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Solana asks the Defense Agency to better cooperate with the USA

(B2) First consequence of the change of administration in the USA and the first American visits to the continent (Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week, Vice President Biden today), Javier Solana will ask the Agency European Defense Agency (EDA) – which he chairs – “ to establish a substantial dialogue with the USA to concretely explore the opportunities of the transatlantic partnership ". " American and European security can only win if there is close cooperation » he should add, in a few hours, while speaking at the conference “ helicopters », organized by the EDA in Brussels, on March 10.

Defense does not escape integration. At the European level, the High Representative for the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy also wants to reaffirm his belief in European defense. “ Defense cannot remain outside the European integration process. It is politically desirable and economically necessary ". " European defense cooperation is the answer to the fragmentation and duplication of efforts in Europe " he added.

Helicopters, preferred means of intervention. The example of helicopters is particularly evident of the gap that exists between the means available on paper and those actually operational. “ There are around 1700 helicopters for all member countries of the European Union. But we still have a significant deficit in their availability “, underlined Javier Solana. And " The main problem is that they cannot be deployed in sufficient numbers outside Europe ". However, the helicopter remains a very valuable means in all peacekeeping or security operations carried out by the EU. And, sometimes even, the only means of intervention. In Africa, it is the only instrument that allows rapid movement in the rainy season. For example, it made it possible to transport UNHCR officials after the influx of refugees into the Central African Republic. In the Gulf of Aden, it is the helicopter which alone makes it possible to arrive quickly on site and stop the pirate attack.

NATO-EU cooperation. In this context, the High Representative wished to welcome theinitiative exemplary initiative initiated by the European Defense Agency, at the initiative of France and the United Kingdom. This work is carried out jointly by NATO and the EU, he welcomed. “ NATO focuses on immediate needs for Afghanistan, European Defense Agency works on longer-term structural solutions »: pilot training program, study of options for updating Russian-made Mi type helicopters owned by many Eastern European states. Training for Czech, Polish and Hungarian pilots is currently taking place in Gap with the same objective as that in last september with the czech pilots.

To download the speech.


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).