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Home arrow newsitems arrow EuroCorps Franco-German ingoing+outgoing Commanders Kolodziej+Weigt to EF: Experience for EU Army+?

EuroCorps Franco-German ingoing+outgoing Commanders Kolodziej+Weigt to EF: Experience for EU Army+?

Written by ACM
Thursday, 05 September 2019


*Strasbourg/Pavillon Josephine/Angelo Marcopolo/- Replying to "Eurofora"'s Questions at the Official Press Conference of EuroCorps' Leadership, on the occasion of the Bi-Annual "Change of Command", for 2019-2021, Chaired by German Army's Chief of Staff, General Eberhard Zorn, Both EuroCorps' Commanders, the out-going General Jurgen Weigt (Germany), and the incoming General Laurent Kollodziej (France), ensured on the Trasmission of a Rare Experience for the EU and NATO, and Highlighted the Perspectives towards an eventual Creation of a European Army in the Future :



- Speaking on behalf of the Group of 5 Chiefs of Staff from Eurocorps' Framework Nations (See Infra), the Highest Body, the Chairing General Zorn, German Army's Chief, started, in a Perfect French, by reminding that he had served already at the Franco-German Brigade, as well as to the Allies' Chiefs of Staff (Headquarters) in Paris". ...

 - "For me, EuroCorps is the "Hard Core" for a Common Defense in Europe, but Also for serving NATO" here, "and I am Glad that we have Reached that level", he stressed from the outset.

- "Eurofora", invited to raise a Question, observed that all involved had Spoken Both about EuroCorps' unique Experience, as well as about its Future Perspectives for the EU and NATO. Thus, we Asked How they believed that this Valuable Acquired Experience could be Saveguarded, Transmitted and Valorized Both Inside EuroCorps itself, and throughout All Europe, as well as which Main, Short and/or Long-Term Perspectives they could Highlight for it in the foreseable Future, particularly in relation with European Defense, given also EU's forthcoming 2020 Debates on its Overhaul ("New Foundation").



 - "My Reply is TwoFold : At First, I think that the Experience Acquired on the Spot (on the Theaters of Operations), and/or in the Preparations for NATO's Reaction Force, is mainly Incorporated into Each Individual Soldier, and, thus, Transmitted to the (Framework) Nations", observed Eurocorps' out-going Commander, the German General Weigt.

- And "I think that it has a Considerable Added Value, Both for Us, EuroCorps, and the Nations", he added. "Because, f.ex., the Soldiers who have been Living, Every Day, what Multi-Nationality means" in real practice, "it's even More Important than to simply describe Concepts, or form some centers of excellence, etc, because that's something which happened Once in the Past. Naturally, this Know-How should also be ReViewed and OverHauled in the Future. But, for me, the Most Important Memory's Added Value is the Individual Soldier, who has Acquired a know-how, and is able to Transmit it to his immediate environment".

 + "Moreover, all these operations, naturally have also consequences and leave their traces even on Basic Documents, the Tactics and the Concepts which Result from all those operational Experiences, and that we are Trying to Integrate into our Doctrine, which is made from our Everyday Practical Life", he added.


- Weigt had Earlier evoked Also the Idea of a kind of "Network", Speaking in front of 5 Former Commanders of EuroCorps, with almost All of whom, "Eurofora" had already cooperated in the Past, (See, f.ex., among others, also : ..., etc).

+ And, concerning the Future, he had expressed the view that, in fact, "EuroCorps is More than just a Military Unit", because, "SInce its Inception, in 1992, it has been regarded (also) as a ...Symbol of Peace and ReConciliation in Europe", added to its "MultiNational Design, and ...Legitimacy", to the point that it could be also  "viewed as a Catalyst of Political - Military European Cooperation", particularly "at a Moment when Europe is in Need of Visible Symbols of Unity".



 - "I have something to Add to the Reply (to "Eurofora"s Questions : Comp. Supra) given by General Weigt", intervened, afterwards, the French General Kolodziel :

- "He Described how this Eurocorps - Tool Develops its Expertise. Concerning the Perspectives about NATO and/or EU, this Tool is very Flexible and Multi-Facet" :

- "F.ex., it is Able to Work, Alternatively, for one Structure, or anOther. Knowing that the Procedures are, generally, the Same, and that it's the Political Framework of the Decision-Making, which will, finally, be Decisive", as he pointed out.

