A new impetus for Europe’s security and defence
Very early in his term of office, the President of France sets out his proposals for revitalising European defence.
In order to maintain the positive momentum built up since December 2011 behind the reinforcement of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) – as demonstrated by the launch of two CSDP missions in the summer of 2012, one in Niger and the other in the Horn of Africa, in addition to the identification of concrete projects in the field of military capacity in December 2011 - France organised a meeting in Paris on 15 November 2012 of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers of the Weimar Plus Group (France, Germany, Poland, Italy and Spain). The purpose of the meeting was to formulate proposals on the CSDP ahead of future European elections. The meeting’s outcome proposal was circulated to the High Representative, the European Commission, the Council, member States and the press. The ministers called in particular for enhanced efforts on current security issues, in particular in Mali, Libya, Syria and the Balkans.
An initial debate was held at the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) meeting of 19 November 2012, prior to the adoption by the European Council of 13 and 14 December 2012 of ambitious conclusions in preparation for the European Council of December 2013, which will be devoted to defence and security matters. These conclusions reflect France’s main concerns:
as regards operations and crisis management, reiterating that CSDP missions and operations are an essential element of the EU’s comprehensive approach in crisis regions (see communication from the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the Commission on the comprehensive approach, due in spring 2013), and calling for strengthening of the EU’s ability to deploy the right civilian and military personnel rapidly and effectively on the ground;
as regards capabilities, referring to the need for a more systematic and longer-term European defence cooperation, including through the "pooling and sharing" of military capabilities;
on the industrial front, referring to the need to develop the European defence technological and industrial base and to develop greater synergies between civilian and military research and development, and to implement the Defence Package directives;
France’s aim now is to prepare for the European Council of December 2013, in conjunction with all the European partners keen to take the CSDP forward. France has set the following priorities, reflecting the objectives set out in the conclusions of the European Council of December 2012:
increase the effectiveness of the CSDP: reinforce the role of the CSDP in the comprehensive approach. As part of this process, the reactivation of EUBAM Rafah (EU Border Assistance Mission in the Palestinian Territories) and planning for a support mission in Libya are considered strategic objectives, in addition to the launch of EUTM Mali (EU Training Mission in Mali);
develop defence capabilities: reinforce the role and resources of the European Defence Agency for better identification of priorities;
strengthen Europe’s defence industry: overcome divergences between member States in order to consolidate Europe’s defence technological and industrial base.
Updated on : 02.13