On day one of an informal meeting in Slovenia, EU defence ministers on Thursday started discussions on setting up the bloc’s own rapid reaction force.
The start of the two-day conference of EU defence and foreign affairs ministers, hosted by the Slovenian government in Brdo, assuming the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, was mainly dedicated to assessing lessons from last month’s crisis in Afghanistan.
The first lesson is “that the deficiencies in our strategic autonomy come with a price and that the only way forward is to combine our forces and strengthen not only our capacity but also our will to act,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters after the meeting.
In an interview earlier this week Borrell advocated for setting up a rapidly deployable 5,000-strong EU army, and ahead of the ministers’ discussions compared the latest developments in Afghanistan to “events that catalyze history, that create a breakthrough.”
After the meeting’s first day, he said such a military force “would have helped us to provide a security perimeter for the evacuation of European Union citizens in Kabul,” the Afghan capital.
He also stressed that the new force would “strengthen further our military command and control capabilities” and “address capability shortfalls” through joint military projects.
EU ministers will discuss in the detail the plans on the EU rapid reaction force – officially called the Initial Entry Force – during their next meeting in November.
According to Slovenian Defense Minister Matej Tonin, the decision-making procedure should be accelerated so that they could finalize it by next spring.
However, it is not certain if the plan will pass since it requires the unanimous approval of all 27 EU member states.
Via Anadolu with inputs from GVS