2014  by Jo Coelmont - europeangeostrategy.org


François Hollande’s recent state visit to Washington featured in-depth discussions on international security and on military cooperation in particular. Is this signalling the emergence of yet another ad hoc framework for initiating future military crisis management operations? Does it suggest a European trend to re-nationalise defence through a series of bilateral ‘special relationships’? Or on the contrary, is it still about ‘Europe as a global actor’, acting in tandem with a strong transatlantic partnership?


From a United States (US) point of view, the answers to these questions are rather straightforward. Washington’s objective is to ensure that Europe (its ‘principal partner’) rapidly evolves from a security consumer into a security provider. This would entail the ability to assume full responsibility for military crisis management without overly depending on US support. In this context, both NATO and the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) do matter to the Americans. And in light of the recent French interventions in Mali and the Central African Republic (CAR) and ongoing diplomatic efforts in the Middle East, Paris still matters as well. This in itself explains the pomp and circumstance displayed in February.


From the French point of view, those same military operations in Africa inspired Paris to refer to the US as an ‘indispensable partner’. But Paris also drew some less enchanting lessons from these operations, in particular about the lack of support from most European Union (EU) member states. Is President Hollande’s initiative to put structured military cooperation on the agenda of his meeting with President Obama to be seen as Paris losing faith in the CSDP and henceforth favouring bilateral relations? Or is it still about finding ways to provide extra credibility to the CSDP in the short run and, in so doing, keeping NATO relevant in the long run? In any case, the future shape of this newfound entente will to a large extent depend on the positions taken by France’s partners in Europe rather than across the pond.


In itself, bilateral military cooperation – even in a transatlantic context – does not harm the CSDP. Quite the opposite is true, for at present European defence writ large is nothing more than a patchwork of military cooperation efforts, some of which are institutionalised, others not. In the EU all of this is deemed to be in line with the praised ‘bottom-up approach’. While this does offer significant potential, it has also become clear that the present patchwork is insufficient. The prerequisite for Europe to solve its most fundamental military problems, notably its ability to address longstanding capability shortfalls and successfully conduct operations, is to have a shared vision on defence in general and on burden sharing in particular.


Fortunately, European leaders have not yet exhausted all their options. At the European Council in December 2013, the traditional bottom-up approach has been complemented with top-down steering by the Heads of State and Government. Common programmes on capability development have been initiated. The Commission is on board. Several processes have been launched on pooling of procurement and convergence of defence planning, even on developing strategies. Crisis management has thus been brought to the political level that is consistent with the magnitude of the problems that need to be resolved. Lessons learned during recent operations have made it clear that durable solutions are only feasible when a clear strategic outcome is identified and underpinned by an even clearer political roadmap. Naturally this assumes the availability of the appropriate civil and military capabilities, and of economic assistance programmes over the longer term. In short, we are entering the early days of a new era in the development of the CSDP. But addressing even the most critical capability shortfalls cannot be done overnight. Given that the next crisis may well pop up tomorrow, an ‘indispensable partner’ across the Atlantic may need to provide interim solutions. That is why Hollande’s state visit to Washington deserves special attention: a potential win-win situation for France, the US, NATO and the CSDP is within reach.


The prerequisites, however, remain the same. As important as it is to seek swift solutions to remedy urgent shortfalls, a common European vision on crisis management operations remains a necessary condition for success. The CSDP is but an instrument. If in practice it boils down to ‘so few will have to do so much in the name of so many’, it is doomed to vanish. Ultimately, the spectre of military irrelevance haunts NATO as well, as Robert Gates already warned in his farewell speech in Brussels. In the direst scenarios, ad hoc coalitions and bilateral special relationships will be the only options, even for France. For Europe as a whole, this also means saying farewell to the much-vaunted comprehensive approach.


Military fragmentation was of course not the object of Franco-American deliberations. But such a future may well materialise malgré Paris et Washington. Up until quite recently, voices in Berlin and other European capitals spoke of responsibility and sharing the burden more equitably. But real life offers a gloomy picture. European countries are once more stumbling from one force generation conference to another to scrape together the resources required for a distinctly unambitious operation in the CAR. In the immediate run-up to the EU-Africa Summit, this cannot help but severely damage the credibility of the CSDP and the Union as such.


We find ourselves halfway between the past European Council on defence and the upcoming NATO ‘Wales Summit’. The Americans display an open-mind about the CSDP-NATO relationship and President Obama is coming to Brussels. In turn, recent events in Ukraine remind all Europeans about the importance of credibility – to have it or not. Europeans may well agree that there is indeed no military solution to Russian tactics in the Eastern neighbourhood. But the hour is getting late and a sense of urgency is justified. Hoping for the best is not a strategy. Arithmetically, international influence gets calculated as a multiplication between different instruments of power. If one variable equals zero, then the result equals zero. In strategic affairs there is therefore no room for part-time credibility.


Jo Coelmont

Brig. Gen. (ret.) Jo Coelmont is an Associate Editor of European Geostrategy. He is also a Senior Associate Fellow for the ‘Europe in the World Programme’ at Egmont – Royal Institute for International Relations in Brussels. Formerly, he was the Belgian Military Representative to the Military Committee of the European Union. He writes here in a personal capacity.

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16 mars 2014 7 16 /03 /mars /2014 12:50
EU Foreign Affairs Council: Background on Ukraine, Syria, and EU-Africa Summit

14/3/2014 EU source: Council Ref: CL14-041EN


Summary: 14 March 2014, Brussels - Background on the European Union Foreign Affairs Council on Monday, 17 March 2014 in Brussels.

The Council, starting at 9.30, will be chaired by Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The Council will kick-off with a debate on the situation in Ukraine and the EU's Eastern Partnership more generally. An exchange of views on Bosnia and Herzegovina will follow.

Ministers will then discuss how best to support on-going efforts in the Middle East peace process. The Council will then address developments related to the crisis in Syria and its regional context. After that, it will turn to the EU-Africa summit, to be held on 2/3 April in Brussels.

Over lunch, ministers will hold a discussion on energy diplomacy, in the presence of Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger.

The High Representative is also expected to shortly de-brief ministers on her recent visit to Iran, at the start of the meeting.

The EU-Uzbekistan Co-operation Council will start at 16.30, chaired by the Greek Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Evangelos Venizelos (TV/photo opportunity at 17.30).

