|Military of the European Union
The coat of arms of the EU military staff
|Commander-in-Chief||28 EU heads of state|
|High Representative||Catherine Ashton|
|Director General of EUMS||Lt.Gen. Ton van Osch|
|Active personnel||1,453,028 (2012)|
|Budget||€189.6 billion (2012)|
|Percent of GDP||1.50% (2012)|
The military of the European Union comprises the several national armed forces of the Union's 28 member states, as the policy area of defence has remained primarily the domain of nation states. European integration has however been deepened in this field in recent years, with the framing of a Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) branch for the Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) as well as the creation of separate international forces revolving around the EU's defence. A number of CSDP military operations have been deployed in recent years. The principal military alliance in Europe remains NATO, which includes 21 of all EU member states as well as other non-EU European countries, Turkey, the United States and Canada.
Several prominent leaders, including former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini and former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, have voiced support for a common defence for the Union. This possibility, requiring unanimous support among the member states, was formally laid down in Article 42 of the Treaty on European Union upon the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon on 1 December 2009. Furthermore, the Treaty of Lisbon extended the enhanced co-operation provision to become available for application in the area of defence. This mechanism enables a minimum number of member states to deepen integration within the EUs institutional framework, without the necessity of participation for reluctant member states.
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Following the end of World War II and the defeat of the Axis Powers, the Dunkirk Treaty was signed by France and the United Kingdom on 4 March 1947 as a Treaty of Alliance and Mutual Assistance against a possible German attack in the aftermath of World War II. The Dunkirk Treaty entered into force on 8 September 1947. The 1948 Treaty of Brussels established the military Western Union Defence Organisation with an allied European command structure under Field Marshal Montgomery. Western European powers, except for Ireland, Sweden, Finland and Austria, signed the North Atlantic Treaty alongside the United States and Canada which only created a passive defence association until 1951 when, during the Korean War, the existing and fully functioning Western Union Defence Organisation was augmented to form the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, NATO.
In the early 1950s, France, Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries made an attempt to integrate the militaries of mainland western Europe, through the treaty establishing the European Defence Community (EDC). This scheme did however not enter into force, as it failed to obtain approval for ratification in the French National Assembly, where Gaullists feared for national sovereignty and Communists opposed a European military consolidation that could rival the Soviet Union. The failure to establish the EDC resulted in the 1954 amendment of the Treaty of Brussels at the London and Paris Conferences which in replacement of EDC established the political Western European Union (WEU) out of the earlier established military Western Union Defence Organisation and included West Germany and Italy in both WEU and NATO as the conference ended the occupation of West Germany and the defence aims had shifted from Germany to the Soviet Union.
Out of the 28 EU member states, 21 are also members of NATO. Another 3 NATO members are EU Applicants and 1 is solely a member of the European Economic Area. In 1996, the Western European Union (WEU) was tasked by NATO to implement a European Security and Defence Identity within NATO, which later was passed over to the EU Common Security and Defence Policy as all Western European Union functions were transferred to the European Union through the Lisbon Treaty. The memberships of the EU and NATO are distinct, and some EU member states are traditionally neutral on defence issues. Several of the new EU member states were formerly members of the Warsaw Pact.
Following the Kosovo War in 1999, the European Council agreed that "the Union must have the capacity for autonomous action, backed by credible military forces, the means to decide to use them, and the readiness to do so, in order to respond to international crises without prejudice to actions by NATO". To that end, a number of efforts were made to increase the EU's military capability, notably the Helsinki Headline Goal process. After much discussion, the most concrete result was the EU Battlegroups initiative, each of which is planned to be able to deploy quickly about 1500 personnel.
The EU currently has a limited mandate over defence issues, with a role to explore the issue of European defence agreed to in the Amsterdam Treaty, as well as oversight of the Helsinki Headline Goal Force Catalogue (the 'European Rapid Reaction Force') processes. However, some EU states may and do make multilateral agreements about defence issues outside of the EU structures.
On 20 February 2009 the European Parliament voted in favour of the creation of Synchronised Armed Forces Europe (SAFE) as a first step towards a true European military force. SAFE will be directed by an EU directorate, with its own training standards and operational doctrine. There are also plans to create an EU "Council of Defence Ministers" and "a European statute for soldiers within the framework of Safe governing training standards, operational doctrine and freedom of operational action".
EU forces have been deployed on peacekeeping missions from middle and northern Africa to Western Balkans and western Asia. EU military operations are supported by a number of bodies, including the European Defence Agency, European Union Satellite Centre and the European Union Military Staff. In an EU consisting of 28 members, substantial security and defence co-operation is increasingly relying on great power co-operation.
Implications of the Treaty of LisbonEdit
The entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon triggered member states of the Western European Union (WEU) to scrap the organisation, which had largely become dormant, but they have kept the mutual defence clause of the Treaty of Brussels as the basis for the EU mutual defence arrangement.
