Military of the European Union
|Military of the European Union
|Equipment||546 ships & 2,448 aircraft|
|Active personnel||1,551,038 (2012)|
|Budget||€192.5 billion (2012)|
|Percent of GDP||1.55% (2012)|
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The military of the European Union comprises the various initiatives of cooperation between the armed forces of the member states, both within and outside the legal framework of the union. While the policy area of defence has largely remained the domain of nation states, European integration has deepened in this field in recent years, with the framing of a Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) branch for the 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 22 of the EU member states together with four non-EU European countries (Turkey, Albania, Iceland and Norway) as well as 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.
- 1 Development
- 2 Forces and bodies
- 3 National militaries
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
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.
Western European Union
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.
Common Security and Defence Policy
Out of the 28 EU member states, 22 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. The Berlin Plus agreement is a comprehensive package of agreements made between NATO and the EU in 2002; it allows the EU to draw on some of NATO's assets in its own peacekeeping operations, subject to a "right of first refusal" in that NATO must first decline to intervene in a given crisis.
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 Lisbon
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 bodies
Within the legal framework of the union
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.
- Eurofor – rapid reaction force to be included in EUFOR missions.
- Security and Defence College
Outside the legal framework of the union
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.
- 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.
- Combined Joint Expeditionary Force – a Franco-British military force
Expenditure and personnel
The following table presents the military expenditures of the members of the European Union in euros (€). The combined military expenditure of the 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 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.
|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|
The combined component strength of the European Naval Forces is some 544 commissioned warships. Of those in service, 3 are fleet carriers, the largest of which is the 42,000 tonne Charles de Gaulle. However two 70,600 tonne Queen Elizabeth-class carriers are projected to enter service in the Royal Navy starting 2017. The EU also has 5 amphibious assault ships and 13 amphibious support ships in service. 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 ship" category includes 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, as it gives a better indication of capability.
- The Franco-Italian Horizon-class frigates, with a displacement of 7,050 tonnes, are included under "Destroyers".
|Country||Fleet carrier||Amphibious assault ship||Amphibious support ship||Destroyer||Frigate||Corvette||Patrol boat||Anti-mine ship||Missile sub.||Attack sub.||Total||Tonnage|
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 primarily includes vehicles and EU-NATO member countries under the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE treaty). Unless otherwise specified.
- The CFE treaty only includes vehicles stationed within Europe, vehicles overseas on operations are not counted.
- The "main battle tank" category also includes tank destroyers (such as the Italian B1 Centauro) or any self-propelled armoured fighting vehicle, capable of heavy firepower. According to the CFE treaty.
- The "armoured fighting vehicle" category includes any armoured vehicle primarily designed to transport infantry and equipped with an automatic cannon of at least 20 mm calibre. According to the CFE treaty.
- The "artillery" category includes self-propelled or towed howitzers and mortars of 100 mm calibre and above. Other types of artillery are not included regardless of characteristics. According to the CFE treaty.
- The "attack helicopter" category includes any rotary wing aircraft armed and equipped to engage targets or equipped to perform other military functions (such as the Apache or the Wildcat). According to the CFE treaty.
- The "military logistics vehicle" category includes logistics trucks of 4-tonne, 8-tonne, 14-tonne or larger, purposely designed for military tasking. Not under CFE treaty.
|Country||Main battle tank||Armoured fighting vehicle||Artillery||Attack helicopter||Military logistics vehicle|
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. As of 2014, it is estimated that the European Union had around 2,000 serviceable combat aircraft (fighter aircraft and ground-attack aircraft).
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 tables:
- The tables are sourced from figures provided by Flight International for the year 2014.
- Aircraft are grouped into three main types (indicated by colors): red for combat aircraft, green for aerial refueling aircraft, and grey for strategic and tactical transport aircraft.
- The two "other" columns include additional aircraft according to their type sorted by colour (i.e. the "other" category in red includes combat aircraft, while the "other" category in grey includes both aerial refueling and transport aircraft). This was done because it was not feasible allocate every aircraft type its own column.
- Other aircraft such as trainers, helicopters, UAVs and reconnaissance or surveillance aircraft are not included in the below tables or figures.
- Fighter and ground-attack
|Country||Typhoon||Tornado||Mirage 2000||Gripen||F-16||F/A-18||MiG-29||MiG-21||Harrier II||F-35||Other||Total|
|Czech Republic||14||23 L-159||33|
- Aerial refueling and transport
|Country||A330 MRTT||A310 MRTT||KC-135/707||C-17||C-130||C-160||C-27J||CN-235/C-295||An-26||A400M||Other||Total|
|Czech Republic||4||6||2 A319||12|
|UK||10||8||24||1||4 BAe 146||47|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Military of the European Union.|
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