+ And, "at any case, Regarding that Issue of European Defense, this Tool (Eurocorps) is an Important Brick !", the French General stressed.

- "It's not the only one, and, when you place it on a Wider Perspective, and you Compare it with Other Initiatives, (such as, f.ex., the European Initiative for Action, the Structural Cooperation, the European Defense Fund, etc),  you understand that  the Building is under Construction) !", nowadays.    

- "Step by Step, since the Europeans are Numerous, and it's certainly Not Easy, in everyday life, but Steps are Made, and the Structures exist", he Optimisticaly advanced.

- "Eurocorps has Now, become Mature, (and) it's an Important Brick, in that overall Conglomerate, and takes its place in what we could Call, Today, an Arsenal   for the Benefit of Europeans, which Becomes More and More Interesting", he positively concluded.            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         + In Addition, he reacted affirmatively also to anOther "Eurofora"'s observation, of the Fact that, since the New Eurocorps' Commander, was also known for having received an Advanced Knowledge of Cooperation with the UK, in matters of Defense, (by having, f.ex., Studied and Worked in London, etc), in case of BREXIT, he might, perhaps, be Invited also to Contribute in a foreseen EU - UK Joint Security/Defense Policy in the Future :     

- "Absolutely. All this is still On the Making, in a Period of Changes", General Laurent Kolodziej Flexibly replied to "Eurofora" with a smile, without excluding anything of the sort, a priori.


Earlier, he had indicated (as well as Weigt) that, on 2020, Eurocors is due to become a NATO's Reaction Force (NRF), while on 2021 it might be mandated by the EU for various Missions abroad.  




EuroCorps has already been used by NATO Twice in the Former Yugoslavia's area of Western Balkans : at Bosnia-Herzegovina and at Kosovo, as well as also Twice at Afghanistan, (including in order to assume the role of ISAF's Chief of Staff), etc.

Followed 2 EU Missions in Africa, initialy at Mali, and afterwards also in Central-Africa.      



Composed mainly by 5 Framework Nations, (France, Germany, Spain, Luxembourg and Belgium), EuroCorps is also Networked with several Other European Nations, paticularly via a Permanent presence in Strasbourg of "Liaison Officers", such as, f.ex., Poland (which had even thought to become a New Framework Nation, recently), Italy, Greece and Romania.


Including More than 1.000 Men and Women, at its HeadQuarters in Strasbourg, (40O Staff and 650 Brigade), EuroCorps is a Multi-National and Multi-Modal body, Governed, each 2 Years, by a Commander General from its Framework Countries, on a Rotating basis, (Comp. Supra).

EU Parliament has, often, Strongly Supported EuroCorps, as the main ingredient for the creation of an "Autonomous" European Defense in the Future. 

Meanwhile, for the 1st Time in History, as New EU Commission's President, for the period of 2019-2024, has been recently Elected the former Long-Time Minister of Defense from Germany, Ursula von der Leyen.





Today, the outgoing Eurocorps' Commander, German General Weight, symbolically gave its Flag for his successor, the incoming new Eurocorps' Commander, French General Kolodzej, for the period of 2019-2021, to whom it was Officialy transmitted by the Chairing, German Army's Chief of Staff, General Zorn,  during the Bi-Annual Ceremony for "Change of Command", attended by many Military and Political Invitees,



whose presentation to the European/International Medias was carefully organized by the incoming and outcoming Chiefs of Eurofora's Press Service, Colonels Pfau and Decker, respectively, who had, previously, kindly debated with "Eurofora" about the Best practical way to deal with the details concerning the Press Coverage of this 2019 Event by the accredited Journalists, from Photos up to the Press Conference, etc., as well as possible Next Events in the foreseable Future.