Press conferences:

• after the Foreign Affairs Council (+/- 15.00)

• following the EU-Uzbekistan Co-operation Council (+/- 18.55)

* * *

Press conferences and public events by video streaming: http://video.consilium.europa.eu/

Video coverage in broadcast quality (MPEG4): http://tvnewsroom.consilium.europa.eu

Photographic library on www.consilium.europa.eu/photo for photos in high resolution.

* * *

Ukraine and Eastern Partnership

The Council will take stock of developments in the Ukraine and follow-up on the extraordinary meeting of EU Heads of State and Government on 6 March and on the extraordinary FAC of 3 March. Ministers will discuss an EU response to the developments, ahead of a meeting of the European Council on 20/21 March. Wider issues related to the EU's Eastern Partnership may also be raised during the debate.

At their extraordinary meeting on 6 March, EU Heads of State or Government strongly condemned the violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by the Russian Federation and called for an immediate withdrawal of armed forces to their areas of permanent stationing. They also considered the decision to hold a referendum on the future status of the Crimea contrary to the Ukrainian constitution and therefore illegal.

For the EU, the solution to the crisis in Ukraine must be based on the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. Such a solution should be found through negotiations between Ukraine and the Russia federation, for instance through a so-called "contact group".

At the same time, leaders decided to take action. They suspended bilateral talks with the Russian Federation on visa matters as well as talks on a new EU-Russia agreement. European G8 members and the EU have also suspended their participation in the preparations for the G8 summit in June in Sotchi.

Moreover, in the absence of talks between the governments of Ukraine and Russia and if they do not produce results in a limited timeframe, the EU will decide on additional measures, leaders stated. Preparatory work on such measures has been on-going.

Leaders also agreed that further steps by Russia to destabilise the situation in Ukraine would lead to additional and far reaching consequences for relations between the EU (and its member states) and the Russian Federation in a broad range of economic areas.

Heads of State and Government welcomed a package of support measures presented by the Commission last week, including overall support of at least € 11 billion over the coming years from the EU budget and EU-based international financial institutions. It also comprises the granting of autonomous trade preferences to Ukraine so as to advance the application of certain provisions of the Association Agreement on a deep and comprehensive free trade area.

Leaders in addition decided to sign very shortly the political chapters of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement while reiterating their commitment to sign the full agreement including the deep and comprehensive free trade area. See statement by the Heads of State or Government and factsheet on EU-Ukraine relations.

The Association Agreements with Moldova and Georgia were initialled at the Vilnius Eastern Partnership summit in November 2013. Their signature is to take place as soon as possible and before the end of August 2014. See European Council conclusions of December 2013 (para 47).

The EU's Eastern Partnership was launched at the Prague summit in May 2009. It concerns six Eastern partner countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. Its objectives include accelerating political association and deepening economic integration with the Eastern European partner countries. The EU supports reforms in the partner countries aimed at consolidating democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and an open market economy. At the same time, it offers gradual integration into the European economy, greater mobility for citizens and closer political ties. Between 2010 and 2013, EUR 1.9 billion were allocated to support its implementation.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Council will discuss the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The High Representative will brief ministers about her recent trip to Sarajevo where she discussed the situation with politicians and members of civil society. See her statement at the conclusion of the trip.

In October 2013, the Council expressed its serious concern at the on-going failure of the Bosnia and Herzegovina political leaders to implement the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in the Sejdić/Finci case and stressed that the current lack of a solution is preventing Bosnia and Herzegovina from further progress towards the EU. It also reiterated its unequivocal support for Bosnia and Herzegovina's EU perspective as a sovereign and united country  enjoying full territorial integrity. See Council conclusions.

Middle East peace process

The Council will discuss the Middle East peace process. The High Representative will brief ministers on what the EU can do to support the talks.

The EU fully supports the on-going efforts of the parties and of the US. In December 2013, the Council reiterated the EU's readiness to contribute substantially to post-conflict arrangements for ensuring the sustainability of a peace agreement. "The EU will provide an unprecedented package of European political, economic and security support to both parties in the context of a final status agreement," the Council said in conclusions. The on-going work to define the  details of the EU's offer will be the subject of the debate by ministers. See Council conclusions of 16 December 2013.

Syrian conflict and regional context

The Council will consider the latest developments in the Syrian conflict, in particular the humanitarian situation following the adoption of a UN Security Council resolution on the humanitarian situation on 22 February, the growing terrorist threat and the state of play in diplomatic efforts to bring an end to the crisis.

For the EU, the only solution to the conflict is a genuine political transition, based on the full implementation of the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012, and preserving the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Syria.

The EU and its member states have been quick to support the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons. The EU is the largest financial contributor to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and supports its work towards the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons stockpile, including through the provision of armoured vehicles and satellite imagery.

Individual member states have also provided resources to assist the destruction programme. The EU and its member states are the largest humanitarian donor for the Syrian crisis. The total response from EU and member states to the crisis stands now at € 2.6 billion.

For more details on EU positions and restrictive measures, see factsheet European Union and Syria.

EU-Africa summit

The Council will be briefed about preparations for the 4th EU-Africa summit, which is to take place in Brussels on the 2-3 April under the theme "Investing in people, prosperity and peace". The European Council of 20/21 March will also discuss the summit preparations.

The EU-Africa summit will bring together the Heads of State and Government of the European Union and the African continent, together with the EU and African Union institutions. It will illustrate how EU-Africa relations have evolved over the past years, based on the Joint Africa-EU Strategy of 2007, which established a partnership of equals going beyond development to tackle challenges of common interest, including political, economic, investment and trade issues.

Leaders will discuss ways to deepen co-operation under the three areas identified in the summit theme, i.e. people, prosperity and peace. They will also address investment, climate change, prosperity, and ways for stimulating growth and create jobs, and will take stock of ongoing and future cooperation in the various fields covered by the Joint Africa-EU Strategy. The issue of migration as well as peace and security cooperation will also be on the agenda.

For more information, see the website of the EU-Africa summit.

Energy diplomacy

Over lunch, ministers will exchange views on EU energy diplomacy, in the presence of Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger. Ministers are set to discuss the foreign policy implications of strategic choices made in the field of energy by relevant partners.

