Observatory on European defence, September 2000
21-22 September 2000
Meeting EU Defence Ministers and Chiefs of Staff - Towards the Pledging Conference
On 21-22 September the meeting of Chiefs of Staff and the informal meeting of EU Defence Ministers took place. The meetings aimed at preparing the official conference on 20 November, at which each country is expected to define its contribution to the common military capability.
The latest version of the capability catalogue requires a force of 60-80,000 men, plus 350-500 airplanes and 80 ships.
Within this context, certain countries have already defined their offers: Germany will contribute 12,000 troops (plus 6,000 men in the air force and navy), Italy will cover 15% of the force, Spain 6,000 men, Belgium 3,000 troops plus naval and air support, while other countries will contribute smaller quotas.
These commitments by Defence Ministers show a will to proceed towards setting up a real common military capability.
However, there is no clear indication of the way the future force will be used; furthermore, the decision-making process and the operational chain of command are still unclear.
A precise definition of the quality and type of systems required both at EU and national level is lacking; this makes the real contribution stated by the donor countries uncertain, at least until the next Conference to be held in November.