"Eurofora"'s co-Founder has followed and Published on "EuroCorps"' interesting developments and perspectives during Many Years, almost since its creation, already from the 1990ies, (in our initial, 15 Years work for "TCWeekly" Newspaper, as well as in parallel at "MPAgency", etc : f.ex., starting by one of the 1st Eurocorps' "PIO" Chiefs, Colonel ROGER's replies to our questions, etc), and, more Recently, at "Eurofora", during the latest 12 Years (2007-2019), among others, also, f.ex. :

- Several EUROCORPS' COMMANDERS Generals' Replies to "Eurofora"s Questions on various Topical Issues, as, f.ex., by: Spanish General Pedro PITARCH (2008) http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/irish/eurocorpsgets15.html ; German Lieutenant General Hans-Lothar DOMROESE (2009) http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/lisbonrightsdefence.html ; French General Olivier DE BAVINCHOV, and ISAF's Chief of Staff (7/2011) http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eurocorpsinafganistan.html , and (1/2012) http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eurocorpsafghaistanlibya.html , as well as on 12/2012 (Replying Directly from Aghanistan's ISAF Headquarters) http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eurocorpsroleafterafghanistan.html ; but also Together with the Incoming new Commander, Belgian General Guy BUCHSENSCHMIDT (6/2013) http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eurocorpscommandersoneuautonomytools.html ; Reply by Commander General, Belgian Guy BUCHSENSCHIDT to Our Question, in an EU Parliament's meeting (11/2014) http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eurocoprschiefoneuropeandefense.html ; Spanish General Alfredo RAMIREZ (2016) http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eurocorpscommanderreadytogoforeudefensepolicy.html ; German General Jurgen WEIGT (2017) http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eurocorpsandeumoves.html ; (etc).

+ See Also, f.ex., on EUROCORPS' 15th ANNIVERSARY (2008) http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/irish/eurocorpsgets15.html ; French JHA Minister, (+former Defense, Foreign Policy) Michelle ALLIOT-MARIE, on NATO Summit's preparations (2009) http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/mamnato.html ;  Replies to Our Questions, by French Defense Minister, Gerard LONGUET (10/2011) http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/frenchdefenceministerlonguetoneupolicy.html ; and by Deputy Commander of Eurocorps' Staff, German General Walter SPINDLER (1/2012) http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eurocorpsinafghanistanpakistaniborders.html ; French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves DRIAN to "Eurofora" on Dual Civic-Military Policy (12/2012) http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/frenchdefenceministerondualpolicy.html ; Eurocorps' Chief of Staff, Belgian General Guy BUCHSENSCHMIDT's Reply to Our Questions (12/2012) http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eurocorpsroleafterafghanistan.html ; French Defense Deputy Minister Kader ARIF's (former EU Parliament's Rapporteur) Reply to Our Question (1/2013) ;  http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eurocorpsandesdp.html ; Eurocorps' Press Chief PIO, Belgian Colonel Eddy BOOGHS' Replies to Our Questions (1/2014) ;  http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eurocorpsflexibilityandplurimodalityrole.html ; French Minister of Defense, Jean-Yves DRIAN's Reply to Our Question on ISIS' Terrorism (11/2014) http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/frenchdefenseministerdrianonisis.html ; and by next Eurocorps' PIO Chief, Colonel DALMAU (12/2015) http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eurocorpsspokesmanoneusummit.html ; 25th ANNIVERSARY and a relevant Franco-German Summit (7/2017) http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/francogermanmoveondefensetech.html ; Reply to Our Question by Eurocorps' German Press Officer Lieutenant-Colonel KIRCHENBAUER (9/2017) http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eurocorpsanddrones.html ; PESCO Event on Defense High-Tech. Research Funding at EU Summit in Brussels (12/2017) http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/euhistoricdefenceevent.html ; EU Defense emerges as No 1 Issue at EU Parliament after Terrorist Islamist Attack in Strasbourg (12/2018) http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/cyprusandeudefenseineuparliament.html ; New President of EU Parliament's Committee on Defense, former French EU Affairs Minister,  Nathalie LOISEAU on a Topical EU SDP Issue (7/2019) http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eudefenseandcyprusenergy.html ; Ceremony with 3 Franco-German AirFighter Planes + Eurocorps (7/2019) http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/eudefensecoopinstrasbourgandparis.html ; (etc).