The Treaty of Lisbon also states that:
|“||The common security and defence policy shall include the progressive framing of the common defence policy. This will lead to a common defence, when the European Council, acting unanimously, so decides. (TEU, Article 42)||”|
Forces and frameworksEdit
Common Security and Defence PolicyEdit
The defence arrangements which have been established under the EU institutions are part of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), a branch of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). It should be noted that Denmark has an opt-out from the CSDP.
- European Defence Agency
- European Security and Defence Identity
- European Union Institute for Security Studies
- European Union Military Staff – supervises military operations carried out by the EU; its chief is General Henri Bentegeat, a former chief of the French Defence Staff.
- EU Battlegroup – a type of force of which there are 15, each one numbering 1,500 troops. Under direct control of the European Council.
- Helsinki Headline Goal - listing of rapid reaction forces composed of 60,000 troops managed by the European Union, but under control of the countries who deliver troops for it.
Separate initiatives by Member States that revolve around the defence of the European Union in some way or another, or acting as a European standing army.
- Eurocorps – independent military force composed of 60,000 troops that can be deployed for various missions.
- Eurofor – rapid reaction force to be included in EUFOR missions.
- European Gendarmerie Force – crisis intervention force composed of 900 personnel, with 2,300 additional personnel that can be deployed as reinforcements.
- European Air Group
- European Air Transport Command (EATC)
- European Maritime Force
- Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation
- I. German/Dutch Corps - has been extended as NATO's Response Force brigade. It includes battalions and platoons from the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Spain, Denmark, Turkey and Norway. Overall personnel come from 12 countries.
- European Defence Initiative (proposed)
- Permanent Structured Cooperation in Defence (proposed)
Military expenditure and personnelEdit
The following table presents the military expenditure of the European Union in euros (€). The combined military expenditure of the European Union Member States amounts to just over is €192.5 billion. This represents 1.55% of European Union GDP and is second only to the €503 billion military expenditure of the United States. The US figure represents 4.66% of United States GDP. European military expenditure includes spending on joint projects such as the Eurofighter Typhoon and joint procurement of equipment. The European Union's combined active military forces in 2011 totaled 1,551,038 personnel. According to the European Defence Agency, the European Union had an average of 53,744 land force personnel deployed around the world (or 3.5% of the total military personnel). In a major operation the EU could readily deploy up-to 425,824 land force personnel and sustain 110,814 of those during an enduring operation. In comparison, the US had on average 177,700 troops deployed in 2011. This represents 12.5% of US military personnel.
In a speech in 2012, Swedish General Håkan Syrén criticised the spending levels of European Union countries, saying that in the future those countries' military capability will decrease, creating "critical shortfalls".
Guide to table:
- All figure entries in the large table below are provided by the European Defence Agency. Figures from other sources are not included.
- The table is split into two distinct parts (indicated by colors): red for data regarding expenditure and green for data regarding personnel.
- The "operations & maintenance expenditure" category may in some circumstances also include finances on-top of the nations defence budget.
- The categories "troops prepared for deployed operations" and "troops prepared for deployed and sustained operation" only include land force personnel.
France and the United KingdomEdit
The United Kingdom and France are both recognised nuclear-weapon states and represent the most dominant and capable military powers within the European Union. In 2010, the United Kingdom and France accounted for 45% of Europe's defence budget, 50% of its military capacity and 70% of all spending in military research and development. The European Union Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has suggested that the The Lancaster House Treaties signed between Britain and France in 2010 may lay the foundations of a "new engine for European defence". Its publication also makes the observation that both are committed to preserving their expeditionary warfare capabilities: such as retaining the capacity to deploy a substantial number of troops during a high-intensity expeditionary operation, anywhere in the world. The BBC reported that the Lancaster House Treaties will "pool resources" of these two nations' armed forces to maintain their status as major "global defence powers".
British and French military expenditure for 2012 published in the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Yearbook 2013 using current (2010) market exchange rates in US$. Figures for active military personnel are provided by their respective Ministries of Defence.
|Country||Military expenditure ($)||% of GDP||World share %||Active military personnel|
|United Kingdom[N 1]||$62,800,000,000||2.5%||3.5%||205,810|
|Country||Military expenditure (€)||Per capita (€)||% of GDP||Operations & maintenance expenditure (€)||Active military personnel||Land troops prepared for deployed operations||Land troops prepared for deployed and sustained operations|
Militaries of Member StatesEdit
The combined component strength of the European Naval Forces is some 544 commissioned warships. Of those in service, 4 are aircraft carriers, the largest of which is the 42,000 tonne Charles de Gaulle. However British plans will see two 70,600 tonne Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers enter service starting 2018. Of the EU's 58 submarines, 21 are nuclear-powered submarines (11 UK and 10 French) while 37 are conventional attack submarines. Many European Navies do not classify destroyer sized vessels as destroyers, and instead classify them as frigates regardless of size and role. This would explain the relatively large difference between the number of destroyers and frigates in service.
