Observatory on European defence, November 2015
In the spotlight: 17 November
EU sides with Paris in the fight against terrorism
Following the French request after the Paris attacks, the EU Ministers of Defence unanimously agreed on the activation of the mutual defence clause (article 42.7 in the Lisbon Treaty). The approval marked an historical moment for the Union, being the first time the clause is actually called into action. Article 42.7 compels member states to provide aid and assistance in the event of an armed attack on a member states’ territory. According to the Treaty, this assistance shall be carried “by all the means in their power,” not only by military ones. Despite the activation of the clause, the EU’s role will be limited to the coordination of aid initiatives, while actual assistance programs will be granted on a bilateral base, following an agreement between France and each single member of the Union.
EU and Ethiopia: common agenda on migration
The EU and Ethiopia signed a joint declaration for a Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility in Brussels. Some of the topics that have been addressed are: international safeguards to refugees’ needs, irregular migration, human trafficking and development policies. The EU will directly finance concrete activities through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, which has already provided 1.8 billion in funding. The Common Agenda was the last decision of an intense negotiation, which culminated with the meeting between the High Representative Federica Mogherini and the Ethiopian Prime Minister Desalegn on 20 October. The agreement is part of the European strategy to tackle the extant migration crisis through closer collaboration with the countries where the migrants depart and transit in. Ethiopia, which hosts the amplest number of refugees in Africa (more than 733,000 people), is the country of origin and transit for most of the irregular migrants leaving for Europe.
EU emergency trust fund for Africa
The European Commission has launched an EU Emergency Trust Fund to stabilise and address root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa. The Fund is an innovative system combining different financial resources: it will receive 1.8 billion from the EU budget and the European Development Fund (EDF), member states (81.3 million) and other donors. The Fund aims at facing the root causes of political instability in the most fragile countries and of irregular migration. The geographical areas considered are Sahel, Chad, Horn of Africa and North Africa. The Union seeks to promote economy and development activities in these areas, financing projects that can create new job opportunities.
European agreement on defense-related research
The European Commission signed a new agreement with the European Defence Agency (EDA). New funds (1.4 million) will be destined to a limited number of projects related to new technologies for defence, as well as other activities with civilian and military scopes. The agreement represents an important contribute to the current collaboration on defence research between member states, as it targets initiatives in sectors where member states do not have the capabilities to act individually.
NATO: new tests for rapid response
From 9 to 19 November, the NATO’s Allied Rapid Reactions Corps (ARRC) took part in the first command post exercise in the Baltic countries in Lielvarde, an airbase in Latvia. Almost 1,700 soldiers from 20 NATO countries and Sweden participated in the simulation, whose aim was to test the Alliance’s rapid response capability. The ARRC is NATO Rapid Deployable Corps, led by the United Kingdom, that can be deployed everywhere in the world in five to thirty days timeframe.
NATO tests its cyber capacities
From 16 to 20 November, almost 600 personnel took part in Tartu (Estonia) in the Cyber Coalition 2015 NATO exercise, whose aim was to strengthen the defence of the Alliance’s information systems. The simulation, which was played out in a virtual and controlled environment, had the objective to protect the Alliance’s systems from malware and spyware, and tried out hacking techniques to penetrate well-protected computer systems. Austria, Finland, Ireland and Switzerland took part as observers to the exercise, while Georgia, Japan and Jordan actually had an active part.
Sahel G-5 Summit: more EU aids to Chad
The High Representative Federica Mogherini launched five development cooperation programs at the 3rd Sahel G-5 Summit. At the presence of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania, Mali and Niger, Mogherini announced the investment worth 101 million for Chad. The EU commitment in the Sahel region aims at strengthening the cooperation at a bilateral and regional level in order to contribute to the development and security of the region. The funds will help to rectify the 2015 state budget, limit the administrative cuts, simplify the access to drinkable water, health services and food, and sustain the rural development and the management of natural resources in the country.