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    The incoming Swedish EU Presidency (July-December 2009) may still remain in favour of Turkey's controversial EU bid, despite June 2009 EU Elections' results, but it has "very strong demands on Turkey"'s obligation to respect EU Rules, said the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, to "EuroFora", reacting to critical Press reports.

    - "I know (that) the link is often made also to Sweden's position on Turkey"'s controversial EU bid. Indeed, "we (Swedish EU Presidency) are very much engaged in the future membership of Turkey, but not without fullfiling all the Criteria".

    - "It's very clear that we (Swedish EU Presidecny) have very Strong Demands on Turkey, in a sort of concept for Future membership of the Union, ...which will be a Long Process...", she stressed.

    This means, in particular, "the Copenhagen Criteria (on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law), and also the adaptation to the Acquis of the European Union".

     - "If you listen to what Mr. Bildt (the Swedish Foreign Minister) says on Turkey at different occasions, it's very clear : We want Turkey to become part of the Union, in the Future. But we want it to fullfil all the Criteria : The Acquis of the European Union. That's very clear", she concluded.

    The Senior Official of the Swedish Foreign Ministry was reacting to critical Press Reports, from Brussels' Journalists invited by EU Commission's secretariat to Stockholm, who claimed that Bildt was abusing of a ..."Whip" (sic !) against Cyprus, by "threatening" the presence of UNO's Peace-keeping force at the "Green line" which separates the island's Government-controlled areas from the territories occupied by Ankara's army, if Nicosia didn't accept any political solution, regardless of Turkey's demands, before the end of 2009.

        Governing AKEL Party's new Secretary General, Andros Kyprianou, reacted by declaring that no-one can threat the People of Cyprus : -"We shall decide for our Future, and nobody else",  he reportedly said, asking to "keep calm". "In order to find a Solution soon, certain basic Principles must be respected", he stressed, calling those who feel an urgency to use their influence on Turkey. Other Political Parties were more critical.

    This was a reference to recently reported statements by Turkish Minister Bagis, Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and Turkey's National Security Council (a Military-Political body), accused to push towards a partitionist "2 States" solution, contrary to UNO SC Resolutions for Cyprus' reunification.

    December 2009 is a crucial moment for EU's appraisal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, because EU Council has decided to review then Ankara's compliance with the European position on the recognition of Cyprus' Government, which was clearly set out by an EU reply of 21 September 2005 to Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's claims, refusing to recognize even the existence of EU Member Cyprus, in controversial statements he made to London (former EU chair) on July 29, 2005.

    EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey, adopted on March 2009 in Strasbourg, warned Ankara that "the non-fulfillment of Turkey's commitments... by December 2009, may further seriously affect the process of Negotiations" with the EU.

    In practice, the issue boils down to Ankara's "embargo" against Ships and Airplanes using Cyprus' seaports or airports at the strategic EU island, which traditionaly hosts one of the World's biggest Shipping flags. EU has already "freezed" 6 relevant Chapters in EU - Turkey Negotiations since December 2006, after Ankara refused to fullfil a commitment it had undertaken when EU had decided to open controversial "accession" negotiations with Turkey, back on December 2005.

    - "As far as EU - Turkey relations are concerned, it's clear that Turkey needs to fullfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional Protocol (to "EC-Turkey Association Agreement"),  This is an important issue....and should be addresseed as soon as possible as it clearly affects the pace of the accession negotiations.Issues covered by the Declaration of September 2005 will continue to be followed up, and progress is urgently awaited", warned earlier in Strasbourg the out-going Czech EU Presidency (former vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra).

    But the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, dismissed "interpretations" by "some" that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was reportedly "threatening" Cyprus with consequences on the UNFICYP, if it doesn't accept any solution until December 2009, while Turkey is reportedly delaying in an attempt to impose a partitionist "2 States" solution.

    On the contrary, Julin, stressed that "Sweden has strong demands on Turkey'"s respect of "Copenhagen Criteria and EU Acquis".