The shift in the global energy landscape creates new challenges and opportunities for EU foreign and security policy. The shale gas revolution in the US, the growing demand for energy in India due to its increasing population and the rise of gas as a source in China might have far-reaching political and economic consequences.

The debate follows previous exchanges among EU leaders and ministers about the external dimension of EU energy policy. The European Council of February 2011 asked the High Representative to take full account of the energy security dimension in her work and to reflect energy security in the EU's neighbourhood policy.

Other items

The Council is set to adopt several other items without discussion, including:

- European aid volunteers initiative

The Council is set to establish a European voluntary humanitarian aid corps which sets out a framework for joint contributions from European volunteers to support and complement humanitarian aid operations worldwide, as provided for in the Lisbon Treaty. See also legal text.

- Gulf of Guinea

The Council is due to adopt an EU strategy on the Gulf of Guinea, to support the efforts of the region and its coastal states to address the many challenges of maritime insecurity and organised crime. EU action will focus on four objectives: building a common understanding of the scale of the threat in the Gulf of Guinea and the need to address it; helping regional governments put in place institutions and capabilities to ensure security and the rule of law; supporting the development of prosperous economies in the coastal countries; strengthening cooperation structures between the countries of the region to ensure effective action across borders at sea and on land. The Council is to invite the EEAS and the Commission to put forward the actions necessary to deliver the strategy and report back annually on progress made.

- EU strategy for security and development in the Sahel

The Council is to adopt conclusions on the implementation of the EU strategy for security and development in the Sahel. The Council is set to welcome the progress made in implementing the strategy that it adopted in March 2011 and reaffirm the EU's objectives in the fields of security, development, peace-building, conflict prevention and countering violent extremism. It will invite the Commission and the EEAS to extend the implementation of the strategy to Burkina Faso and Chad while intensifying activities in Mali, Mauretania and Niger.

- EUCAP Mali

The Council is likely to adopt a crisis management concept for a civilian mission under the Common Security and Defence Policy to assist the internal security forces in Mali (EUCAP Mali) so as to enable the Malian state to ensure law and order as well as fight against terrorists, organised crime and cross-border trafficking. Once established, EUCAP Mali would deliver strategic advice and training for managers of the three internal security forces in Mali, i.e. the police, Gendarmerie and Garde nationale. A separate legal act - currently under preparation - is required for the mission to be formally set up.

- West Africa EPA development programme

The Council is set to adopt conclusions on West Africa's Economic Partnership Agreement development programme (PAPED). In the period from 2015 to 2020, the EU is committed to provide at least € 6.5 billion for activities linked to the PAPED. This is to be delivered through the European Development Fund, relevant instruments of the EU budget, contributions from member states and the European Investment Bank. See draft Council conclusions.

- South Sudan

The Council is to adopt conclusions on South Sudan, expressing its deep concern about the ongoing crisis in South Sudan, the grave human suffering it causes and its regional implications. It will call on all parties to immediately stop the violence and honour the Cessation of Hostilities agreement signed on 23 January. The EU firmly supports the mediation led by the Inter- Governmental Authority for Development.

- Central African Republic

The Council is due to adopt conclusions on the Central African Republic, encouraging the current authorities to continue the political transition. The EU is the main humanitarian and development partner of the Central African Republic. For more information, see fact sheet.


* This note has been drawn up under the responsibility of the press office

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12 mars 2014 3 12 /03 /mars /2014 16:50
Général Henri Bentégeat : "L'Europe de la défense bien insuffisante mais indispensable"


11.03.2014 par Henri Weill - Ainsi va le monde !

Mali, Centrafrique, l'Europe combien de divisions ? Vladimir Poutine encourt-il aujourd'hui, une réaction politique coordonnée des Européens sur le dossier ukrainien ? Des Européens qui ont du mal à se mettre d'accord compte-tenu des intérêts économiques de certains d'entre eux en Russie.Quant à la menace militaire de l'UE, elle n'existe pas. 
Voilà les questions dictées par l'actualité. Interrogation de fond, interrogation récurrente, pourquoi une Europe de la défense est-elle si difficile à mettre en place ? 
Voici des éléments de réponse fournis, dans cette interview à Ainsi va le monde, par le général Henri Bentégeat qui fut chef d'état-major particulier du président de la République (1999-2002), chef d'état-major des armées (2002-2006) puis jusqu'en 2009, président du Comité militaire de l'Union européenne.

Q- Parler de l’Europe de la défense, est-ce évoquer un « sujet maudit » ?
H. Bentégeat- L'Europe de la défense est, en effet, un sujet maudit en ce sens qu'il n'est jamais abordé sereinement sans préjugés et sans anathèmes. La vérité est que très peu de ceux qui s'expriment savent ce dont ils parlent. On additionne les désaccords politiques ou industriels des Européens, on assimile les moyens aux buts, on constate que la France fait cavalier seul et on en conclut que l'Europe de la défense n'existe pas. On ignore ou on oublie que l'Union européenne a conduit six opérations militaires en dix ans et lancé plus de vingt missions civilo-militaires.

Q- L’UE est-elle dans un état de léthargie stratégique ?
HB- Hubert Védrine a évoqué, en effet "la léthargie stratégique" dont souffrirait l'Europe. Comment lui donner tort quand on constate que la plupart de nos partenaires ne se sentent même plus les garants de leur propre sécurité dont ils ont abandonné la responsabilité à l'OTAN, en fait aux Etats-Unis. Seuls le Royaume-Uni et la France, membres permanents du Conseil de sécurité des Nations-Unies, ont une vision stratégique et la volonté de s'impliquer dans les affaires du monde. L'Allemagne y vient tout doucement, par l'angle économique surtout.

Q- Notre bouclier : l’OTAN, l’Union européenne. Vous utilisez à ce propos une formule bien ciselée : « Agir dans le cadre de l’OTAN, c’est nécessaire mais insuffisant. Agir dans le cadre de l’UE c’est insuffisant mais indispensable… ». Comment gommer les insuffisances au temps des budgets en diminution et des compromis extrêmement difficiles à trouver ?
HB- Oui, l'OTAN est nécessaire à la défense et à la sécurité de l'Europe, mais elle n'est pas suffisante. Et l'Europe de la défense est bien insuffisante mais elle est indispensable pour garantir nos intérêts spécifiques, parce qu'elle seule a les moyens de traiter globalement les crises. Ses insuffisances sont politiques (divergences de vues sur L'Afrique ou les marches orientales du continent) ou militaires (capacités individuelles ou collectives). Comment trouver les compromis politiques et limiter les conséquences de la baisse continue des budgets militaires?  Impossible à 28. Il faut donc cultiver un noyau dur de nations désireuses d'aller plus loin. Le triangle de Weimar, France, Allemagne, Pologne, est le plus prometteur...

