Whatever you call it: couple, engine, tandem. The ‘French-German’ is a must. There is no option. An inclusive one, open to other EU member states or even to like-minded third countries, for whom a strong European pillar of the transatlantic alliance is essential and the European ambition for strategic autonomy a necessary tribute to global security requirements. But this fair vision shared by France and Germany faces a lack of confidence, on both sides! We can probably do better through more rigorous methods and improve communication, as contributors to proper mutual trust.
The Treaty of Westphalia determined basic principles of the relationships between
European states which have lasted for centuries. The conclusion of the invasion –
whatever it may be, whenever it comes – could be similarly epoch-making. What the EU
thinks and does then will be significant, even though currently unthought. This brief article
explores starting points.
The situation in the EU’s Southern Neighbourhood has become more complex and dangerous, when on October 7, 2023, massive terrorist attacks by Hamas deep into Israel’s territory caused over 1,400 deaths (including babies and children), wounded more than 5,000 people and took 239 hostages. Israel’s response has been very harsh, cutting the supply of water, electricity, and fuel in Gaza, heavily bombarding many parts of the Strip, and starting a ground operation with the intention of destroying Hamas’ capabilities. The “collateral damage” is huge: so far more than 8,000 Gazans have been killed (including many children), and more than 21,000 have been wounded. The Israeli Army has compelled hundreds of thousands of residents in the northern part of Gaza to move south, to facilitate military operations. UNICEF and other humanitarian organizations warn that the situation in the heavy populated territory is catastrophic and could result in many more deaths if there is no restoration of fuel and electricity, and an increase of humanitarian aid soon. So far, all international calls for a ceasefire have been ignored.
This new phase of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has interrupted the process of normalization of relations between Israel and several Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, within the so-called “Abraham Accords”. There is a risk that the armed confrontation spreads to other countries in the region, including Lebanon and Iran. The role and influence of the EU is very limited, as it is too divided on the matter.
Irregular migration has become one of the most sensitive political issues on the EU agenda, as the number of arrivals continues to grow on all routes, especially across the Mediterranean and across the Atlantic from West Africa to the Canary Islands.
The EU Council would like to complete the process of establishing a common system (New Pact on Migration and Asylum) to deal with this problem before the elections to the European Parliament in June 2024. A step forward has been the recent approval of the draft regulation on Crisis Situations and Force Majeure, which will open the way for negotiations between the Council and the Parliament. The draft Regulation establishes the norms that would be applicable in exceptional circumstances, when the bloc’s asylum system is under great stress by a sudden and massive arrival of migrants.
Framework Nations invest in EUROCORPS, in addition to their national or other international commitments, because they do not want to put all their eggs in one basket. It would be a waste of national resources to view EUROCORPS only through tactical lenses and just as another Corps Headquarters. In the short term, EUROCORPS allows for risk diversification through access to resources held only by a limited number of partners. It is an insurance designed to supplement scarce national core capacities in times of crisis. Looking longer term, EUROCORPS provides a unique laboratory for the development of new technologies and interoperability.
By Colonel Eric Renaut , Branch Head Logistics of HQ EUROCORPS; in EUROCORPS publication, June 2023
This piece addresses various aspects related to influences exerted on international military students, as part of their training and education, considering that, depending on a variety of factors, all this can have repercussions on the Armed Forces and, more broadly speaking, on their States of origin. International military cooperation is tied to Defense Diplomacy and to countries’ soft power.
This article highlights the Portuguese Armed Forces via two exclusive interviews with General (Ret.) Valença Pinto, Chairman of EuroDefense-Portugal, and Commodore João Silva Pereira, Director of the Portuguese Armed Forces’ Military Intelligence and Security Center.