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The “Saxon” battlegroup in training

Leopard 2A6 tank (credit: Dutch Ministry of Defence)

(BRUSSELS2) Several hundred Austrian, German, Finnish, Lithuanian and Dutch soldiers will come to train in the Belgian-Dutch border area as part of the EU rapid reaction force (battlegroup) which will be on duty at the first semester 2011. This exercise called “European Rhino 1” starts this Monday, September 27 and ends on October 8.

This battlegroup is placed under the command of the Dutchman Michiel van der Laan. The Dutch, essentially the 13th Mechanized Brigade, provide the backbone of the Battlegroup and provide half of the troops: 1250 soldiers out of a total of 2350. The other half of the troops are provided by Germany, Austria, Finland (*) and Lithuania. This rapid reaction force will have all the capabilities (command, communications, logistics, transport, combat) to be able to carry out operations in total autonomy between 30 and 120 days, in accordance with the concept defined by the General Staff of the EU. It could be used both to conduct evacuation operations or to support humanitarian operations (1) as well as for conflict prevention or crisis management operations, according to the Dutch side.

(*) Finland also participates with 200 soldiers in the Nordic Battlegroup

(1) Read also: 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).