Suite de l'entretien

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12 mars 2014 3 12 /03 /mars /2014 08:50
EDA Annual Conference Update: Roundtables on Capabilities & Defence Industry


Brussels - 11 March, 2014 European Defence Agency


Less than three weeks before the Agency’s Annual Conference “European Defence Matters”, high-level speakers have confirmed their attendance at the two prestigious roundtables on defence capabilities and the state of research & innovation in the European defence sector.


Speakers at the first roundtable will discuss ways for Europe to provide for future defence capabilities. The Agency is delighted to welcome Ine Eriksen Søreide, Norwegian Minister of Defence, Norway, General Patrick de Rousiers, Chairman of the EU Military Committee, General Sverker Göranson, Swedish Chief of Defence, Tim Rowntree, Director of OCCAR and Alexander Vershbow, NATO Deputy Secretary General to the discussion.

Investment in research is an investment in the future. The decline in defence budgets however often does not leave much room for maneuver. In the second high-level roundtable, policy and industry leaders will be discussing the state of the European defence industry and prospects for the future.

Confirmed speakers are: Michael Gahler, Member of the European Parliament, Committee on Foreign Affairs & Subcommittee on Security and Defence; Hakan Buskhe, President and Chief Executive Officer of SAAB; Bernhard Gerwert, Chief Executive Officer of Airbus Defence & Space; Holger Becker, Chief Executive Officer of Microfluidic ChipShop  and Jenny Body, President of the Royal Aeronautical Society



On 27 March 2014, around 400 European defence stakeholders are expected to attend the EDA Annual Conference. Major figures in defence cooperation as well as leaders from the military, politics and industry will engage in highly interactive panel debates and keynote speeches with plenty of opportunities for the audience to contribute to the discussion.

The conference will be opened by Claude-France Arnould, Chief Executive of EDA followed by keynote speeches by Catherine Ashton, Head of the Agency, and Dimitris Avramopoulos, Greek Minister of Defence.

This year’s main panels are entitled: “European Defence Capabilities: Pool it or Lose it?” and “Securing the future: Research & innovation at the point of no return?” A free debate on the role of EDA in the fabric of European defence cooperation including Pieter de Crem, Belgian Vice-Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, as well as focus sessions on EDA’s cooperative projects and programmes complement the agenda.


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Access to the conference is upon invitation only. If you want to stay up-to-date with the discussions, follow us on twitter (@EUDefenceAgency) #defencematters.

For more information about the EDA’s 2014 Annual Conference, visit the dedicated webpage.


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10 mars 2014 1 10 /03 /mars /2014 12:50
Il faut une défense européenne

10.03.2014 Jean-Marie Colombani - directmatin.fr


Deux événements devraient nous convaincre de l’absolue nécessité de doter l’Union européenne d’une défense digne de ce nom et de mettre un terme à la baisse régulière des crédits alloués à l’effort de défense. Il s’agit bien sûr de la crise ukrainienne mais aussi de la politique de Pékin telle qu’elle vient d’être exposée devant les représentants du peuple chinois.

La situation en Ukraine découle des ambitions de Vladimir Poutine. Se déroule sous nous yeux un scénario analogue à celui de 2008 qui avait vu la Russie, au nom de la préservation des intérêts de communautés russophones, s’emparer de deux régions de Géorgie. De la même façon, Poutine vient de pratiquement annexer la Crimée.

Il ne s’agit pas ici de dire qu’il faudrait défendre par les armes l’intégrité de l’Ukraine. L’arsenal de la diplomatie et surtout des sanctions économiques, la mise en avant des intérêts bien compris des Européens et des Russes peuvent encore être efficaces. Il s’agit plutôt de s’interroger : s’il prenait à Vladimir Poutine l’envie d’aller plus loin (par exemple en direction des Etats baltes), aurions-nous les moyens de défendre le territoire de l’Union européenne ? La Russie, dont l’économie peut à court terme devenir chancelante et que nous avons sans doute les moyens d’affaiblir, est menacée de déclin par l’effondrement de sa démographie. Elle cherche, par la militarisation et le retour à une ambition impériale, à compenser ces faiblesses.

A Pékin, l’objectif officiel est d’accroître le poids de la Chine dans le monde. Pour ce faire, les dirigeants chinois prévoient d’affecter chaque année 12 % supplémentaires à leur effort militaire. On dira : ce réarmement laisse tout de même la Chine loin derrière les Etats-Unis. Mais elle possède déjà la première armée du monde par le nombre avec 2 millions de soldats et entend égaler la puissance militaire américaine au milieu du siècle. Dans le même temps, inquiet, le Japon accroît significativement son budget de la défense.

Danger objectif ici, remilitarisation là : et pendant ce temps, nous, Européens, continuons de désarmer. Chacun pour soi sans rien entreprendre de significatif sur le plan collectif.



Suite de la tribune


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10 mars 2014 1 10 /03 /mars /2014 12:50
Ukraine: "Si l'UE veut peser, il faut une réelle défense européenne"


9 mars 2014    Ju. Vl – RTBF.be


    Alors que la crise ukrainienne bat son plein, Didier Reynders (MR), ministre des Affaires étrangères, et Isabelle Durant (Ecolo), vice-Présidente du Parlement européen, ont débattu de la réaction à adopter vis-à-vis de la Russie et des nouvelles autorités ukrainiennes.


    Les Russes ont récemment déclaré être prêts à entamer un "dialogue d’égal à égal" avec les "partenaires internationaux" sur le dossier ukrainien. Une porte ouverte au dialogue qui ne change pas le fait que l’heure soit plutôt à l’escalade qu’au refroidissement entre occidentaux et Russes sur ce dossier.


    "Cette escalade, c’est une phase qui vise à renouer le dialogue", a cependant tempéré Didier Reynders sur le plateau de Mise au Point ce dimanche.


