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Observatory on European defence, February 2015


In the Spotlight
5 February
NATO Spearhead Force ready to operate

In the light of the instability along the eastern and southern borders of the Atlantic Alliance, NATO Defense Ministers approved the establishment of the Spearhead Force, characterized by a high level of readiness, in order to strength its collective defense. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg declared that the force will consist of a land brigade of approximately 5,000 troops, supported by air, sea and special forces. In the event of a major crisis, the Spearhead Force will rely on two more brigades, ratcheting up to 30,000 troops. NATO defense Ministers have also decided to establish six command and control units in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania to ensure a rapid and collective deployment if a crisis arises on the eastern side of NATO.

1 February
ENISA issues new cyber threat annual report

The European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) has released the “2014 Threat Landscape” report, warning about the top current cyber threats and their possible development. According to the report, last year featured important changes in the field of cybersecurity, not only in the development of the cyber threat, but also for the important results obtained in the domain of international cooperation, especially in the light of the first “Cyber Dialogue” between the US and the EU in December 2014. The publication of the report is only one of the activities of ENISA, which promotes cooperation between Member States to guarantee networks and information security.

3 February
EUTM Somalia gets a new Mission Commander

The Council’s Political and Security Committee has appointed Antonio Maggi, Italian Brigadier General, as the new Mission Commander for the EU Training Mission in Somalia (EUTM Somalia). General Maggi will succeed Brigadier General Massimo Mingiardi, who has held the position since December 2013. Launched in spring 2010, EUTM Somalia has the goal to strength the security of the country, both by delivering strategic advices to the Somali Ministry of defense and the chief of defense forces, and by training the country’s armed forces. Now in its third term, the mission has an overall budget of €11.6 million for the period February 2013-March 2015.

6 February
First EU strategy in Iraq and Syria to face ISIS

The European Commission and the High Representative of the EU, Federica Mogherini, have announced the first EU comprehensive strategy on tackling the crises in Syria and Iraq and the threat posed by ISIS. The strategy aims to coordinate the ongoing and planned initiatives in the region, both by the EU and the Member States. The budget earmarked for the next two years is €1 billion. Funds are granted not only to Syria and Iraq, but also to neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, and they will be used for a range of measures including humanitarian assistance, border control and counter-terrorism.

10 February
New Head of Mission for EUPOL Afghanistan

The Finnish Pia Stjernvall was appointed as the New Head of EU Police Mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL Afghanistan). The mission, extended until the end of 2016 by the Council, consists of a group of experts providing advices to the Afghan government, in order to strengthen the civilian police force, the rule of law and the respect for human rights. In particular, the three main objectives of the mission are an institutional reform of the Home Office, the professionalization of the national police and the development of the cooperation between police and justice sectors.

17 February
New Head of Mission for EUPOL COPPS

Rodolphe Mauget, from France, was appointed as the new Head of EU Police Mission in the Palestinian territories (EUPOL COPPS). Specifically, the mission aims to support the establishment of the institutions in the areas of police and criminal justice. The mission includes police advisers and legal experts from EU Member States, Canada, Norway and Turkey.

19 February
EU Commission extends Triton, pledges more funds to Italy

The intense migratory pressure due to the political turmoil on the Southern shores of the Mediterranean convinced the EU Commission to step up its assistance to Italy. The Triton mission, initially intended to last only for a short period, will be extended at least untill the end of 2015. The Commission has also earmarked €13.7 million in emergency funding to Italy. In the period 2014-2020, Italy will be the main recipient of EU funds for immigration: it will receive an amount of €310 million from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and €212 million from the Internal Security Fund. Frontex, the European agency for border management, coordinates the Triton Mission, established at the end of 2014 following an Italian request. The mission is conducted by 21 Member States, which have provided human and technical resources for an overall amount of 65 officers and 12 technical assets. Triton is only one of the projects funded by the EC contributing to border management: the 2013 “Mediterranean” Task Force aimed to provide recommendations and identify possible and effective measures to be implemented in the short and medium term to better mobilize EU efforts in border management; the "Praesidium” project deals with migrants coming from North Africa and landing in Sicily. Its is managed by the Italian authorities alongside the United Nations and Save the Children Italy and the Italian Red Cross. The European Asylum Support Office also offers technical support.

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