Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

EU's defence project sidelined in Libya crisis

by Staff Writers
Brussels (AFP) March 30, 2011
As NATO gallops into the Libyan conflict, the European Union's grand defence project is left watching from the sidelines, with little enthusiasm among EU states to kick it into high gear, analysts say.

The 27-nation bloc wrote into its Lisbon Treaty, now 15 months old, ambitious plans to deepen military cooperation between EU states with the ultimate goal of building a common security and defence policy.

But the Libyan revolution has put a spotlight on the listlessness of the European defence agenda.

Tired of waiting for the project to move forward, one of its main champions, France, decided in November to strike a major bilateral cooperation agreement with Britain.

Paris and London "decided to do what the EU had desperately tried to do for a decade," said Federico Santopinto, expert at the Brussels-based GRIP defence research centre.

"They began a partial but concrete process of military sharing in the hope of maintaining their global reputation, saving money at the same time," he said.

The Libyan crisis, where Britain and France are playing major roles in a US-led bombing campaign against Moamer Kadhafi's forces, was "the first chance" for the pair to "put theory into practice", he added.

By teaming up with Britain, a sceptic of the European defence project, France is hitting back at EU partners, most notably Germany, that have shown little interest in moving forward, the analyst said.

Despite the lack of progress in the European common defence policy, EU ambassadors are mulling a military operation to help support any mission to protect Libyan refugees.

But as one disenchanted European diplomat put it, "we will only put it in place if we are sure that we will not have to use it."

The US-led coalition is handing off all military operations to NATO, and the staunchest backers of the transatlantic alliance within Europe may want NATO to handle humanitarian missions too.

"The EU's security and defence policy is closed until further notice," the diplomat said.

Britain has consistently opposed the creation of a European military headquarters or boosting the European Defence Agency, whose budget it insisted on freezing this year.

After launching the military campaign in Libya with France, the EU's other big military power, London finally stepped back, leaving Paris in the lurch by joining the calls for NATO to take over the mission.

Francois Heisbourg, special adviser to the Security Research Foundation in Paris, said the death bells for EU defence tolled with the appointment of Catherine Ashton as EU foreign and security policy chief in 2009.

"She has no interest at all in common security and defence policy," Heisbourg said.

The policy will go nowhere as long as European powers -- Germany, France, Britain, Spain, Italy and Poland -- "don't show more enthusiasm to invest politically and militarily in European defence," he said.

European defence could end up in the dustbins of EU history, like the Euratom nuclear project from the 1950s.

"Libya shows that with the instruments at our disposal now, European defence is not working. We need to find new ones," said a Polish diplomat, whose country take over the rotating EU presidency in July for six months, hoping to relaunch the project.

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
The Military Industrial Complex at
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Typhoon's Libya debut seen as sales boost
Cairo (UPI) Mar 25, 2011
The Eurofighter Typhoon has flown its first combat missions over Libya as part of Operation Odyssey Dawn, giving a boost to its European makers' drive to sell the $120 million, delta-winged fighter in big-ticket strike jet deals in Japan and India. "It never hurts to have the 'as used in combat' stamp," said Francis Tusa, editor of the Defense Analysis newsletter. The Typhoons fr ... read more

LockMart Awarded THAAD Production Contract

LockMart Huntsville Integrated Test Center To Support For Missile Defense

Israel deploys 'Iron Dome' anti-rocket system

US Welcomes Mutually Reinforcing Missile Defense Cooperation With Russia

Rocket slams into Israel city as Gaza violence spirals

Taiwan missile test flops again

Russia to double missile production from 2013: Putin

China aims new missile at Taiwan: intelligence chief

Northrop Grumman Submits Final Proposal For NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance

Northrop Grumman Ships First Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Fuselage

Dassault, BAE press ahead with drone plan

Mexico defends decision to use US drones in drug war

Raytheon BBN Technologies To Protect Internet Comms For Military Abroad

Gilat Announces New Military Modem For Robust Tactical Satcom-On-The-Move

Advanced Emulation Accelerates Deployment Of Military Network Technologies

Tactical Communications Group Completes Deployment Of Ground Support Systems

LockMart Rolls Out First Special Operations MC-130J Combat Shadow II

S. American security firms heavily armed

LockMart Delivers 8,000th Combat Computing Unit To US Navy

PEO Ammo Picks Up 155mm Lightweight Howitzer Program

U.S., Italy battle for Turkish helo deal

EU's defence project sidelined in Libya crisis

Emirates invests heavily in arms industry

Typhoon's Libya debut seen as sales boost

China's Hu warns Sarkozy on Libya strikes

Outside View: Illusions, delusions of war

Putin's animal antics questioned in Russia

Crucial EU summit split on Libya, upset by Portugal

Scientists Build World's First Anti-Laser

Yale scientists build 'anti-laser'

'Air laser' could find bombs at a distance

ONR Achieves Milestone In Free Electron Laser Program

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement