Print version

Observatory on European defence, May 2007


14-15 May 2007
EU General Affairs and External Relations Council - Congo, Africa, Kosovo

During the six-monthly session held jointly with the defence ministers, the Council approved the concept of operations for the EUPOL-DRC police reform mission which will take over from the current EUPOL Kinshasa mission (limited to training one police unit for the capital city) in mid-June. The mission will employ about 40 experts for an initial period of one year and will also tackle relations between police and justice, with the EUSEC-RDC operation assisting reform in the security sector, with which it is supposed to merge in 2008.
The Council approved two initiatives concerning conflicts in Africa.
The first establishes a permanent tool for financing aimed at supporting the stabilization operations led by the Africa Union through voluntary contributions provided by single states. The second concerns an action plan for strengthening African capabilities in crisis management (especially conflict prevention, training and education, planning and logistics, reconstruction).
Work continued for the launch of an ESDP mission in Kosovo aimed at restoring the rule of law in the police, justice and customs sectors: the mandate of the EU planning team EUPT Kosovo was extended to 1 September 2007.

May 2007 
ESDP Missions - Afghanistan, Middle East

On 30 May, the Council adopted a Joint Action to launch the EUPOL Afghanistan ESDP police mission, which will send about 160 policemen to train local police. Currently 90 instructors are in the field in the framework of the GPPO (German Police Project Office) and other international and national police initiatives in Afghanistan: they will be joined by 70 more for the beginning of the mission (17 June). The foreseen deployment will be at the central (Kabul) and periphery level in regional command structures and Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) belonging to the NATO ISAF mission. The mission, which will last for at least three years, will imply an expenditure of 40 million euro for 2007.
On 24 May, the Council extended the EU Border Assistance Mission of the Rafah crossing point (EU BAM Rafah) between Gaza and Egypt by one year. The observation mission, operational since November 2005, employs over 70 police officers and custom experts provided by member states, also responsible for training the Palestinian personnel employed at crossing point.

May 2007
EU - Six-monthly ESDP Report, Capabilities

The EU Council of 14-15 May, in the presence of the defence ministers, approved the six-monthly Report on ESDP developments.
The Council analysed the progress achieved in military capabilities in the framework of the Headline Goal 2010, characterised by a qualitative approach to capabilities. To this end, the importance of good cooperation between the EU Military Committee and the European Defence Agency was underlined, in view of the progress and shortfalls assessment to be completed by November 2007.
As far as rapid reaction capabilities are concerned, the Council took note of the results of the Battlegroups coordination conference in early May, in which the member states confirmed their availability in relation to the rotation calendar until the first semester 2010.
The Council emphasized the central role played by common exercises and training, quoting in particular the MILEX 07 military exercise (7-15 June 2007), in which the Operations Centre established last 1 January within the EU Military Staff's civ/mil planning cell will be activated for the first time. MILEX 07 will test coordination between the Operations Centre in Brussels and a Headquarters in a member state (Sweden).

14-15 May 2007
European Defence Agency - Defence Technological and Industrial Base, Research

The Agency Steering Committee approved a reference document devoted to the strategy for development of a European defence technological and industrial base, underlining its important applications for the EU's security and defence policies . The text foresees some key actions to allow governments to shape an increasingly integrated base starting from the research phase, that should have positive effects in terms of cost-efficiency and interoperability in the field.
The endorsement of the procedural rules for research allowed the Agency to officially launch the first calls for tender for the three-year research programme concerning forces protection, funded with about 55 million euro.
Finally, an initiative aimed at linking the till now fragmented efforts of the Agency, the European Commission and the Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD) and several European countries, in the field of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) was officially launched. A first detailed agenda currently under study should allow the development, by 2012, of UAVs for commercial purposes as well, in addition to the original military and security aims.
On 24 May, Solana announced the appointment of the new chief executive Weis (currently the Armaments Director of the German Federal Ministry of Defence) as of next 1 October. The Italian Magrassi (currently Armaments Director in the European Defence Agency in Brussels) and Sowa (currently Director of the Armaments Policy Department at the Polish Ministry of Defence) will take office as deputy chief executives from 1 January 2008.

May 2007
NATO - Capabilities

NATO is continuing with its improvement of civil defence capabilities managed by its Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC), tested by exercise IDASSA 2007 (Croatia, 19-24 May). The exercise actively involved several member states and partners as well as a number of observers. The scenario, a devastating earthquake worsened by a bacteriological threat, encompassed the aims of natural or manmade disaster management, increasingly considered among the Atlantic Alliance's finalities and present in the EADRCC operations which have, since 2002, taken place in various parts of the world after earthquakes, floods, fires, etc.

May 2007
EU - Space Council and European Space Policy, Galileo

On 22 May, member states and the European Space Agency (ESA) met for a ministerial meeting in the 4th Space Council.
A resolution was adopted on the development of European space policy, drafted together with the Commission, setting out the guidelines for developing the sector in Europe. The security applications have specifically been worked out in reference to the European satellite navigation system Galileo and the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) project.
Concerning Galileo, on 16 May the Commission adopted a Communication aimed at starting up its development again after the ultimatum delivered in March to the candidate consortium [Thales and Alcatel-Lucent (France), Immersat (United Kingdom), HispaSat and Aena (Spain), Finmeccanica (Italy) and Teleop (Germany)] expired (10 May) without having established the conditions for a positive outcome of the negotiations with the supervising authority (Galileo Supervisory Authority, GSA).
The proposal recommends entirely public financing for the construction phase of the system, while it allows for private funds for the management phase. It has been calculated that over and above the 1 billion euro already spent on the development of this system, the EU budget will provide an additional 2.4 billion euro for the period 2007-2013, for a total of about 10 billion euro on the entire programme by 2030. The details of the cost sharing still have to be worked out, taking into account of the fact that the system should be operational by 2012.