European Gendarmerie Force
|European Gendarmerie Force|
Coat of arms
|Size||~900 (Permanent personnel)
2,300 (Available on standby)
|Part of||European Union Military Staff|
|Motto(s)||Lex paciferat (Latin for "the law will bring peace")|
The European Gendarmerie Force (EUROGENDFOR or EGF) was launched by an agreement in 2006 between five member states of the European Union (EU): France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. Romania joined in 2009; Poland in 2011. Its purpose is the creation of a European intervention force with militarised police functions and specialisation in crisis management, designed after the French Gendarmerie, the Spanish Guardia Civil, and the Italian Carabinieri and its Multinational Specialized Units (M.S.U.). Its status is enshrined in the Treaty of Velsen of 18 October 2007.
The French Defence Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie first proposed the force in September 2003. Alliot-Marie and the Italian Defense Minister Antonio Martino presented the idea at the Meeting of European Union Defense Ministers in October 2003. The implementation agreement was finally signed by defence ministers of the five participating countries on 17 September 2004 in Noordwijk, Netherlands. On 23 January 2006, the EGF was officially inaugurated during a military ceremony in the Gen. Chinotto barracks in Vicenza.
The EGF was declared fully operational on 20 July 2006, following the High Level Interministerial meeting in Madrid, Spain, and its second successful Command Post exercise (CPX), which took place between 19–28 April 2006. The first CPX was held at the National Gendarmerie Training Center in Saint Astier, France in June 2005.
After Romania's accession to the European Union, the Romanian Gendarmerie sought permanent observer status with the European Gendarmerie Force, as a first step towards full membership. On March 3, 2009, the Romanian Gendarmerie became a full member of the European Gendarmerie Force.
The Polish Military Gendarmerie was originally a partner force and, on 10 October 2006, Poland indicated it would like to join the EGF. In December 2011, Poland applied for full membership in EGF, which was granted in 2011.
Since December 2009, the EGF has taken part in the NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) training operation of the Afghan National Police (ANP) in the War in Afghanistan. As of June 2010, 276 members of the EGF (among which 124 French gendarmes), from France, Spain, Netherlands, Poland and Portugal are training the Afghan National Civil Order Police (ANCOP) officers and non-commissioned officers, while the initial mission was planned to be around 400 to 500 men. They are training them in ANCOP training centers but are also accompanying, advising and helping them during their missions in P-OMLT (Police Operational Mentoring and Liaison Teams), where their military experience (even if the mission is strictly speaking civilian since it is "formation") will be useful. As of May 2010, it had trained 50 officers and 250 non-commissioned officers of the ANCOP, and the then French Minister of Defense Brice Hortefeux announced that 40 more French gendarmes would be sent to help this mission.
- French Gendarmerie
- Italian Carabinieri
- Dutch Royal Marechaussee
- Polish Military Gendarmerie
- Portuguese National Republican Guard
- Romanian Gendarmerie
- Spanish Guardia Civil
An additional 2,300 reinforcements are available on standby.
- Lithuanian Viešojo saugumo tarnyba (Public Security Service)
Germany does not take part, as its constitution does not permit the use of military forces for police services. In 2004, Peter Struck, Minister of Defense at the time, clarified that the legal foundation for militarised police forces is different from the expectations underlying the EGF. The paramilitary Bereitschaftspolizei units of the Länder states have no standing patrol order like the German Federal Police. Germany did not sign the Treaty of Velsen on the EGF or any subsequent accord. Instead, there is a tight integration of police forces based on the Prüm Treaty. Originally the Prüm Treaty regulated access to police databases of neighboring countries but it was used multiple times as the legal foundation to exchange riot police equipment and personnel with the participating countries (Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Austria, and Belgium). In 2008 the Prüm Treaty was naturalised as EU law, allowing countries access to police forces regulated under EU law (based on the Schengen agreement). The European Police Forces Training of 2009 (EUPFT 2009) was run in Vicenza (home of EGF headquarters) and the EUPFT 2010 on anti-riot tactics was run in Lehnin in Germany.
Criticisms and Public Response
The creation of the European Gendarmerie Force (EGF) has stimulated controversy worldwide, particularly within the European continent. Videos criticising and expressing concern about the EGF have been created on YouTube by citizens of many different nationalities, drawing comparisons between the EGF's use of force and pop culture depictions of dystopian societies, such as George Orwell's '1984' and the film 'V for Vendetta' . Some religious commentators have said that the creation of the EGF is linked with the coming of the anti-christ. The public perception of the EGF is vastly different to the way in which the EGF is portrayed through their own website - as a multinational co-operation of police, which focuses on peacekeeping and providing support and aid to countries outside of the EU. The discussions taking place about the EGF online paint a very different picture of a paramilitary style force, which is used to intervene in other nations and promote the dominance of EU forces in the global community.
Over the past decade there has been massive expansion in the number of security-related EU institutions, and a significant number of these efforts involve the development of military capabilities. Fundamentally these developments are intended to enhance the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). The EGF was launched in 2004 by an intergovernmental agreement among five EU member states, with the intention of creating a more structured solution to responding to CSDP military/police missions. However, since its creation there has been much speculation about what the role of the EGF actually is – academic literature argues that the development of the EGF reveals increasing amounts of confusion surrounding the specific purpose of the EGF and more importantly how it actually relates to the EU. The EGF has been created to operate outside the EU framework, despite the fact that its missions overlap directly with that of the CSDP. Thus making providing evidence for its efforts somewhat unnecessary. To further add to this point, the EGF can also be seen as a somewhat redundant force when taking into account the fact that it was designed to serve primarily the EU and relies on the same forces already made available to the EU by EGF members, as part of the ‘civilian crisis management capabilities’ catalogue.
The EGF has been majorly misinterpreted by the general European public and European policy-makers, it is seen as a kind of “out-of-EU” police force undertaking “out-of-EU” police missions – it is argued by some academics that these misinterpretations are presumably due to the impulsive way in which it was created, and the way it has been presented to the public. The creation of the EGF has been ‘justified’ by its member states as highlighting an apparent ‘security gap’, yet academics have criticised whether it has actually added any value, particularly considering existing EU capabilities appear to be able to handle any apparent security issues. Further, academics have also criticised the EGF for forcing its own views on what the role of police should be onto countries outside of the EU, and in this way trying to establish its methods as the dominant form of policing used across the world.
- Association of the European and Mediterranean Police Forces and Gendarmeries with Military Status
- Common Security and Defence Policy
- EU Battlegroup
- European Defense Agency
- European Maritime Force
- European Security Strategy
- European Union Military Staff
- "European Gendarmerie Force". Żandarmeria Wojskowa. Retrieved 2013-12-31.
- Giovanni Arcudi & Michael E. Smith (2013), The European Gendarmerie Force: a solution in search of problems?, European Security, 22:1, 1-20, DOI: 10.1080/09662839.2012.747511
- Eurogendfor.org, Treaty establishing the European Gendarmerie Force, accessed on January 24, 2014
- (Romanian) Politica europeană - Forţa de Jandarmerie Europeană (European Policy - European Gendarmerie Force), Romanian Gendarmerie website, accessed on January 22, 2009
- Eurogendfor.eu, EGF News, accessed on March 23, 2009
- "Poland expresses readiness to join European Gendarmerie Force", October 10, 2006
- "News" section, March 25, 2012
- (French) Des gendarmes picards bientôt en Afghanistan, Nord Éclair, 12 June 2009
- http://www.assemblee-nationale.fr/13/cr-cafe/09-10/c0910077.asp (French) report from the commission on Foreign matters of the French Parliament
- http://www.interieur.gouv.fr/sections/a_la_une/toute_l_actualite/affaires-europeennes/gendarmes-en-afghanistan/view (French), "Gendarmes in Afghanistan", French Internals affairs Ministry website
- http://www.interieur.gouv.fr/sections/a_la_une/toute_l_actualite/affaires-europeennes/deplacement-afghanistan/view (French) "Brice Hortefeux honours the contribution of French policemen and gendarmes to the Afghan police training", French Internals affairs Ministry website
- "European gendarmes to beef up Haiti security". euronews. Retrieved 3 September 2010.
- "Members". European Gendarmerie Force. Retrieved 2013-12-31.
- "Partners". European Gendarmerie Force. Retrieved 2013-12-31.
- "Observers". European Gendarmerie Force. Retrieved 2013-12-31.
- "Des gendarmes européens en renfort", 17/09/2004
- DerStandard.at, Welche Befugnisse hat die Europäische Gendarmerietruppe?, accessed on February 20, 2016
- "Von Vicenza nach Lehnin", Bundespolizei kompakt (German federal police journal), February 2010