In a significant development, a draft EU plan shows that the bloc is weighing an option to create a joint military force of up to 5,000 troops by 2025 which can intervene in a range of crises without relying on the United States.
According to the confidential 28-page document dated November 9, the “EU Rapid Deployment Capacity” will be made up of land, sea and air forces that could be swapped in and out of any standing force, depending on the nature of the crisis.
Defense and foreign from the EU debated the plan on Monday evening in Brussels with the discussions set to continue on Tuesday. The final document is likely to emerge in March 2022.
“We need more rapidity, robustness and flexibility to undertake the full range of military crisis management tasks,” states the draft. “We need to be able to respond to imminent threats or quickly react to a crisis situation, for example a rescue and evacuation mission or a stabilisation operation in a hostile environment”.
Not all 27 EU states would will need to take part of the joint military force, although approval of any deployment will need their consensus.
The document, called Strategic Compass, is the closest thing the EU could have to a military doctrine, similar to the U.S.-led NATO’s “Strategic Concept” that sets the alliance’s goals.
Crucially for the EU, Borrell wants EU states to commit to “providing associated assets and the necessary strategic enablers”. This will mean that the bloc will need to develop long-range air transport, logistics, as well as command and control capabilities.
The Trump Administration has urged the EU to invest in deployable troops saying the move would complement NATO.
Although the EU has maintained battlegroups of 1,500 troops since 2007, they have however never been deployed in a conflict.
Breaking up the battlegroups into smaller units could make them more flexible and more deployable.
“The use of modules will give us greater flexibility to tailor our force to the nature of the crisis … This is key if we want to overcome the obstacles that we have faced in the past,” states the document.