November 30, 2021

Beyond Going Long

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EU pushes for its own rapid response force by 2025

Many countries have rejected such a proposal in the past.

Brussels is pushing to launch a 5,000-strong quick reaction force from the European Union by 2025 as the European bloc seeks to bolster its defense capability. This is stated in a document available to AFP.

European Foreign Minister Josep Borrell is set to present this proposal, contained in the “Strategic Compass” survey on the threats currently facing the European Union, to the foreign and defense ministers of the 27 member states.

“We must be able to respond to immediate threats or respond quickly to a crisis situation, such as a rescue and evacuation mission or a stabilization operation in a hostile environment,” the draft document said.

“To this end, we will develop the EU’s rapid deployment capability, which will allow us to deploy modular units at speeds of up to 5,000 soldiers, including ground, air and naval forces,” the unpublished text said.

Countries depend on NATO

The proposal further states that the units should start training from 2023 and become “fully operational” by 2025.

Borrell first proposed a 5,000-strong rapid reaction force in March. Germany and other EU member states have spoken out in favor of the formation of the new EU force. By contrast, Poland and the Baltic states did not support the plans at the time. One reason is that these countries have so far relied primarily on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for military and defense issues and fear the prospect of weakening the alliance with the United States.

The Union already has so-called EU combat groups at its disposal. It is an armed force that can be quickly deployed in the field. Battlegroups were formed in 2005, but due to political, technical and financial obstacles, they were never published.

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