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Permanent, jointly funded battlegroups?

Battlegroup 2011 personnel. (Austrian Ministry of Defence)

(BRUSSELS2) This is the recommendation that could appear in the report on civil-military cooperation, under discussion in the European Parliament. Indeed, according to the draft report (1) by MEP Christian Ehler (CDU), MEPs could call on member states to be bolder, in particular by making Battlegroups “ more usable and flexible » of employment but above all by renovating, in a more drastic way, the financing as well as the very concept of the battlegroup.

1. Common funding

The major obstacle is financial, explained Christian Ehler in a committee meeting on Monday. " There is no reasonable funding, it penalizes whoever makes them available. And the Treaty of Lisbon has made no provision for this issue. It is therefore necessary, he recommends in his report, that the Member States must release a " agreement on the extension of the concept of common costs related to the use of battle groups on the Athena mechanism or on the " common funding the full cost of crisis management operations ". We cannot leave it to the Member States to be in charge a disproportionate burden in a difficult budgetary context ».

2. Civil-military use

The report calls on member states to return battlegroups “ more usable and flexible to improve their use for civil-military humanitarian relief operations (in compliance with the Oslo guidelines on the use of military and civil protection resources in the context of disaster relief operations) (2 ). He also suggests that he understand " civilian units or specialists (…) such as the Integrated Police Units (UPI) to enable them to carry out more varied missions ».

3. Less provisional battlegroups

You have to design the Battlegroups “ as long-term partnerships and refrain from dissolving them at the end of their hold period ».

(1) This report must still be discussed on October 26 in the defense subcommittee and on October 28 in the foreign affairs committee, before being submitted to the plenary. But it seems to bring together a quasi-consensus on the part of political groups (Left excepted).

(2) On the same subject, one can read: Use battlegroups in the event of a disaster?

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

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).