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Give and take. The Ten Paris Recommendations for Defense Europe

(BRUSSELS2) The White Paper presented today in Paris devotes four pages to European defense policy. A space which is not just purely formal and contains implicitly the desire to make a change in the CSDP, whether at the political or operational level, which can be summarized in around ten points.

From the first lines, the color is displayed. " The current context makes possible and urgent a pragmatic relaunch of the Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) ". But this development cannot only be incantatory. The common security and defense policy is not “ an end in itself (…) but an instrument serving the essential interests of the European Union ". It should be a give and take. If France turns to the European Union with the desire to bring its knowledge of the crises and its proposals concerning the responses to be given to them ", she wishes " in return benefit from those of its European partners” and European structures "reinforced" (see in particular point 6).

1. The mission of the European Union: stabilize the neighborhood. It's a " major security interest "with the need for Europeans" act preventively on emerging crisis hotspots ". Five areas of action are defined: 1) the countries in the area from the Sahel to equatorial Africa, 2) the peace process in the Middle East, 3) the success of political transitions in certain Arab countries, 4) the settlement of conflicts in the Caucasus, 5) consolidation of peace in the Balkans, particularly in Kosovo; and the fight against all forms of terrorism ».

2. The European framework aims to " become the frame of reference when it comes to mobilizing the full range of civil and military instruments required to implement a comprehensive approach to crises ».

3. A political impulse. In this set, the impulse must " come from the highest political level of the Union, that of the European Council ". To the heads of state and government “ to determine the role that Europe intends to play on the international scene and the nature of the world order that Europeans wish to promote in international forums and with other States ».

4. A European White Paper. The French are taking up a notion dear to European parliamentarians, the idea of ​​a “White Paper of the European Union”, which would define "more clearly the interests and strategic objectives of the Union". Unless unknown, we should find this notion in the conclusions of the European Summit at the end of the year.

5. Reorganization and reforms are needed. The European Union has no not yet taken advantage of all the means available to the Commission and the Member States” to provide a comprehensive response to crises. A " better coordination of civil and military resources”, is necessary and the procedures of the Union must be adapted to its operational role”.

6. A reinforced Foreign Service. France wishes "an External Action Service with a strengthened role, particularly in crisis management" just like seeing the "advantages" European Union agencies (such as the European Defense Agency, or the Torrejon satellite center) that are better used.

7. Greater responsiveness. France would like the Union to strengthen " the responsiveness and intervention capabilities of the forces made available to the CSDP. Common education, training, availability and generation of forces better coordinated between European states are " areas where progress is urgent and accessible ».

8. Use all instruments of the Treaty. France wants make better use of existing institutions and consultation frameworks and take advantage of all the possibilities offered by the treaties, including permanent structured cooperation and enhanced cooperation »

9. Will and ability to project. The "willingness to project" only makes sense if it is based on the "possibility, for the States which subscribe to it, " mobilize credible civilian and military resources ". France is committed to having critical capabilities in certain sectors “ intelligence, surveillance, aerial refueling, strategic transport, etc. », while reaffirming its desire to pool the corresponding programs with the States most capable of contributing to them”.

10. Mutualization and sharing of capacities. France repeats its wish resolved (of) engage in the capability pooling and sharing initiative, entrusting the European Defense Agency (care) to identify programs that could be developed jointly, to test their feasibility and to organize their set-up”. Cooperation, with one or more States, of arms programs within the framework of OCCAR must be considered "not as alternatives or substitutes, but as additional levers to create a European capability dynamic".

Finally, France has a more general objective "to pursue and intensify European construction in terms of internal security" with the development of a " more integrated strategy ". Two examples are given: protection of European critical infrastructures " and " political coordination in the event of a major crisis " (civil protection) .

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).