    Le ministre fédéral, invite également l’Europe à renforcer ses capacités à peser dans le concert international. "Si l’Europe veut pouvoir peser sur les discussions à venir, elle doit renforcer à la fois sa capacité à développer une politique étrangère", a déclaré l’élu libéral.


    La question de la défense européenne relancée


    L’UE se doit également de dialoguer avec la Russie afin de trouver un modus vivendi, estime Didier Reynders. Pour cela, le dossier ukrainien constitue un test important. "Dans les prochains mois et les prochaines années pour l’UE -ce n’est pas seulement de créer sa défense et une politique étrangère plus intégrée-, c’est le débat avec ses partenaires. Et la Russie doit être un partenaire. On ne peut pas se dire qu’on va gérer l’Europe avec quelqu’un à l’est avec qui on ne veut pas parler. Et ce dialogue il devra passer par une solution acceptable pour tous les Ukrainiens".


    Isabelle Durant s’inscrit dans le même constat. "Il faut arriver à une défense commune à l’échelle de l’UE et à une politique étrangère plus unie. Nos réactions individuelles n’ont aucun sens, nous ne pèserons que si nous réagissons ensemble", a déclaré l’eurodéputée.


    Cette dernière estime qu’il est indispensable que l’Europe s’engage dans le dossier ukrainien, détourner le regard n’est pas une option. "Parfois on a le sentiment que l’Ukraine c’est loin, qu’on se demande ce que l’on va faire là-bas et pourquoi on irait leur prêter de l’argent alors qu’on a déjà du mal avec notre économie?", déplore-t-elle. Or, selon l’ancienne ministre, "ce qui se passe en Ukraine, ce nécessaire dialogue avec la Russie, c’est la garantie de notre sécurité et d’un monde plus juste. Quand les Ukrainiens se tournent vers nous pour une question de droits de l’homme, on en peut pas leur répondre que les droits de l’homme ce n’est bon que pour nous".


    Didier Reynders enfonce le clou de la nécessité de mettre sur pied une réelle Défense européenne. "Comment fait-on pour, au départ de l’UE, s’exprimer fortement par rapport aux grands acteurs mondiaux: Chine, Etats-Unis, Russie? Cela nécessite une politique étrangère forte mais aussi une Défense. Or, je crains fort qu'aujourd'hui en Europe, beaucoup dans les jeunes générations ont le sentiment que 'finalement une défense cela sert à quoi quand on vit en paix depuis si longtemps' ", .


    Mais ce qui se passe à nos frontières immédiates peut peut-être faire changer un peu la réflexion. Une défense européenne, cela ne veut pas dire dépenser plus, cela peut peut-être même vouloir dire dépenser moins mais ensemble avec un objectif commun. Cela signifie surtout avoir une capacité de discussion d’égal à égal avec les autres grandes puissances.

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7 mars 2014 5 07 /03 /mars /2014 13:50
CSDP: getting third states on board

Briefs - No6 - 07 March 2014 Thierry Tardy


The November 2013 Foreign Affairs Council welcomed the ‘valuable contributions and political support of partner countries to CSDP missions and operations’. A few weeks later, a Ukrainian frigate began to patrol within EUNAVFOR Atalanta, and Georgia committed approximately 140 personnel to the recently-established EU operation in the Central African Republic (CAR). In Bosnia, Turkey has long been a major contributor to EUFOR Althea, while countries like Norway or Canada regularly provide civilian personnel to CSDP missions. These countries have all signed a Framework Participation Agreement (FPA) with the EU, which provides the legal and political basis for such cooperation.

To date, this type of partnership remains limited in scope and has thus been given little visibility. Moreover, whilst the contributions of partner countries may provide targeted responses to EU shortfalls, they can also be problematic for a variety of reasons. Yet third party involvement in CSDP missions can be seen as a means to bolster the overall legitimacy of the EU’s international security role and should be understood in the context of a broader CFSP agenda.


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4 mars 2014 2 04 /03 /mars /2014 15:50
L’Europe de la Défense : Quelle réalité ? Quelles limites ? Quelles urgences ?

source centresevres.com


« Les enjeux de Défense dans le monde contemporain »


Sous la direction du P. François Boëdec et de M. Louis-Marie Clouet


Samedi 8 mars 2014 de 10h à 12h


Avec :


- le Général Jean-Louis GEORGELIN, ancien chef d’état-major des armées, grand chancelier de la Légion d’honneur.




- Mme Nicole GNESOTTO, professeur titulaire de la chaire sur l'Union européenne au Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM), ancienne directrice de l'Institut d’études de sécurité de l’Union européenne.


Les évolutions géopolitiques du monde contemporain mettent en lumière de nouveaux enjeux de sécurité et de défense pour les nations et les populations. Des questions anciennes se posent différemment, de nouvelles questions apparaissent. Elles obligent les responsables politiques et militaires à réfléchir aux ajustements nécessaires dans les systèmes de défense, et à anticiper l’avenir.

Dans une période de récession économique et de cohésion sociale fragilisée, comment faire face aux enjeux importants de sécurité ?


Ce cycle de cinq matinées, le samedi matin, de 10h à 12h avec des spécialistes (experts en géopolitique, militaires, journalistes…), permettra un tour d’horizon précis des questions de défense aujourd’hui.


Tarifs :

15 € la matinée

50 € les 5 conférences

Il est possible de ne venir qu’à une seule conférence-débat.


plus d'informations

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4 mars 2014 2 04 /03 /mars /2014 12:50
Calendrier des think tanks à Bruxelles Mise à jour : Lundi 3 Mars2014

Mise à jour par la Représentation permanente de la France auprès de l’UE

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22 février 2014 6 22 /02 /février /2014 21:50
Speech: Tim Rowntree, OCCAR Director, UK Defence Forum on 5 February 2014


February, 2014  OCCAR


OCCAR Director Tim Rowntree was invited by UK Defence Forum, a high level non-partisan, non-profit organisation informing the UK Defence Policy debate, to join their recent meeting in London and speak to them. His speech was accompanied by a speech of Mrs Claude-France Arnould, the Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency (EDA).

Mr Rowntree addressed four main topics. He firstly introduced OCCAR in general as a modern programme management organisation which was created with a strong vision to improve armaments cooperation in Europe.

