European foreign affairs ministers created a basis yesterday (Monday) in Brussels for a “General Military District” for the European Union, which is expected, from the Spring, to take command of particular field operations. The 28 states have decided “to implement, in the short term a military capacity, for planning and operation of the EU staff in Brussels. This applies to those staff with responsibility, at a strategic level, for planning and operational conduct of military missions. These have a non-executive mandate.” In other words, they have a non-combative purpose, per the text adopted by the 28.
The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, said, “Since the 1950s, it has been difficult to make progress in the Defence sphere, where the EU has had a history somewhat marked by division.” She declared that she was proud of the decision which has been made.
Mogherini stated that the embryonic general district will be “operational in the weeks to come” and will employ “around 30 individuals.”
This Brussels unit will head up three EU training missions (involving 600 soldiers), currently deployed in Mali, Somalia and the Central African Republic, under the leadership of the current European Chief of Staff, the Finnish General, Esa Pulkkinen.
Several EU countries, particularly the United Kingdom, would not welcome any initiative which which might evoke the concept of a European army.
Mrs Mogherini insisted, “This is not a European army as such. I understand that this term is being readily used. Instead it is a more efficient way to jointly undertake our military operations.”