    Meanwhile, Sweden  is "concerned" about the risk of "Stalemate" in Cyprus' Talks, but is well aware that "the main responsibilities lie with the two leaders and the UNO", Europe playing only a role of "facilitator".

    After carefully verifying, the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, stressed to "EuroFora" that Bildt's reference to UNFICYP "was not linked to a Threat", and dismissed those who "interpreted" it so.

    On the contrary, the Swedish EU Presidency acknowledged the fact that Peace Talks are mainly for the UN and the leaders of the Cypriot communities, EU's role being limited into that of a "facilitator".

    As for Turkey's reported attempts to impose a "2 States' solution", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service sharply replied by stressing that Turkey must respect the "EU Acquis" rules.

    In particular :

    - "Basically he (Bildt) underlined that it's the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN that have the main responsibilities for solving the problem", started to say the Swedish Senior Official to "EuroFora", referring to the above-mentioned "briefing".

    - "But the EU had a role in sort of pointing out the benefits and facilitating a little bit the outcome for the settlement of the whole Cyprus' issue", she added.

    - "And he did state the Fact, that the rest of the World (i.e. USA, etc) will, of course, look at the differend issues which are at the table, and the future of the UN Peace keeping force is part of what is at the table", she admitted.

    - "I understand that some have interpreted that as a Threat, by the Swedish Minister" "But", in reality, "it's a statement of a Fact, that, when we'll look at the differend issues, one of the issues on which we shall have to take a stand on, is the future of the UN Peace keeping force in Cyprus".

    Indeed, one of the questions usually raised for a Solution of Cyprus' issue is what International and/or European or other Guarantees, by a Peace-keeping force, might be needed afterwards, eventually for a transitory period.

    Questioned anew by "EuroFora" whether (according to critical Press Reports) this could be taken as a veiled warning that, if Cyprus didn't accept any Turkish demand for any solution whatever, it might be left alone to face Ankara's Military Invasion/Occupation, she denied :

    - "He (Bildt) didn't say it in that way"... "It was not linked to a threat, or anything like that", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service stressed.

    On the contrary, "he (Bildt) underlined that the main responsibility lies with the parties concerned on the island". "The EU can try to facilitate and show the benefits of reaching a settlement. But also, when the EU and the rest of the World (i.e. USA) will have to look at it, they will look at all the Facts on the table, and the presence of the UN Peace-keeping force is one".

    And "he (Bildt) didn't speak about that at all", she replied to "EuroFora" question on Turkey's reported attemps to impose, in one way of another, a partitionist "2 States solution".

    Asked whether Bildt's aim was to incite both parties to move forward efficiently, she agreed :

    - In fact, "the EU is really very concerned with the Stalemate in the situation. Yes !", the Head of Sweden's Foreign Ministry's Press Service anounced. That's why Bildt "was hoping for the two parties (i.e. for Turkey's also) to engage and break, a little-bit, the present stalemate, come to a solution of the issue" of Cyprus.

    But, replying  to a "EuroFora"s question on the risk, denounced by several politicians in case of strict Time Deadlines, for Turkey to provoke a stalemate and wait for the time to come to impose a partitionist "2 States' solution", she reacted by pointing at Turkey's obligation to respect "EU Acquis" :

    - "Turkey must fullfil the EU Acquis : That's clear !", the Swedish Senior Official stressed.

    More details are expected when Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt will debate his Programme with new MEPs at EU Parliament's plenary mid-July in Strasbourg, that he has visited already in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt became familiar with Strasbourg's CoE last year, when Sweden chaired the PanEuropean organization of Human Rights. As EU chairman-in-office, he will also chair the 27-member States strong EU Group inside the 47-member States strong CoE.

    Minister for EU affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom is well known at EU Parliament, where she has been an active MEP of the Liberal Group for many years, following also Press Freedom issues.

    Both have already made various statements at "EuroFora", on differend topical matters.



2009 EU Elections were won by Parties against Technocracy and Turkey's controversial EU bid, while the 1999-2004 Majority Abstention trend decelerated. What should be done in 2009-2014 ?


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