Due to the EU’s shortcomings in Afghanistan, officials of the 27-nation group were still shocked. They met to discuss how to improve their response to future crises and reduce their dependence on the United States.
European defense ministers and foreign ministers held talks in Slovenia on Thursday. NATO and UN officials also participated in the talks to discuss how to improve EU operational participation and develop a rapid reaction force capable of operating in difficult military theaters.
The ministers will discuss the so-called strategic compass plan, which aims to coordinate crisis management and define the European Union’s defense ambitions, and is expected to be drafted before the end of the year.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell (Josep Borrell) said upon arrival: “It is clear that after the Afghan incident, the need for strengthening Europe’s defenses has never been as obvious as it is today.”
“Some events catalyzed history,” he said. “Sometimes things happen to advance history, it creates breakthroughs, and I think the events in Afghanistan this summer are one of them.”
The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan and the subsequent emergency air operations have exposed the EU’s dependence on its allies.
Without the support of the United States, European countries will not be able to guarantee their citizens, or even their troops, to leave this war-torn country safely.
“The strategic situation and changes in geostrategy show that now we need a stronger Europe,” said Claudio Graziano, chairman of the European Military Commission. “The situations in Afghanistan, Libya, the Middle East, and the Sahel show that now is the time to take action. First, we must establish a force that can quickly enter Europe that can demonstrate the EU’s willingness as a global strategic partner. If not now, it will be too late. NS.”
But reaching a consensus among the 27 EU member states to build such a force is a daunting task. European countries bordering Russia, such as Poland and the Baltic States, often oppose the idea of autonomy. EU heavyweight Germany is also a staunch supporter of using NATO for security operations and maintaining the US defense umbrella in Europe.
However, Slovenian Defence Minister Mattei Tonin, who currently holds the rotating EU presidency, said that he believes a small number of countries support this idea.
The European Union already has a rapid response team of approximately 1,500 personnel-the so-called battle group. But they have never been used in major crises, and the EU will not deploy EU missions in active conflict areas.
Tonin said that even if there is no EU consensus, the defense ministers have begun to discuss how to quickly and effectively send soldiers abroad by removing the requirement of unanimous agreement.
“Maybe the solution is for us to invent a mechanism in which the classical majority is sufficient, and those who are willing to go can go,” he said.
“If most people in the EU decide to send troops somewhere, they can go under the name of the EU. The countries that will participate in these groups will be the willing countries. This way we will not force those who do not want to participate in this task. nation.”
The situation in the Sahel is on par with the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, as France is preparing to reduce its military presence in West Africa where hardline groups are fighting for control.
In June, French President Emmanuel Macron announced the end of Operation Crescent Grass, a seven-year fighting organization associated with Al-Qaida and ISIL in the Sahel region of Africa.
More than 5,000 soldiers in France will be reduced in the next few months, but no timetable has been given. Some observers expressed concern that the shrinking of foreign power may lead to more instability in the region.
“We have learned a very important lesson, we should not repeat the same mistakes in the Sahel,” Tonin said. “For the EU, this is more important than it is for Afghanistan. It may have even greater consequences.”