Ireland: ‘The Depressing Saga of Europe’s Battle Groups’

NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE

One wonders what sort of homework that Irish TDs who voted this week to support the latest Battlegroup deployment had done. Precious little I would warrant.

Even Defence Minister, Simon Coveney TD, if he was not being disingenuous, was ‘of the page’ describing the force as being ‘better described as a peace management force’!

Since the decision Celtic League has been researching the origins and evolution of the Battlegroups concept and it makes depressing reading. Indeed one of the articles we studied on the Carnegie Europe website was entitled ‘The Depressing Saga of Europe’s Battle Groups’.

It is clear also that the concept was born out of the Anglo-French summit at St Malo in December 1998 which called for credible autonomous EU military forces this evolved into the short-lived European Rapid Reaction Force and even at that early stage this was always seen as a compliment to and support for NATO.

Eventually in 2004 the Battlegroups concept was born but its viability has always been in doubt only two years ago (Nov 2013) in a paper the European Union Institute for Strategic Studies said this:

“The EU Battlegroups (BGs) reached Full Operational Capability on 1 January 2007. However, they have never been deployed since, raising serious doubts about the viability of the overall initiative and its future usefulness. While the BG Concept per se offered the potential to spur the development of European expeditionary capabilities (and improved interoperability through joint planning, training and exercises, and ultimately deployment), it quickly ran into stumbling blocks which have considerably hindered its successful execution. If the EU member states really want the Battlegroups to be Europe’s flagship military rapid response tool, they may have to address the challenges – particularly resource constraints and lack of political will and commitment – that continue to plague the BGs’ credibility and effectiveness.”

As NATO increasingly squares up to confront and encircle the Russian Federation it has shown itself adept at creating adjuncts to its core membership (such as the so called ‘partnership for peace’) and the EU Battlegroups concept comes from the same stable.

In engaging with the flawed and dubious Battlegroups project the Dail this week has placed Irish armed forces in a situation where they may yet confront States with whom Ireland has no quarrel and their role and actions will lack the International legitimacy that UN mandates have given them hitherto.

Links

Carnegie Europe:

https://carnegieeurope.eu/strategiceurope/?fa=53975

Atlantic Council

https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/natosource/visegrad-countries-may-turn-eu-battlegroup-into-permanent-v4-rapid-reaction-force

EU – ISS

https://www.iss.europa.eu/uploads/media/Brief_40_EU_Battlegroups.pdf

BERNARD MOFFATT

Issued by: The Celtic News

08/10/15

THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE

The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues

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