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The necessary revival of the Weimar triangle

(credit: Polish Ministry of Defence)

(BRUSSELS2) Continuing his European tour, Jean-Yves le Drian was in Warsaw on Monday (July 23) to meet his counterpart Thomas Siemoniak. Objective – as the two ministers recalled: “relaunch cooperation and dialogue between the countries of the Weimar Triangle".

A cooperation which has, for the moment, led – in our opinion – to many political positions but few results. A good common paper, sometimes common positions, sometimes not (see Libya, NATO summit, etc.), but which has not yet completely left its mark at the European level, as it should. In short, good talk, some consequences but not up to the level of the crisis encountered.

Budget + Threats = More active cooperation

Jean-Yves Le Drian seems aware of this state of affairs even if he does not admit it publicly. And in Warsaw he heard the gong ring. “ Strengthening common European defense is an unavoidable issue ". Particularly grow there budgetary constraints and the obligation to develop the required capacities ". " Given the multitude of new threats, the appropriate step now is to activate cooperation in the Weimar Triangle." he explained during this meeting. His Foreign Affairs colleague Laurent Fabius, visiting Warsaw a few days later, drove home the point in front of the Polish ambassadors, explaining the need for a Europe of defense (read: Fabius defends the revival of European defence. A priority for France). Different subjects were discussed: upcoming exercises, purchases, the battlegroup (see below), but also, according to our information, the latest conclusions of the NATO summit (and France's refusal to strengthen common financing of the Atlantic alliance), Africa (and the situation in the Sahel in particular) and Kosovo (where the two countries have withdrawn their police forces to maintain order, which poses some problems for the heads of the Eulex mission and Kfor).

Territory defense

Identical opinion but with a different perspective on the Polish side. For the Polish Minister of Defense, this Weimar triangle is an important vector not only at the level of the EU but also of the Atlantic Alliance. “ This cooperation has significant potential, essential for the implementation of specific policy proposals within the EU and NATO. Siemoniak said. France will thus participate, with more than 1000 soldiers, in the Steadfast Jazz 2013 exercise. An important point for the Poles because it is part of the " implementation of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.

Purchasing: the (new) nerve of “war”

Franco-Polish cooperation could also address the issue of army purchases. Thus a bilateral meeting will be organized soon bringing together specialists from both sides – general delegation of Armaments, French side (from France – representatives of the Armaments Directorate, on the Polish side – Undersecretary of State for modernization and arms).

Announcement of a Weimar battlegroup

A so-called “Weimar” “battlegroup” will be “ implemented by 2013 "announced the two ministers, battle group " which could serve as an example of cooperation at European level ". This initiative will indeed be a “life-size” opportunity to also test the interoperability of armies. But from there to presenting this implementation as a result of the meeting, there is a step that politicians can take; but not the journalists… The planning of this “battlegroup” bringing together French, Germans and Poles in the first half of 1 has been known and planned in European authorities… for at least 2013 years! The planning document dating from May 4 that I was able to find in my archives testifies to this… And the formalization of this cooperation had already been made in July 2008 (at the start of the Polish presidency of the EU) – read: Weimar Battlegroup Agreement. As for the training schedule, it has already started... And readers of this blog have known the main points for several months already! Read : Battlegroup Weimar in training. The organization chart released at the time…

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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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