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The French ambassador to the COPS confirms: preparing the post-Eufor is urgent

(BRUXELLES2) Christine Roger, the French representative to the Political and Security Committee (COPS) was before the Defense sub-committee of the European Parliament, on July 16, to explain the main challenges of the French presidency of the EU in terms of defense and security. On after Eufor in Chad, she confirmed (as was also detailed in J. Solana's reports to Ban Ki Moon) that it will be necessary to “convince” the Chadian authorities and the UN of the advisability of the latter taking over from the EU after the expiry of the Eufor mandate on March 15, 2009. One of the solutions – she mentioned – could be that “European troops remain there, under the UN flag“. It is therefore a question of convincing the United Nations of the “need to take over“. This should be facilitated by the logistics already put in place by Eufor.

At this same session, the ambassador also returned to the EU intervention capabilities. She thus insisted on denying the possible deployment by the EU in a large-scale operation of 60.000 soldiers. The EU has a greater vocation for “limited operations, integrating the civil and military dimension”, or, even, rapid reaction operations using tactical groups (or Battle Groups). On this point, she recognized – as MEPs emphasized – that the deployment of Battle Groups is “particularly difficult” because Member States have different views on the idea “of using these groupings, developed for a certain concept, for other purposes. As for the Eurocorps, it is of little use when listening to it. Its “very heterogeneous” side – with very different rules of engagement and the multinational consensus necessary to deploy it make it a “difficult to use tool” (same observation for the European Gendarmerie).

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).