Secondly, Mr Rowntree elaborated on the urgency to seek new opportunities to cooperate. Future capabilities and the respective modern European equipment will only be made available when the upfront technological investment is done in cooperation. And European industry will only be able to obtain its competencies and deliver world class capabilities if they are stimulated and challenged by some bigger armament programmes. Important cost savings for the European states can be achieved by cooperation, especially if also a common In-Service Support is implemented.

As a third point Mr Rowntree emphasised the need to avoid national variants of defence equipment. In fact most of the national variants still address the same requirement but strongly increase the cost of the programme. It thus requires strong top-down leadership to challenge evolving considerations of national variants and to ensure interoperability and cost savings to the maximum extent.

Finally he tackled the question whether armaments cooperation can really work effectively. Key to effective cooperation is certainly a proper cooperation model which avoids unnecessary programme interruptions, costly work share requirements, duplication of programme management work and unclear management processes. Recent examples like the A400M programme have shown that if these factors are avoided a world class capability can be successfully delivered in a cost effective manner.
European states need to keep in mind what they can achieve when they work together and that they now need to act with confidence and vision in order to shape major future armament programmes to be delivered at the time needed.

A lively questions and answers session followed the speeches and closed the event.

The full speech can be viewed below: Speech Defence Forum (150kB)



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17 février 2014 1 17 /02 /février /2014 17:50
EUMC follow-up of the European Council on Defence - SEDE


17-02-2014 SEDE


On 12 February the Subcommittee exchanged views with General Patrick de Rousiers, Chairman of the EU Military Committee, on the follow-up to the December 2013 European Council on Defence.

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15 février 2014 6 15 /02 /février /2014 12:50
National Breakdown of Defence Data 2012


Brussels - 13 February, 2014 European Defence Agency


The European Defence Agency (EDA) has just published the National Breakdown of Defence Data for 2012. These are official statistics on the main defence expenditure components for each of the EDA participating Member States (all EU Member States except Denmark and Croatia which joined in July 2013):


  • Macro-economic data to show the total defence expenditure and how defence budgets relate to GDP, overall government spending and population.

  • Major categories of defence budget spending – personnel; investment (equipment procurement and research & development (including research & technology); infrastructure/construction; operations & maintenance – to show how defence budgets are spent.

  • European collaboration for equipment procurement and R&T to show the extent to which the Agency’s participating Member States are investing together.

  • Data on personnel in the European armed forces: number of military and civilian personnel; internal security military personnel.

  • Deployability: military deployed in crisis management operations to show the ratio between deployments and the total number of military. 

The figures published here below are official figures based on data provided directly by the main spending authorities, the Ministries of Defence.


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14 février 2014 5 14 /02 /février /2014 18:50
Défense européenne: ne tirez pas sur les pianistes !


18/12/2013 Jean-Dominique Giuliani, Président de la Fondation Robert Schuman


Les questions de défense sont suffisamment essentielles pour être laissées à l'écart des polémiques. La réunion d'un Conseil européen qui leur sera spécialement consacré doit donc être regardé avec objectivité et réalisme comme une bonne nouvelle.

Dans ce domaine, en effet, les certitudes sont connues depuis longtemps:

Les Européens ne partagent pas tous la même vision du monde ni la même conception de l'usage de la force dans les relations internationales. Les industries de défense ne sauraient être organisées comme le marché des petits pois et selon les mêmes principes de concurrence et d'ouverture. Elles n'ont que des clients étatiques. La souveraineté en la matière ne peut être partagée qu'avec l'assurance d'une défense plus forte et surtout politiquement assumée par des pouvoirs légitimes et démocratiquement désignés. Ce ne sont donc pas les traditionnelles institutions communautaires qui doivent la réguler. Seule une coopération volontaire des Etats peut y réussir. Mais elles peuvent les y aider. Pendant que le monde réarme, l'Europe désarme bien que ses dépenses de défense cumulées occupent encore le deuxième rang mondial. N'ayant pas d'ennemi déclaré, elle pense ne jamais plus en avoir, ce qui n'est pas vraiment conforme aux enseignements de l'histoire.
Ces constats doivent nous conduire à apprécier la réunion des chefs d'Etat et de gouvernement sur la défense pour ce qu'elle est: une avancée significative.

Les services de Mme Ashton, l'Agence européenne de défense, les ministres, ont bien travaillé. Ils font des propositions concrètes qui devraient permettre de mutualiser certains moyens militaires sans porter atteinte à la capacité d'agir des Etats, mobiliser les crédits de recherche européens au profit de la sécurité européenne, lancer quelques innovations.

Manquent bien sûr à ces projets de vrais programmes d'équipements, financés dans le long terme et soutenant les technologies européennes, trop souvent initiées et supportés en Europe par les seuls acteurs économiques. On attend aussi une véritable stratégie européenne renouvelée et l'urgence en sera partagée au Sommet à propos de la sécurité maritime. 90% du commerce européen, le 1er dans le monde, passe par la mer. L'essentiel de nos ressources énergétiques et minérales du futur y dorment encore inexploitées. Il est temps d'en assurer la sécurité, le libre accès et pas seulement au plus près de nos côtes. Une stratégie maritime européenne ambitieuse est attendue pour le mois d'avril 20014. Elle est urgente.

Enfin sera évidemment évoquée l'actualité. L'Europe est interpellée par le monde: Syrie, Iran, Afrique, Ukraine, Russie.

A cet égard, deux pays se distinguent particulièrement.

Des soldats français sont engagés en Afrique et la France peine à faire partager l'urgente nécessité d'être présents là où nos intérêts et nos principes sont en cause.  La France porte un message que l'Europe ne peut ignorer et elle doit elle-même redoubler d'efforts  pour mieux le faire partager par ses partenaires.

Enfin, le Royaume-Uni s'oppose à toute avancée européenne en la matière et préfère les accords bilatéraux, ce que la France a intelligemment exploité, ou l'OTAN, confrontée au "pivot asiatique" de l'Amérique et peu utile envers l'Afrique ou d'autres causes lointaines.

On attend du Conseil européen quelques décisions modestes et pragmatiques. Mais réunir les chefs d'Etat et de gouvernement pour évoquer ces grandes questions d'intérêt majeur est déjà un événement. La seule chose qu'on puisse regretter est qu'ils ne le fassent pas plus souvent!

