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Which countries responded to France's call? François confirms the B2 info!

FrancoisHollande18December2015 2(B2) François Hollande, earlier, during the final press conference, in turn took stock of the implementation of article 42.7. This was done in two stages: first an introductory intervention, prepared in advance, rather optimistic. Then a recalibration, a little more precise when we questioned him, emphasizing that we did not quite have the same names as him in our bag...

Europe was there

« A month after the Minister of Defense seized his counterparts, European countries responded. The United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy. There is a very great solidarity, a very great mobilization to allow us to have on the military level the answer and the response which is necessary. We join forces against Daesh. And we are also ensuring that the trafficking that Daesh may organize, oil trafficking, trafficking in works of art, can be annihilated. France can observe that solidarity has been there. »

Please investigate

The opportunity was too good not to ask the president for a few details, because he seemed a bit lyrical to us. In our survey, in fact, we did not note such Dutch or Italian enthusiasm for example. François Hollande, in a teasing response, first “thanks” to investigate and provide me (thus) information that may be useful »… Then he provided some useful details, because they qualify the commitment of each country, and backpedal a little in his initial presentation.

Important decision in the UK

The French president particularly wanted to explain why the response of the United Kingdom and Germany in particular were fundamental, both politically and militaryly.

UK, " this is important because Cameron was prevented from intervening when France was ready, compared to the Bashar regime which had used chemical weapons. This time, he was able to obtain the support of his parliament, of the House of Commons, to act in Syria against Daesh. » (1)

And major decision in Germany

For Germany, too, it is an absolutely major decision taken by the Chancellor and the Bundestag. This is the first time that the Germans will be able to participate in an external operation, not only by providing equipment but also personnel (2). So it's a very strong moment of solidarity. »

Sweden: not so simple given the tradition

« Other countries, such as Sweden (3), announced on December 16 means in terms of air transport. There too, you know the tradition of Sweden, it was not so simple. »

Other contributions pending

« In Belgium (4) and Denmark (5), discussions are also under way for this contribution. And I know that Italy (6), the Netherlands (7) also have this desire. In Spain (8), there are elections on Sunday. And it will be after the ballot that we can have confirmation. »

Modest but symbolic contributions of solidarity

« We will continue with all countries. Sometimes these are countries that give modest contributions (9) but which are also symbolic of their desire to take part in the fight against terrorism, against Daesh and also to show solidarity with France. »

Comment: We couldn't have said it better. And as the President says…

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)


Our fact check

(1) Correct

(2) The president becomes somewhat enthusiastic. Germany was heavily involved in the Balkans, first in the 1990s, which was the first intervention of this type abroad, then in Afghanistan, under the NATO banner in both cases. What is certain is that this is the first time that there has been such an engagement in the Middle East, and especially so quickly...

(3) Correct. The president forgets Finland, which made an identical or even greater commitment than that of Sweden

(4) Correct. In fact, Belgium is also waiting to see the French request and the joint action framework (replacement of Barkhane, European pillar in Minusma, etc.) clarified to go further. She proposed hiring a contingent of 300 personnel in the Sahel.

(5) Denmark is, for the moment, moving towards commitment to MINUSMA, already committed and decided at the time of invoking the solidarity clause (the vote in Parliament took place on November 17). It certainly contributes to the same objective: the stabilization of Mali. But we cannot talk about additional staff or resources.

(6) This is not what we perceived in the Italian attitude which was more of a polite 'no'. 'We are engaged elsewhere.' A sort of response from the shepherd to the shepherdess. Rome apparently did not appreciate slight French obstruction in European discussions for Somalia.

(7) Yes, correct, there is a debate in The Hague, also because there is an American request to engage more in strikes in Syria

(8) Correct

(9) Very correct. Many countries have very modestly wanted to commit a little more, particularly in the Sahel.

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).