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Defense Europe lacks visibility on Libya, Ana Gomes

Credit: Europen Parliament/P.Naj-Oleari

(BRUSSELS2) Coming to talk about the action of European Defense on Libya, and in particular EUFOR Libya, the Deputy Secretary General of the EEAS, Maciej Popowski, did not have an easy task in traveling to the room 1G3 of the European Parliament this Wednesday afternoon.

Coming to explain to MEPs that the 27 have, of course, decided on a “EUFOR Libya” action but that this is for the moment “in the fridge”, is anything but popular and credible. And the 20 minutes late didn't really help put the MEPs in a good mood. When the diplomat arrived in the room, the MEPs were as hot as a... fry house! German Green Richard Bütikofer summed up the exchange in a devastating tweet: “ Ridiculous presentation: no information; unclear goals; duplication with NATO ».

Why not an EUBAM or EUMM mission at the borders?

« The European Union has lost a good opportunity to assert itself, to become visible on common security and defense clarified Ana Gomes. The Portuguese socialist deputy is particularly upset at the weakness of the European service. I asked him, after the session, to clarify why so much anger? Answer: "I don't understand how the Union continues to talk about a military support mission when we are told that it can only act upon request from OCHA and when we know that OCHA does not ask for anything. (...) We have an obligation to enforce the embargo since the first Security Council resolution (1970) voted on February 26. What are we waiting for to set up a surveillance or observation mission at the borders of this embargo, such as EUBAM or EUMM? »

We must respond to the needs and come to the aid quickly in Misrata

Mr. Popowski replies that “ Member States are very divided. I could understand the response if Mr Ashton had taken an initiative, by virtue of his powers from Lisbon, proposed a mission and encountered refusal from the Member States. But this is not the case. She took no initiative. » And the MEP concluded: “ We must meet the needs when they exist, help Misrata quickly and in a limited way, we must not wait ».

NB: we can notice the almost unanimity within the Defense sub-committee on this subject, with the exception of Geoffrey Van Orden, Tory MP and former British Army brigadier, who regularly fights for the destruction of the PeSDC with such humor that he delights us every time he speaks (even if I don't completely share… the substance of his 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).

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