Future of the Eurocorps
Strasbourg, 12 May 2016
At a meeting with members of the Eurocorps
in Strasbourg Karl von Wogau, Secretary General of the Kangaroo Group
and Honorary Member of the European Parliament, stated
that the Eurocorps should be moved into the center of the Common
Security and Defence Policy. It should become the Preferred Headquarter
of the European Union. Moreover its five framework nations
France, Germany, Spain, Belgium and Luxembourg should take the decision
to put the Eurocorps at the permanent disposal of the European Union.
“The European Union is at a crossroads
concerning the European Security and Defence Policy. In the Security
strategy of 2003 we still could say that Europe was never so
prosperous, so free and so secure. Events in Ukraine, Syria, and Libya
have profoundly changed this picture. Moreover, we are confronted with
increasing instability at our borders, proliferation of
arms, terrorism and hybrid warfare. If we continue to believe in an
autonomous European Security and Defence Policy, we have to strengthen
the instruments which have been created since the summits of
Helsinki and Cologne.
The missions using the instruments of the
Common Security and Defence Policy have had a very low profile.
Operations in Congo, Chad, the Horn of Africa and Mali have
been reported in the media as missions of the participating nations.
There has been almost no awareness that these were missions of the
European Union and that these soldiers were serving under the
At this point, we have to make a choice:
Either we abandon the idea of an autonomous European Security and
Defence Policy, or we have to demonstrate by an initiative
that this idea is still alive.
I therefore propose an initiative of the
Framework Nations to make the Eurocorps a center piece of the European
Security and Defence Policy.
This initiative will have to start with a
smaller group of member countries as it was also the case with Schengen
and the Euro. The framework nations of the Eurocorps
with France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Luxembourg and later Poland
represent a good mixture of big, medium and small member countries. This
combination has been a good recipe for successful
initiatives in the past. I therefore think that this group of countries
would be well suited to start this project. It could take the form of a
simple agreement. At a later stage, it could feed into
a Permanent Structured Cooperation.
That would mean that the Framework Nations
would decide as a first step to put the Eurocorps at the permanent
disposal of the European Union as it has been proposed by
the European Parliament. It would also mean that the Eurocorps becomes
the Preferred Headquarter of the European Union whatever operation is
involved. This would streamline the sometimes very time
consuming procedures because unlike the national headquarters the
Eurocorps is already multinationalized. This of course implies some
major changes in governance, proceedings and capabilities.
In addition to this,
common equipment concerning Telecommunication, Navigation and
observation should be developed. This could partly be financed
from the Budget of the European Union. We should also look for solutions
concerning the very different social situations of the soldiers
deployed in common European operations.
As a long term goal we have to build the
European pillar of Nato. We will have to convince our American friends,
who have always been critical against what they call a
European caucus, that it is better to have a strong partner instead of
having 27 weak ones. Today we have a Nato of 1 plus 27. We should head
toward a Nato relying on the US as a superpower, the
European Union as a strong European partner plus several other allies
with different levels of strength. But at the same time we have to
convince our European Governments to take more responsibility
for the Security of our continent and to organize themselves in a way to
make this possible.
The Eurocorps should become not only a
useful instrument, but also a symbol for a Europe that contributes more
to its own security”.