Observatory on European defence, January 2008
1 January 2008
European Union - Slovenian Presidency: ESDP Program
On the 1st of January, Slovenia took over, for the first time, the Presidency of the European Union. The 18-month program was presented on January 2007 together with Germany (first semester 2007) and Portugal (second semester 2007). The Presidency identified 5 principal actions: ratification of the Reform Treaty, climate and energy issues, Lisbon Strategy, Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, intercultural dialogue.
Some important ESDP targets were underlined:
- continuation of the civil and military missions under way and the planning of new ones (Kosovo, Guinea-Bissau);
- development of civil and military capabilities (updating of the Battlegroup concept);
- development of strategic partnerships in crisis management (NATO, UN);
- support of the European Defence Agency's activities (European Defence Technological and Industrial Base, EDTIB).
8 January 2008
European Defence Agency - Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
The European Defence Agency assigned a 500,000 euro contract to the European consortium Air4All - which includes the Italian companies Alenia Aeronautica and Galileo Avionica - to work out a detailed road map for the introduction of unmanned airplanes (UAV) into civil air traffic by 2015. The project includes the joint development of an agenda in the sector for the various project partners: companies, air traffic control authorities, research institutes, procurement agencies.
29 January 2008
General Affairs and External Relations Council - ESDP Missions: Chad/Sudan, Middel East
The Council adopted the decision to launch the EUFOR-TCHAD/RCA military operation in eastern Chad and the north-eastern part of the Central African Republic.
The mission will be carried out in the framework of the Security Council Resolution 1778 (2007) related to the UN MINUCART mission , which authorizes the use of force, on the basis of Chapter VII of the UN Charter. This mission will take place in agreement with the governments of Chad and the RCA. Tasks include: protecting civilians and UN personnel involved in the region, as well as facilitating access for humanitarian aid and movement of people. In particular, the Commission has allocated 10 million euro for the refugees (especially for Eastern Chad where there are almost 223,000 refugees from Darfur and 180,000 internally displaced persons).
Again via the Commission, the EU will contribute to the setting up of a "UN police force" to train and equip Chad's police force.
The mission reflects a strengthened contribution by the EU to international efforts in the region, with direct effects in managing the consequences of the crisis in Sudan, where the AMIS II African Union (AU) mission has been replaced by UNAMID, a hybrid UN/AU peace force as of the 1st of January.
The initial duration of EUFOR-TCHAD/RCA is 12 months from the beginning of operational capacity expected for March. In addition to the French forces already on the spot, the first deployment will consist of other French forces (200 soldiers and 10 helicopters), Irish special troops (400 soldiers) and a camp hospital from Italy. The approx. 3,700 other soldiers will come from EU countries- Poland (400 soldiers and 2 helicopters), Sweden (200), Finland (60), Spain (2 CASA C-295), Greece ( Hercules C-130), Slovenia, Belgium, the Netherlands and Romania (120). The United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Luxembourg will also be represented in the headquarters located in France. The force will be led by Irish General Patrick Nash; the operational commander will be French General Jean-Philippe Ganascia.
The ministers confirmed their engagement in the peace process in the Middle East region. The re-activation of the EU control mission at the Rafah border post (EU BAM Rafah), between Gaza and Egypt, has been envisaged, while ministers welcomed the agreements with Israel on the accreditation of the EU police mission EUPOL COPPS in support of the Palestinian police, making full implementation of the mission's mandate possible once again, after the interruption a few months earlier.
NATO - 2008 Priorities and Afghanistan
NATO General Secretary Hoop Scheffer has informally set out the priorities of the Atlantic Alliance for the new year. Among them are enlargement, the emerging challenges of cyberdefence, energy security and engagement in Kosovo and Afghanistan.
The security situation in Afghanistan remains unsettled and the ISAF mission requires additional troops, also in terms of instructors for the training of the Afghan army and local security forces. The latter, in particular, is considered a priority by the Karzai government.
The US will send about 3,000 additional soldiers even if some European countries have promised increases: Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, France, Norway and Germany.
The problem of increasing the commitment of allied contingents in the South of the country, the principal operational area of the Talibans, remains unsolved, as does the division of the costs and the problem of transport facilities.
EU - Countering International Terrorism
The implementation of the EU anti-terrorism strategy continues steadily.
Nevertheless, the Commission noted on January 7 that more than 2/3 of the member states have not yet implemented European regulations regarding the retention of telecommunications data (from 6 to 24 months) adopted to counter terrorism and organized crime.
In the informal meeting on Justice and Internal Affairs of 24-26 January held in Brdo (Slovenia), ministers dealt with issues regarding the Schengen second generation informative system SIS II and the European Passenger Name Record (PNR).
As for the first, a one year delay in full implementation was confirmed (September 2009).
As for the second, the Commission's framework decision (November 2007) proposal for the creation of a European PNR for flight data from and to the EU territory (excluding internal flights) was discussed. A parallel data protection system will be paired up with this initiative, which is likely to be started up in the first semester of 2009.