Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

New European Security Initiative


A new European security policy is being drafted which will set out to prove the EU can act militarily without the US. A large boost in defence spending is expected and UN peacekeepers may no longer be needed. John Howard reports.

Embarrassed over the Balkan crisis, EU ministers are meeting this week to create a Rapid Reaction Force (RRF), by 2003, of as many as 60,000 troops which can be deployed within 60 days.

The new policy will allow Western Europe to defuse crises beyond its borders with America's blessing but not always with its troops.

A European RRF must be able to mount campaign's lasting at least a year and it will rotate troops in and out, bringing the total commitment to 200,000 soldiers according to EU officials.

EU armies have two million soldiers but in the Balkan crisis, government's could barely deploy 2 per cent of that number into Kosovo.

Three quarters of the aircraft, four fifths of the ordinance and most of the intelligence in the former Yugoslavia were provided by the US.

Defence spending of the European NATO members is 60 per cent of US defence spending yet their ability to project a military force is only 15 per cent of Washington's.

The impetus for a greater EU security role has been a decade coming in which successive Balkan crises have come and gone with the Europeans leaving it to Washington to take the lead in bringing peace and stability to the region.

"We are not earmarked on an exercise in wind-baggery. We have seen where Europe has failed," EU External Affairs Commissioner Chris Patten told EU and US legislators in Brussels.

"It is our duty to do better. It was the Balkan crisis that obliged us to engage more directly in conflict prevention and crisis management. The simple truth is that we have not been organised or equipped for this work," Mr Patten said.

This week's meeting is mainly a technical one to establish the structrure of the new force with assurances that the NATO alliance, which includes the US, will remain the key European security provider.

The Europeans have not done well in defence and security and analyst's are welcoming the news that finally much of the burden for costly crisis management and peacekeeping may be lifted from other UN member states.

Shaping a credible defence policy will mean the EU nations must improve decision-making procedures, boost defence spending and agree to more co-production of arms and jointly put troops in the field.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

UN Rights Declaration At 70: We Are All Born Free And Equal

On Article 1 of the UDHR: Dignity is the foundation of all human rights. Human beings have rights, and should be treated with utmost care, precisely because each one possesses intrinsic worth. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The (Delayed) Judgment Day For Theresa May

When under stress, British PM Theresa May reportedly eats peanut butter straight from the jar. Crunch time is looming... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Politely Fake Political Obituaries (And The Paris Discord)

One unfortunate side effect of “personality politics” is that when prominent politicians die, the niceties we observe at the death of private individuals get automatically extended to them as well... More>>

ALSO:

Unique And Vanishing: NZ Biodiversity Losses Match Global Crisis

One might think that it is buffered from some of the effects of biological erosion, especially since people only arrived less than 800 years ago. But as we show, the impact on wildlife has been catastrophic. More>>

Your Name Here(ish): Sponsor A Section On Scoop.co.nz!

Scoop.co.nz has just launched Section Sponsorships - the newest way for you to gain exposure for your brand to Scoop’s high value audience of 500,000 monthly readers. More>>

ALSO:

You Did It! The Scoop 3.0 PledgeMe Closes

Update: The Scoop 3.0 Crowdsale and Crowdfunding Campaign met its target with a total of $36,024 pledged. It looks like it has all been worthwhile. We are nearly there and Scoop.co.nz will ride again in 2019, our 20th year of operations. Moreover the past week has brought a number of inquiries from larger organisations, many of which have till now failed to respond to our messages... More>>

ALSO: