Military of the European Union
|Military of the European Union
The coat of arms of the EU military staff
|Commander-in-Chief||27 EU heads of state|
|High Representative||Catherine Ashton|
|Director General of EUMS||Lt.Gen. Ton van Osch|
|Budget||€200 billion (2012)|
|Percent of GDP||2% (2012)|
This article is part of the series:
The military of the European Union comprises the several national armed forces of the Union's 27 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 the 27 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.
Additionally, 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.
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 27 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.
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".
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)||”|
The United Kingdom and France
The United Kingdom and France represent the EU's two most dominant global military powers and are the only nuclear powers in the EU. Together, the United Kingdom and France account for 40% of Europe's defence budget, 50% of its military capacity and 70% of all spending in military research and development. The 2010 Anglo French defence treaty will "pool resources" of these two nations' armed forces to maintain their status as major "global defence powers". France and the United Kingdom will also work jointly with nuclear weapons, "testing will be carried out in France and the technology will be developed in the UK."
|Rank||Country||Spending ($ Bn.)||% of GDP||World Share (%)|
European military expenditure
The following list presents the military expenditure of the European Union in euros (€) for the year 2010. The combined military expenditure of the 27 EU member states is €194 billion. This represents 1.6% of European Union GDP, second only to the €392 ($533.8) billion military expenditure of the United States. The US figure represents 4.8% of United States GDP. The EU figures include the spending for joint projects such as the Eurofighter and joint procurement of equipment.
|Hypothetically combined EU military expenditure compared to the United States
and the five largest European defence spenders.
|Country||Spending (€)||% of GDP|
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".
Militaries of Member States
European military personnel
The European Union's combined active military forces in 2009 totalled 1,668,537 personnel. As of 2009, The 26 European Defence Agency member states had an average of 67,767 land force personnel deployed around the world (4% of the total military personnel). In a major operation the EU could readily deploy 443,103 land force personnel and of those can sustain 106,754 in an enduring operation. In comparison, the US deployed on average almost 200,000 troops. This represents 14% of US military personnel. Denmark is not an EDA member, but is a member state of the European Union, thus bringing the total manpower of the combined EU military to 1,695,122 personnel.
Figures for the EU's reserve personnel and paramilitary forces are provided by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (a British research institute). Figures are provided for the year 2010.
|A chart showing the combined strength
of the EU's active duty personnel compared
to other military powers. EU figures sourced
from the EDA. (Note: 100 = 1 million)
|Country||Active personnel||Reserve personnel||Paramilitary personnel||Total personnel|
|The EU's fighter and strike aircraft fleet
compared to other military powers.
European Air Forces
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. In 2013 it is estimated that the European Union had around 2,000 serviceable main combat aircraft (fighter aircraft and ground-attack aircraft). Currently within the EU operates:
- Fifth-generation jet fighters: F-35 - 2 (ordered 359).
- 4.5th generation jet fighters: Eurofighter Typhoon - 229 (ordered 160).
- Fourth-generation jet fighters: mainly F-16 - 352, Panavia Tornado - 308, Dassault Mirage 2000 - 200, Saab Gripen - 158, F/A-18 - 128, Dassault Rafale - 91, MiG-29 - 59 and other.
- Third-generation jet fighters: F-4 - 73, MiG-21 - 48, Dassault Mirage F1 - 35, Dassault-Breguet Super Étendard - 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 5 member states (UK, France, Germany, Spain and Belgium).
|Mirage 2000||Mirage F1||Saab
|France||159||13||91 (+185) Dassault Rafale,
25 Super Étendard
|United Kingdom||100||104||2 F-35 (+136)||179
|Italy||45 (+35)||70||49 AMX,
ordered 90 F-35
|Spain||31 (+40)||22||74||16 Harrier||143
|Netherlands||74||ordered 85 F-35||74
|Czech Republic||12||19 L-159||31|
|Denmark||36||ordered 48 F-35||36
Transport, tanker and air-lift aircraft
|United Kingdom||4||8||32||13 VC10/TriStar, 4 BAe 146||61|
European Land Forces
|Major warships (aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers,
frigates, submarines, amphibious warfare ships ) of
the EU compared to other military powers.
The European Union's combined naval force consists of over 600 commissioned warships, this number does not include auxiliary, survey or support ships. The European Union possesses 5 aircraft carriers, (the largest of which is the 40,000 ton Charles de Gaulle) and a large number of amphibious assault ships. This gives the EU significant power projection capabilities. The United Kingdom is currently building 2 (65,000 ton) Queen Elizabeth class carriers. Of the EU's 58 submarines, 21 are Nuclear submarines (11 UK and 10 French) while 39 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. Of the 111 major surface combatants in service within European navies, 19 are classified as "Destroyers" and 92 as "Frigates" (these figures exclude 11 light frigates of the French Navy and 4 of the Italian Navy).
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.
Forces and frameworks
Common Security and Defence Policy
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)
In 2004, EU countries took over leadership of the mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina from NATO through the European Union Force (EUFOR). The mission was given the branding of an EU initiative as the EU sponsored the force to further the force's image of legitimacy. There have been other deployments such as in Gaza and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2007, the then European High Representative for Foreign Policy, Javier Solana indicated the EU could send troops to Georgia, perhaps alongside Russian forces.
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 with no current assignments.
- 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. The standing corps of 1200 has been increased to 8500 during the NFOR-4 turn.
- proposed European Defence Initiative
- proposed Permanent Structured Cooperation in Defence.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Military of the European Union|
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- Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe
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