World In first review, EU comes clean on military failings

17:05  20 november  2020
17:05  20 november  2020 Source:   reuters.com

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By Robin Emmott

Josep Borrell standing in front of a computer: EU defence ministers discuss first ever military review, possible EU doctrine © Reuters/POOL EU defence ministers discuss first ever military review, possible EU doctrine

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union acknowledged on Friday that it lacks the capabilities to meet its goal - pushed most strongly by its biggest members - to become a standalone military power able to help NATO or deploy troops rapidly to regional crises.

Seeking to address major shortfalls, the EU's first annual defence review, presented to the bloc's defence ministers on Friday, found that only 60% of the national troops and weapons nominally available to NATO are in a fit state to be deployed.

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The 28-nation EU decided on Feb. 10 to back France's efforts to help stop the sectarian violence between Muslims and Christians in Central The arrival of the EU contingent of an expected 1 ,000 troops aims to allow wider military operations outside of the capital Bangui to help stabilize the country.

The appropriate documents required to affect that kind of seizure were put in place, signed off on, and it appears there was also US military support in this operation. But this helps explain why Esper was fired and Miller and Kash Patel were put in place — so that the military would not interfere with the

EU governments are also reluctant to deploy those troops, the report found. Formal EU military missions receive just 7% of all EU states' military personnel committed worldwide, with problems generating troop levels, it said.

While such EU weaknesses were largely known, because the bloc has never had the military strength to match its economic might, major EU governments including France, Germany, Italy and Spain hope the detailed review and public recognition of failures will be a watershed.

"The EU does not have all the required military capabilities available in order to fulfil (its) level of ambition," said the report. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters: "European defence suffers from fragmentation, duplication and insufficient operational engagement."

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The US is holding a presidential election, and France is going through a conflict with the Islamic world due to the recent wave of terrorist attacks in Europe . "Russia sees the Karabakh conflict as an important area that requires regulation.

Despite having the largest military in the world, tenfold, the US came in 35th behind nations like Iran, Finland and Slovenia. The US team went home on October 28, 2019, and within 2 weeks, the first human contact cases of COVID 19 were seen in Wuhan.

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Smaller member states including Greece, Sweden and Poland have sought to protect domestic armament industries, which leads to duplication in weapons output, thwarting coordination geared to the protection of the continent as a whole.

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It comes as it emerged that Putin is making retirement plans by introducing a new bill which would make him a senator for life and guarantee him life-long immunity after office. Russian President Vladimir Putin during a working meeting via teleconference call at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday.

The Treaty on European Union , signed at Maastricht in 1991, formally established the European Union as the successor to the EC. At the same time, Maastricht expanded the concept of European union into new areas. It introduced a Common Foreign and Security Policy and moved towards an EU

Meanwhile, tiny Belgium and Luxembourg are among the lowest military spenders in Europe, and Denmark has opted out of EU defence initiatives.

France and Germany also disagree on how far to develop EU military cooperation independent of the United States, by far the biggest power in NATO and Europe's effective security guarantor since World War Two.

But after four years of hostility towards NATO from U.S. President Donald Trump, the EU says it can no longer rely solely on the United States to solve crises in its neighbourhood.

The EU has been working since December 2017 to develop more firepower independently of the United States. The effort has been led by France, the EU's remaining major military power after Britain, which opposed such cooperation, left the bloc.

With a weapons development fund being set up, backed by 8 billion euros ($9.50 billion) from the EU budget for the first time next year, French President Emmanuel Macron has called for more "sovereignty" in the EU's ability to defend itself.

The 27-nation EU aims to draw up a military doctrine by 2022 to define future threats and ambitions.

The report, part of an EU strategy to develop self-standing military capacity over the next decade, urged EU governments to jointly produce six areas of weaponry and end costly national duplication, including focusing on a new battle tank, a patrol class surface ship and counter-drone technology.

(Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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