Operation Atalanta (formally European Union Naval Force Somalia) is the first ever (and still ongoing) naval operation of the European Union. It is part of a larger global action by the EU in the Horn of Africa to deal with the Somali crisis. As of January 2011 twenty-three EU nations participate in the operation.
Guide to table:
- Ceremonial vessels, research vessels, supply vessels, training vessels, and icebreakers are not included.
- The table only counts warships that are commissioned (or equivalent) and active.
- Surface vessels displacing less than 200 tonnes are not included, regardless of other characteristics.
- The "amphibious support ships" category includes both amphibious transport docks and dock landing ships.
- The "anti-mine ship" category includes minesweepers and minehunters.
- Generally, total tonnage of ships is more important than total number of ships.
|Country||Aircraft carrier||Amphibious assault ship||Amphibious support ship||Destroyer||Frigate||Corvette||Patrol boat||Anti-mine ship||Missile sub.||Attack sub.||Total||Tonnage|
European Land ForcesEdit
Combined, the member states of the European Union maintain large numbers of various land-based military vehicles and weaponry.
Guide to table:
- The table is not exhaustive and can only provide approximate figures. In some cases figures are taken from articles that are known to be fairly-accurate and contain reliable sources (E.g. Modern equipment of the British Army).
- The "main battle tank" category also includes tank destroyers (such as the Italian B1 Centauro).
- The "Armoured fighting vehicle" category includes all types of armoured vehicles, such as: infantry fighting vehicles (IFV), armoured personnel carriers (APC), infantry mobility vehicles (IMV), armoured engineering vehicles (AEV), armoured recovery vehicles (ARV), armoured command vehicles and all other types.
- The "self-propelled gun" and "towed artillery" categories only include howitzers. Other types of towed or self-propelled artillery are not included regardless of characteristics.
- The "multiple rocket launcher" category is also known as "rocket artillery".
- The "attack helicopter" category only includes attack helicopters comparable in role and configuration too AgustaWestland Apache or Eurocopter Tiger types.
|Country||Main battle tank||Armoured fighting vehicle||Self-propelled gun||Towed artillery||Multiple rocket launcher||Mortar||Attack helicopter||Military logistics vehicle|
European Air ForcesEdit
The Air Forces of Europe operate a wide range of military systems and hardware. This is primarily due to the independent requirements of each member state and also the national defence industries of some member states. However such programmes like the Eurofighter Typhoon and Eurocopter Tiger have seen many European nations design, build and operate a single weapons platform. 60% of overall combat fleet was developed and manufactured by member states, 32% are US-origin, but some of these were assembled in Europe, while remaining 8% are soviet-made aircraft. In 2013 it is estimated that the European Union had around 2,000 serviceable combat aircraft (fighter aircraft and ground-attack aircraft).
Currently within the EU operates:
- Fifth-generation jet fighters (3; 48 aircraft ordered): F-35 (RAF and Royal Netherlands Air Force).
- 4.5th generation jet fighters (594): Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab JAS 39 Gripen, Dassault Rafale.
- Fourth-generation jet fighters (1096): F-16, Panavia Tornado, Dassault Mirage 2000, F/A-18, MiG-29.
- Third-generation jet fighters (129): F-4, MiG-21, Dassault Mirage F1.
- Ground-attack aircraft (196): AMX, AV-8B Harrier II, LTV A-7 Corsair II, Dassault Super Étendard, Su-22, Su-25.
The EUs air-lift capabilities are evolving with the future introduction of the Airbus A400M (another example of EU defence cooperation). The A400M is a tactical airlifter with strategic capabilities. Around 140 are initially expected to be operated by 6 member states (UK, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Spain and Belgium).
Guide to table:
- Aircraft are grouped into three main types (indicated by colors): red for combat aircraft, green for aerial refueling aircraft, and blue for transport aircraft.
- The three "other" categories include additional aircraft according to their type sorted by colour (E.g. the "other" category in red includes combat aircraft, while the "other" category in green includes aerial refueling aircraft). This was done because it was not feasible allocate every type its own category.
- The "special" category (blue) includes: AEW&C, ISTAR, SIGINT, and reconnaissance aircraft.
|Greece||44||157||50 F-4, 32 A-7||283|
|France||136||87 D. Rafale,
|Italy||87||88||55 AMX, 16 Harrier II||246|
|United Kingdom||117||102||3 F-35||222|
|Spain||40||74||16 Harrier II||152|
|Czech Republic||14||19 L-159||33|
Transport, tanker and air-lift aircraftEdit
|United Kingdom||7||8||32||4 BAe 146||51|
|Italy||21||12||KC-767, 3 A3194||40|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Military of the European Union.|
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