EU foreign policy chief wants Brussels military HQ

By | September 8, 2016

ROME: EU foreign policy supremo Federica Mogherini wants a Brussels headquarters for European “battlegroups” capable of mounting military interventions in crises.

The HQ proposal is one of four “priority” proposals she will present to European Union governments in the aftermath of Britain’s vote to leave the bloc, she told Italian daily La Repubblica in an interview published on Thursday (Sep 8).

While insisting she was not proposing an EU army, Mogherini said Britain’s impending departure had left other EU governments with no excuse for not moving forward on giving the EU a defence capacity, a goal long-cherished by Euro federalists but resisted by London.

Mogherini said existing multi-national rapid reaction units – which she described as battlegroups – had to be put into action.

“We can and we must decide to make them an asset to be used when we need a rapid European intervention,” said the former Italian foreign minister.

The second priority would be to use Article 44 of the EU’s founding treaties, allowing a smaller group of countries to organise military action on behalf of the whole bloc.

The third was the creation of “a common headquarters in Brussels that would run all present and future military and civilian operations,” Mogherini said. “This could become the nucleus around which a common European defence structure could be built.”

Mogherini said the fourth priority had to be European governments “pooling resources for the gigantic investments needed in the defence sector.”

The Italian has opened discussions with EU governments on a global security strategy for the EU. She claimed there was a post-Brexit “general consensus on the need to move forward in this field”.

“If you look at opinion polls, the principal concerns of Europeans are the economy and security. Internal security implies also an external dimension, a defence capacity. It’s good to clarify we are not talking about a European army, but about European defence: something we can really do, concretely, starting now.”

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