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Home arrow newsitems arrow EUROCORPS Outgoing+Incoming Commander Bavinchov+Buchsenschmidt to EuroFora:EUCSDP Autonomy New Tools

EUROCORPS Outgoing+Incoming Commander Bavinchov+Buchsenschmidt to EuroFora:EUCSDP Autonomy New Tools

Written by ACM
Friday, 28 June 2013

*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- While 20 years have just completed since its creation, shortly before a forthcoming EU Summit defines Europe's Security and Defence Policy for the foreseeable Future, EUROCORS, a fully Multinational Etat Major Headquartered in Strasbourg and able to lead Combined Operations in Land, Air and Sea, after having recently been tested in "Hot" Missions abroad, from Kosovo up to Afghanistan, led by successive Commanders General with a personal Experience in High Qualiity Planning and Training, as well as in various European, African and/or Asian Missions, is now Ready and eager, after its capabilities were recognized both by NATO and the EU, to take over some more Ambitious Tasks, mainly by the EU, (as the European Parliament has repeatedly supported in Resolutions adopted in Strasbourg between 2008 and 2010+), for the forseable Future, practically said its experienced outgoing and incoming Commander Generals, Olivier de Bavinchov (France) and Guy Buschsenschimidt (Belgium) respectively, replying to "EuroFora"s and other Journalists questions during a Press Conference held at the "Rhine Palace", just before the Change of Command ceremony at Republic's Square, in the presence of the Heads of Armies from its Framework Nations, while also highlighting what Modern High-Tech. Tools are still needed Today in order for Europe to become able to have an Autonomous Defence capability, as we had asked :


 "EuroFora" raised "2 Questions", in fact interlinked to eachother :

- (A) "In general, what do you expect from the forthcoming EU Brussels' Summit of December 2013, which is due to make an exceptional review of EU's Security and Defence Policy and on its Future prospects ?"

+ (B) "And, in parfticular, f.ex., since you've both just reminded your wish for EUROCORPS to become a fully-fledged, Terrestrial, Airborn and Naval Force, what do you think about the recent controversy on Drones (Unmanned Air Vehicles) : Are  they among the most Vital Needs for the development of an Autonomous EU Security and Defence Policy, or not ?"


The Replies were even more Interesting, complete and far-reaching, that initially expected :

    - "On the 1st Question, we both believe that EUROCORPS, more than 20 Years after it was created, has now become "Mature" enough. So that we'd obviously expect from the December 2013 EU Council a Political reLaunch concerning European Defence's Tools".

    In this regard, "EUROCORPS seems very well placed, taking into account its Background, its Operational Experience, its Involvement and its Level of Competence, that it has reached Today, and which is recognized both by NATO and the EU, as well as from our big allies, for the certainly important Decisions due too be taken by that December 2013 EU Council", General de Bavinchove replied from the outset to "EuroFora"s 1st question.



But, the most interesting was yet to come :

    + "Concerning the 2nd Question, EUROCORPS' development until now was a Natural one : It's a development which results, at first, from the lessons learned at the Operations' theaters (areas)", and mainly from "the Principal Areas where we have been involved at  2 occasions : In Afghanistan, for the first time back on 2004, and for the second time on 2011-2013, during a period of more than 18 Months (+ 1,5 year)".

    - "This Experience teaches us 2 main things, which are very important : "

    (A) "That we must build an Architecture of Commandement, which allows us to better master everything which is related to Governance and Development, from all points of view",

    (B) "That Modern Operations use a lot of Tools, as f.ex. those that You evoked, (i.e. UAVs, comp. Supra), but also Others, that you didn't evoke, but that EUROCORPS has to master", he added.

-    - "Among these Tools, are naturally included "Real-Time Communications", the "Acceleration of Decision-making" processes, everything which has to do with the use of "Special Forces", the "Targetting" from all points of view, and, finally, I believe that there is an entire set of tools to develop concerning what is called "Cyber-Defence", which is absolutely Necessary for the years to come".


