The European Union is considering creating a combined military force of up to five thousand soldiers by 2025 to intervene in various crisis situations without relying on the US, the Reuters Agency revealed on Tuesday.
According to a 28-page confidential document of 9 November, the “European Union’s rapid deployment capability” should consist of land, sea and air forces that could be replaced depending on the crisis.
European Union foreign affairs and defense ministers started a debate on the plan on Monday evening in Brussels and continued it on Tuesday. The final document is to be prepared by March next year. The project – as determined by the Reuters Agency – enjoyed the interest of Italy and France. Soon the German side will also comment on the idea.
“The document combines a high level of ambition, but also contains specific operational proposals,” French Defense Minister Florence Parly told reporters. Italian Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini said the EU’s military force would complement NATO and strengthen transatlantic ties.
Attempts to create an EU rapid reaction force
The strategy of the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, is the most concrete effort to create a distinct military force that will not rely on US assets.
“We need faster response and flexibility to take on the full range of tasks related to military crisis management,” argues a project known as the “Strategic Compass”. “We must be able to respond to immediate threats or to react quickly to a crisis situation, for example a rescue and evacuation mission or a stabilization operation in a hostile environment,” he added.
Not all of the European Union’s 27 countries would have to take part in building an EU army, but consensus would be required to approve a military deployment. Borrell would like EU countries to commit to “providing related assets and necessary strategic factors”.
The head of EU diplomacy added that 60 joint EU military projects on weapons and other military capabilities are currently being developed, and 14 more were approved on Tuesday, including “strategic air transport for oversized cargo”.
Main photo source: STEPHANIE LECOCQ / PAP / EPA