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14 février 2014 5 14 /02 /février /2014 13:50
European Council 19-20 December 2013

14 févr. 2014  European Defence Agency


Key defence statements made during the European Council of December 2013.

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13 février 2014 4 13 /02 /février /2014 21:50
MEPs Discuss EDA’s Role in Implementing European Council Conclusions


Brussels - 12 February, 2014 European Defence Agency


Claude-France Arnould, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency, today exchanged views with the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Security and Defence (SEDE). Detailing EDA’s role in implementing the European Council Conclusions, Madame Arnould highlighted that the outcome of the discussions by Heads of State and Government was a positive signal for European defence.


In her introduction, Madame Arnould highlighted the concrete taskings stemming from the European Council, especially regarding the four capability programmes on Air-to-Air Refuelling, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, satellite communications and cyber defence, and the incentives for more cooperation She also underlined that the European Defence Agency would continue working  in close cooperation with the European External Action Service, the European Commission and the European Parliament. Madame Arnould stressed the need for synergies in the field of dual-use research, also for the benefit of the European defence industry.


The subcommittee’s chairman Arnaud Danjean strongly welcomed the role of EDA and the importance of a continuous dialogue with SEDE, as practiced over the past years. MEPs posed many questions, with a particular interest in the capability programme on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems and the state of Pooling & Sharing.


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5 février 2014 3 05 /02 /février /2014 18:50
EDA Multinational Exercises in 2014


Brussels - 04 February, 2014 European Defence Agency


Multinational training exercises increase interoperability among participating Member States; they are an efficient way to prepare armed forces for CSDP operations. This year, the European Defence Agency is organising in close cooperation with the respective host nations, contributing Member States and Air Transport Organisations four training exercises in the areas of Air-to-Air Refuelling, transport aircraft and helicopters.


First European Air Refuelling Training

While the fighter community has trained to operate together for years, the same cannot be said for Air-to-Air Refuelling. From 31 March to 11 April 2014, EDA together with the European Air Transport Command and the Netherlands are organising the first multinational Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) training opportunity in support of the Dutch Frisian Flag exercise. To this date, the Netherlands (KDC-10), Germany (A310) and Italy (KC-767) have confirmed to send their tankers to the flying event which will be an excellent opportunity to train dedicated AAR scenarios embedded in a highly recognised fighter exercise. The Air-to-Air Refuelling  planning cell will be split between Eindhoven and Leeuwarden air base to foster overall air refuelling planning and tanker operations.


Third European Air Transport Training

Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway will participate in the third edition of EDA’s European Air Transport Training flying event with ten transport aircraft of four different types; Greece will  support the training with fighters and AWACS. Taking place from 16 to 27 June 2014 at the International Airport in Plovdiv in Bulgaria, the training offers participants a unique opportunity to plan and execute missions within a multinational framework and achieve flexible training objectives. The crews will be trained in a variety of airlift disciplines. The aim is to increase interoperability, to consolidate existing qualifications or to regain them in a short period of time and with dedicated assets.


European Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Course

The new European Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Course (EAATTC) aims at achieving a higher level of interoperability between airlift crews from different nations; at increasing harmonisation of advanced tactical training that will lead to higher effectiveness and survivability in operations; at sharing knowledge and providing cost efficient airlift training in Europe. Based on an agreed syllabus Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway will participate in the first course with eight aircraft of five different types. The flying event will be hosted by Spain at Zaragoza airbase from 22 September to 03 October 2014. This permanent training event is developed in close cooperation with the European Air Transport Command and EDA Member States; it is similar in set-up to the advanced airlift tactics training course that has been offered in the US since 1987.


Hot Blade 2014

Between 16 and 30 July, the Ovar Air Base in northern Portugal will host the third sequel of the successful series of Hot Blade exercises, powered by the Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP). Currently, some 30 helicopters, four fast jets, three transport aircraft and one Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance platform have been committed by Austria, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and United Kingdom. Additional to Portuguese ground forces, 450 ground troops from the Netherlands, Germany and the United Kingdom are scheduled to participate as well allowing for a more integrated mission planning and execution. So far, roughly 50% of participant to one of the previous helicopter exercises organised in France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Belgium have later been deployed to operations. 


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5 février 2014 3 05 /02 /février /2014 18:50
L’Europe de la défense, éternelle pomme de la discorde entre la France et le Royaume-Uni


31.01.2014 by Hajnalka Vincze


Au sommet franco-britannique de vendredi, en plein milieu des annonces concernant la coopération militaire bilatérale, le président Hollande a frôlé le crime de lèse-majesté, en osant prétendre que « Le drone de combat préfigure ce que pourrait être une Europe de la défense ». Pour les Britanniques, coopérer, pourquoi pas, mais n'évoquons surtout pas l'Europe, et en particulier pas en l'associant aux questions de défense.


Crédit: UK Ministry of Defence

Ils ne voient que deux usages possibles, de préférence simultanément, à cette prétendue Europe de la défense. D’une part comme agence civilo-humanitaire de l’OTAN. De l’autre, en tant que courroie de transmission des injonctions US en vue d’améliorer les capacités militaires des supplétifs européens de l’Amérique. Le reste sont des chimères dangereuses, à éliminer au plus vite.


Afin de bien illustrer l’incompatibilité persistante des deux visions, française et britannique, rappelons juste le compte rendu fait par les deux ministres délégués aux affaires européennes sur le déroulement du sommet « défense » de décembre dernier.


Pour le Français Thierry Repentin, « le premier ministre britannique a abordé le sommet en cherchant à introduire différents amendements visant à affirmer une priorité à l’OTAN, à subordonner la politique de défense et de sécurité commune à l’action de celle-ci », mais « nous avons quant à nous refusé le langage inféodant la PSDC à l’OTAN ».  


Dans le même temps, son homologue britannique rassure les parlementaires de Sa Majesté que, dans les conclusions du sommet, « nous avons un langage qui marque clairement la primauté de l’OTAN dans la défense européenne ». C’est là tout le charme de l’entente cordiale entre les deux rives de La Manche.


