Fri Feb 24th, 2006 at 12:16:24 PM EST
For the sake of our readers who are dismayed at the weak military stance of the EU (excluding, of course, the UK) and its inability to "step up to the plate"1 let us introduce you to Europe's brand-new Battlegroups2.
What are Battlegroups? Each is to consist of 1500 troops drawn from the various military arms of one or more EU states, to include both ground and air forces and the logistical support required to deploy and maintain the force in action. 13 battlegroups have already been committed to and negotiations are under way to form more - for instance Ireland, which is traditionally neutral, recently agreed to start negotiating with other EU states to join one. Some of the battlegroups are provided by a single state - France, Italy, Spain and the UK are all doing this - or by multiple states - Germany, Austria and Czech Republic for example.
The aims for battlegroups are quite limited:
Key objectives for the EU Battlegroups are that they can take the decision to launch an operation within 5 days of the approval by the Council. Forces should be on the ground no later than 10 days after the EU decision to launch the operation.
In response to a crisis, or to an urgent request by the UN, the EU should be able to undertake two Battlegroup-size operations for a period of up to 120 days simultaneously.(EurActiv.com)
And what are they for?
The research report by the Department of Strategic and Defence Studies in Helsinki: “EU Battlegroups: Theory and Development in the light of the Finnish Swedish Co-operation” delivers a critical analysis:
“Theoretically speaking the EU Battlegroups could participate in the following mission profiles:
Expeditionary force. Either an autonomous or a joint operation (with NATO) to solve a limited size crisis.
Entry force. An initial mission by paving the way to a larger operational size peace-enforcement or peacekeeping follow-on force.
Emergency force. Supporting an existing (peacekeeping) mission by offering a robust capability to solve a local and limited size crisis.
Europe is working on this: some of the problems are to do with political conflicts with and within NATO and the apparent US wish to have a strong European military that is available to carry out missions as and when the US tells it.
Why is eating dinner considered such a manly behaviour? American. Who can understand them?↑
Doesn't it sound good? "We have BATTLEGROUPS" "Cool". Sounds nice and butch. We shan't have to put up with those strutting Americans now.