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Democrat - March-April 2008 (Number 107)

Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)

Military aspects of the EU

EU Military integration

Military refuelling plane

Britain is to put 10,000 troops into the European Union army - but will not support the plan publicly until the Lisbon Treaty is in force, an assumption that may come unstuck.

According to European Voice (15.02.08), French President Nicolas Sarkozy plans to create an elite defence group of the EU's six biggest member states once the Lisbon Treaty comes into force next year. France is president of the EU Council from July-December 2008 and has made military integration a top priority.

The UK will not support the plan publicly until the new Treaty comes into force, but an EU official told the paper that the UK had pushed for the provision when the Constitution was being drafted.

The possibility of forming a pioneer defence group had been included in the Constitution because "the UK and France wanted it in", an EU official said, adding that Britain saw the initiative as "a way of leveraging extra [military] capabilities" from some member states. The six would provide 10,000 troops for a 60,000 strong intervention force, agree to 'Europeanise' their foreign military bases and launch common major defence infrastructure projects such as space and intelligence technology (including intelligence-gathering satellites) and missile defence.

The plan is to launch the group next year once the Lisbon Treaty has been ratified, using a provision for "permanent structured co-operation" in defence, which was originally contained in the EU Constitution and remains in the Lisbon Treaty.

The question is have either the Prime Minster or Defence Minister told MPs in parliament?


EU military operations HQ in Brussels

During the Anglo-French summit Le Figaro reported that "Nicolas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown relaunch(ed) defence Europe." Britain has always in the past been against the idea of the EU having its own autonomous planning and operational centre outside NATO. However, the paper notes, "The British now seem to be more inclined to accept the idea of giving the EU a new 'operational headquarters' in Brussels."

As well as the EU military HQ, the paper reports that the two men agreed to "cooperate in the strengthening of European military capabilities of both the EU and NATO", on a series of projects including the A400M military transport aircraft and deployment of helicopters. The paper also reports that the pair reached an "agreement of principle" on the modernisation of NATO and the strengthening of EU-NATO cooperation.


New Atlantic Charter for EU-NATO?

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Schaffer called for EU and NATO to have "equal access" to troops. He also said troops which can be requested by NATO should be "equally available" to the EU and efforts should be made to eliminate duplication between the two organisations by pooling capabilities and harmonising training.

Schaffer said "I believe that taking NATO reform seriously means also to look for more synergies with the EU. I would like to see much more pooling of our capabilities, especially in areas such as vital enablers, transport and helicopters, or in research and development, or in harmonising our force structures and training methods. After all we only have one common set of national defence budgets and national military forces."

"So it is absolutely critical that all of the capabilities that we are able to generate from this pool of forces are equally available to both NATO and the EU. If we duplicate, or go off in different directions, we will both fail. That is why our Finance Ministers should want closer NATO-EU cooperation just as much as our Foreign and Defence Ministers. It is why a new Strategic Concept should be unequivocal about the need for more NATO-EU cooperation. And it is why the elaboration of a new Strategic Concept for NATO should take account of the EU's efforts to update its own European Security Strategy - and vice versa." He called for these principles to be written into what he described as a new version of the "Atlantic Charter".

Military ambitions of Germany

The German general Klaus Naumann and other NATO military specialists are appealing for a nuclear first strike policy, should the west's global predominance and its way of living be in jeopardy. The nuclear first strike must be in the "quiver" of every escalation strategy, writes former Inspector General of the Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) Klaus Naumann.

Naumann was temporarily Chief of the Military Policy, Nuclear Strategy and Arms Control Section of the NATO Military Committee. For the past few years, the most decorated German officer has been a member of the board of the arms company "Thales". Naumann is also chairman of the board of a German nuclear decontamination company, "Odenwaldwerke Rittersbach" (OWR AG). The nuclear first strike study was co-authored with another associate of the OWR AG. The German armed forces and the US Army are the principal clients of this allegedly private company, which also employs the Bundeswehr general Klaus Reinhardt.

Military aircraft before hospitals, education and cultural fiacilities

A contradictory position was adopted at the Anglo-Franco summit on 27 March 2008. On defence, Britain and France vowed to support international efforts to control conventional weapons and at the same time cooperate to develop European military capabilities!

Separately, on 23 March, a consortium led by European defence company EADS announced it had won a 27-year, £13billion contract from Britain's Ministry of Defence to provide new tanker aircraft for service in 2011. The deal will create 600 jobs in Britain and safeguard up to 3,000 others—the Government is leasing rather than buying the tankers outright.-just like PFI on the never-never and do not own until worn out!!