NB : Les références à l’OTAN sont en effet omniprésentes dans les conclusions du dernier Conseil européen. Si, pour la plupart, elles reprennent les expressions alambiquées qui avaient déjà été employées ici ou là dans les textes officiels depuis un bon moment, il n’en reste pas moins que leur nombre et leur visibilité ont remarquablement augmenté par rapport au projet de texte mis au point trois jours auparavant.


Ainsi, dans la version définitive :

« La PSDC continuera à se développer en pleine complémentarité avec l'OTAN dans le cadre agréé du partenariat stratégique entre l'UE et l'OTAN et dans le respect de leur autonomie de décision et de leurs procédures respectives. » (absent du projet de texte)

« Pour que l'UE et ses États membres puissent faire face [aux nouveaux défis en matière de sécurité], en concordance avec les efforts de l'OTAN ». (absent du projet de texte)

« utiliser plus efficacement les ressources disponibles et de garantir l'interopérabilité, y compris avec les principales organisations partenaires telles que l'OTAN ».

« … présenter d'ici la fin de 2014 un cadre d'action approprié, en parfaite cohérence avec les processus de planification existants de l'OTAN » (au sujet de la planification de la défense)

« l'élaboration de normes industrielles dans le domaine de la défense, sans double emploi avec les normes existantes, en particulier les normes de l'OTAN ». (absent du projet de texte…)



(Une analyse détaillée suivra prochainement, dans un papier sur la PSDC post-sommet “Défense”)

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5 février 2014 3 05 /02 /février /2014 17:50
EDA’s role in implementing the European Council Conclusions - SEDE


05.02.2014 SEDE


The Subcommittee will exchange views with Claude-France Arnould, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency, on the EDA’s role in implementing the European Council Conclusions.


When: 12 February 2014


Further information meeting documents

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5 février 2014 3 05 /02 /février /2014 17:50
Exercise “Hot Blade 14” in Extensive Preparation


Ovar, Portugal - 24 January, 2014 European Defence Agency


During the second half of July 2014, the Ovar Air Base in northern Portugal will host the third sequel of the successful series of Hot Blade exercises, powered by the Helicopter Exercise Programme (HEP).


The Main Planning Conference (15-17 January in Ovar) proved an increased interest in participation in Hot Blade 14 by the HEP member states.  A total of 30 helicopters, four fast jets, three transport aircraft and one Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance platform have been committed by Austria, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and United Kingdom. Moreover, beside the participation of Portuguese ground forces, which have supported the  last two Hot Blade exercises, Netherlands, Germany and United Kingdom are intending to send more than 450 troops to be part of the joint missions. Due to such a high number of ground troops participating, an integrated mission planning process will be introduced for the first time to enable seamless coordination and integration of the ground forces into the individual scenarios for the benefit of common exercise success.

As in the last year, the crews will be supervised and supported by the experienced mentors – instructors/graduates from the European Helicopter Tactics Instructor Course, which will be executed in March and May this year for the second time. In total the several hundred sorties and almost 1000 flying hours planned, promise a continuation of the unique multinational helicopter training opportunity provided by the Helicopter Exercise Programme.


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5 février 2014 3 05 /02 /février /2014 17:50
Study - Space, Sovereignty and European Security - Building European Capabilities in an Advanced Institutional Framework


29-01-2014 PE 433.750 - Subcommittee on Security and Defence


The study aims to offer a comprehensive analysis of the role of space-based capabilities in supporting the security and defence policies of the European Union and of its Member States. Moving from the description of the current and future space-based systems developed at the national, intergovernmental and European level, the study tries in first place to point out the contribution of these assets to the security initiatives undertaken in Europe. Second, it describes the roles of the actors and the functioning of the institutional framework through which these capabilities are developed and exploited for Europe's security purposes. Finally, it provides options regarding the development of space capabilities for European security which could be implemented under the current treaties and within the scope of the forthcoming Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) of the Union.

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5 février 2014 3 05 /02 /février /2014 17:50
European Defence Matters - The Role of the European Defence Agency

18 déc. 2013 European Defence Agency

European Defence Agency is the place for defence cooperation enabling EU Member States to strengthen their defence capabilities. Find out more about the work of the Agency in this video.

The EDA was formed in 2004 to build and enhance cooperation between European Member States around a common goal of mutual security. The EU and member states need to be able to protect their citizens and interests locally and globally. The only EU member that does not participate is Denmark, meaning that there are 27 other member nations. It's mission is to improve the effectiveness of defence expenditure.

The European Defence Agency is bringing greater harmonisation into the operations of the European defence industry. Currently each member has rules about the operating standards of equipment and training, but each set of rules is slightly different creating a significant amount of administration. By developing a standard framework for these rules and procedures, EDA is helping to streamline the work of the European defence technological and industrial base and make defence cooperation smoother.

As this harmonisation gathers pace, defense cooperation can become more integrated and able to respond more swiftly to both military and humanitarian situations. There are also great benefits still to be unlocked by working more closely together as defense research projects can be combined with multiple members contributing to different parts of development and innovation. This work also includes the testing of munitions and missiles. In time this will bring Europe much closer to its goal of smart defence.

Greater defence cooperation, regulations, standardisation and certification also requires and enables an increase in defence capabilities and armament cooperation. These matters can help reduce costs for national budgets while simultaneously generating operational improvements. It has also been possible to benefit from access to the European Union's budget by providing funds for greater research and development.

The European Defence Agency also has an Action Plan that will bring about harmonisation in safety features. As with deployment and operating standards, there are also differences between the ways that weapons are stored, stockpiled and transported between EU Member States and eliminating these differences will lead to both safety and cost improvements. It is also believed that these changes will help the European ammunition industry to increase it's competitiveness as it will have less administration to deal with from different member clients.

EDA is also bringing members together to work much more closely towards maritime awareness and having the very best maritime picture. This enables different navies to share the same maritime picture when cooperating on joint missions, such as against piracy or anti drug trafficking operations. This network is called MARSUR and has 15 member states. It is a project for European navies that is built by European navies which enables it to provide the solutions that they want and need.

European Defence Matters - The Role of the European Defence Agency

The current Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency is Claude-France Arnould. By overseeing the organisation and representing it at a political level, she has enabled the Ministries of Defence to come together and share best practices and ideas with their partners and help to develop the institution in the ways that they will benefit the most from. In her words, "Cooperation is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity".

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