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An Atlanticist at the head of the EU military from 2010

(B2) It is ultimately a... Dutchman who will chair the General Staff of the European Union from next spring. Mea culpa. Carried away by a bit of optimism, and certain information, we could think that the
Greek candidate (with a good European profile) would be appointed. Finally, the Chiefs of Staff of the European Union, gathered today in Brussels, preferred – to a majority acquired in the first round apparently – the Dutch candidate, whose least quality is not to be Nato -compatible, and on a line in perfect agreement with the United States. This decision must still be endorsed, from a formal point of view, by the Council of Ministers. But usually, the military's decision is not contested by the political authorities.

Born in 1955, Lieutenant General Ton Van Osch is today the military representative of the Netherlands to the EU and NATO (since 2007) (*). Trained at the Royal Netherlands Military Academy from 1974, he also took courses in the United States at the US Army Command and General Staff College. Gunner. he commanded the 41st Land Artillery Battalion deployed to Germany. In 1999 he was head of OPs (land) at SFOR headquarters (NATO stabilization force in Bosnia-Herzegovina). Directly after September 11, 2001, he moved to Tampa (United States) as operational “planner” of the coalition coordination center at US Central Command. Promoted to brigadier general in 2002, he became deputy chief of operations at the General Staff then deputy chief for cooperation and international planning. In December 2004, he became head of the Royal Netherlands Military Academy and then of the new Netherlands Higher Defense College (which merged the different Dutch military colleges).

(*) Most European countries have common military representation in NATO and the EU. France, which was one of the last countries to maintain the distinction, decided to merge these two bodies. Which is obviously to the detriment of European defense. Very political decision – implicitly – to reintegrate France into NATO's integrated command.


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).