News BlogEU Defense (Doctrine)

The French Minister of Defense on a European tour

Minister Le Drian with his Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsien Loong at the Shangri-La meetings (credit: Ministry of Defence/ECPAD/R.Pellegrino)

(BRUSSELS2) This is one of the objectives of Jean-Yvs Le Drian, the new French Minister of Defense: Europe. It's necessary " strengthen European convergence by all means as one of his advisers puts it. It goes through meetings intuitive personae with his counterparts not only to get to know them but also to see what can be done together, at the political and industrial levels. First project, the Lancaster agreements (signed with the United Kingdom) to see, chapter by chapter, what can be opened to other partners (NB: provided that the British are willing!). Second project: study all possible areas of cooperation and open other bilateral partnerships. Third project: industry. It's necessary " make the State play the role of impetus in the service of European convergences or bilateral projects “says one of his collaborators.

Finland (first) Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom then, Brussels and Warsaw after

Taking advantage of Friday, Jean-Yves Le Drian took advantage of a trip to Helsinki - as part of the CPMR (the conference of regions of the maritime periphery) which he chaired until now - to see his Finnish counterpart, Stefan Wallin ( *). On the menu: the EU's common defense and security policy and some current topics such as Syria and Lebanon. Finland is particularly involved in the UN mission in Syria (Misnus), being one of the only European countries to have delegated a certain number of observers.

Other meetings are planned in the coming days with partners (more “key” for France). A working meeting is therefore scheduled with Italian Minister Di Paola, on the sidelines of the June 18 ceremonies in Paris. Then it will be a visit to Berlin, to see Thomas de Maizière. Objective: to pick up the pieces with a German partner who feels a little neglected by his somewhat fickle “French mistress” :-). Then, on July 2 in London, to take stock of the Lancaster House agreements, and test the “real” British desire to go further, after the decision to abandon all hope of cooperation for aircraft embarked on aircraft carrier ships.

A trip to Brussels is also in preparation, but no date has yet been finalized. And a meeting with the Polish Minister of Defense is also in the cards. The objective is for the new minister to have been able to discuss, in a personal and in-depth manner, with several of his interlocutors before the informal meeting of Defense Ministers in Cyprus at the end of September.

European to the end of Asia

On the doctrine side, the minister seems to have somewhat abandoned the antiphon of the European Defense Identity. A concept more suited to the NATO summit in Chiacgo, we concede on the Minister's side, and which Leon Panetta, the Secretary of State for Defense, seemed to hold. A fairly logical point of view, given the history of this concept (B2 will come back to this). The minister today mentions more the European Union or Defense Europe. Which is purely language for this Breton attached to his European convictions (I can attest to that!). Le Drian was thus one of the only ministers from the continent present in Singapore for the Shandri-La Dialogue at the beginning of June. And he repeatedly mentioned the action of the European Union in the anti-piracy operation such as during the tsunami or disaster relief operations. “The security of Asia is also the key to the security of Europe – he concluded during his introductory remarks. “Asia-Pacific and in particular South East Asia are for us, French, and for us Europeans, an integral part of our security environment. » Download the discourse

(*) The Finnish minister who is leaving office very soon, read : Helsinki changes defense minister soon (subscriber access)

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).

Comments closed.