News BlogEU Defense (Doctrine)

In the world, four “key areas” for European security.

(B2) The European Union headquarters, based in Brussels, is monitoring very closely several areas in the world which could require European military intervention for a peacekeeping or stabilization mission in 2009. Three areas are particularly monitored : Abkhazia-Georgia, if a Russian easing occurs, the Middle East, in particular if a peace plan is affirmed between Palestine and Israel or Iraq if the American troops disengage, and Africa, an area of "natural" operation of the EU and where many conflicts are underlying.

A situation to be compared to the “threats”, described in the White paper (French) on defense, published in June, which distinguishes four risk areas:

The arc of crisis – from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean. “The new risk of a connection of conflicts is emerging, between the Near and Middle East, and the region of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The existence of generally clandestine nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs aggravates this danger, while the countries of these regions acquire in large numbers, openly or not, military capabilities based on air delivery systems and missiles. The destabilization of Iraq, divided into rival communities, risks spreading to the Middle East.”
Conclusion: Europe and France are probably called upon to become even more involved in the future throughout the region, to help prevent and resolve crises.

Security in Sub-Saharan Africa. “France and Europe cannot ignore the continent that is closest to them” especially since Africa has many resources and is “more and more coveted”. Among the risks, the living conditions linked to growing urbanization, lack of health structures, scarcity of local food resources, endemic wars...

The European continent. “Russia has not yet completed the evolution that began in the 1990s. Building balanced relations remains a major objective in the years to come. the stabilization of the Balkans must call not for a distancing, but, on the contrary, for a redoubled attention.”

The effect of major conflicts in Asia. “The sources of conflicts inherited from the second half of the 20th century and still unresolved create a risk that is all the more serious as three major nuclear states have common borders, not internationally recognized (India-Pakistan, China-India). A conflict in Asia would have a significant impact: economic on a growing continent, energetic – through the demand for supplies; strategic (maritime routes, etc.).

Generally speaking, we can only recommend reading this White Paper, of which we can underline a certain foresight in the analysis of risks and above all a clearly stated desire to go beyond the strict hexagonal vision to encompass the entire EU. Which is rare enough in French documents of this type to be noted. See in particular a short summary of “new vulnerabilities” (which points out the persistent slippage in Afghanistan).


Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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