    + But, "I would like to enlarge, a little bit, the Question that you raised, by saying that Today, well beyond the Change of Command, that will take place in a few Minutes, what seems to be extremely Interesting for EUROCORPS is the Continuity (the Follow-up) : General Buchsenshmidt was my Chief of Staff for more than 2 Years, and he knows perfectly well all Files, all Issues, and all Studies that we had launched and he can fully master them. He was engaged in many Working Groups, particularly when I was in Afghanistan (as ISAF's Chief of Staff : See "EuroFora"s relevant previous NewsReports ; .... ), so that there won't be any Gap nor Break up, there won't be any loss of know-how, neither of Time : The fact that General Buchsenschmidt already knows perfectly well the entire set of areas, and has an extremely Clear View on what must be attaigned, and what must be learned during the 2 forthcoming Years (2014-2015), is absolutely promising, a fortiori since his own Chief of Staf, General Thierry Corbet, who was already here, in EUROCORPS and at Afghanistan as Operations' Chief, is now upgraded.

    - "So that there is a real Continuity, which makes it possible to be much more Efficient in the Appropriation of these New Methods of Work, New Commandment's Architectures, these New Challenges that EUROCORPS will have to face during the next 2 Years", General de Bavinchove concluded in reply to "EuroFora"s questions.                                                                                                                                                   ------------------------------------


    +  Speaking earlier on the same issue, General Guy Buchsenschmit confirmed, indeed, that "we are not changing the main Projects", since he has "no intention to drop the Initiatives already taken by my predecessor, General de Bavinchov, as well as by his own predecessor, General Domrose, (Comp. Replies of both former EUROCORPS' Commanders General to various relevant "EuroFora"s Questions in the Past) : We have started to work in order to set up a concept projecting towards  a MultiNational Force, but also able to act Jointly,

which can include not only Terrestrial, but also Air-Naval Forces, as well as a Series of 5 Trainings during 2 years, which aim to give to EUROCORPS the Capacities to evolve  in an environment where it will be able to use both Terrestrial and Air-Naval tools : That's a Major Task for the 2 Next Years", he underlined.             

    ++ Questioned by another Coillegue Journalist about a forthcoming Franco-German Summit in Berlin, next December, General Buchsenschmidt "expressed the Hope that such moves  might lead to make a Better Use of EUROCORPS than in the Past, since it has been now a number of years that it hasn't been really used by the EU", he regretted.

    - "We, (EUROCORPS) are both NATO and EU compatible", but "it's better to Stop projecting EUROCORPS only inside a NATO's area. If there is a possibility to re-start using it mainly for EU Tasks, that would be nice, and I'd express a Wish for that to be so",, the new EUROCORPS' commander stressed in substance.



    + Amiral Edouard Guillaud, the French Army's Head, who is currently Chairing the Joint Committee of the 5 Framework Nations, spoke in the presence also of the Heads of the Armies of Belgium :  General Caulenberge, who co-chaired today's event, of Germany : General Wieker, of Spain : General Carasso (special Envoy of the Chief of staff), and of Luxembourg : General Daubenfeld, as well as of Poland (due to fully join EUROCORPS as 6th Framework Nation on January 2016) : General Gocul, mainly in order to briefly highlight EUROCORPS' History and Future :

    Created more than 20 years earlier by a Franco-German Initiative, in order to be able to defend our Values in Europe and in the World, EUROCORPS has now 5 Framework Nations, and soon a 6th one : Poland, while Romania and even USA are due to be Associated in the next few years, while several other EU Countries are Associated through Liaison Officers at Strasbourg's HQ , (Austria, Greece, Italy, Poland, etc) and recently even Non-EU but NATO-member Turkey. During its first 2 Decades, EUROCORPS followed a kind of Double Track progress, by both developing its Capacities, while also engaging in various Missions abroad, such as Kosovo, Afghanistan, etc, he reminded, calling it to be fully Ready for the Missions that the leading European Countries will assign to it in the Future.


(Fast Translation from the Original in French).


("DraftNews", as alreadey sent earlier to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate and complete Final Version might be published asap).




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Recent developments proved that Europe can suceed to overcome challenges by aiming at great objectives, and this is needed also in 2009, said EU chairman, French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    - "It's in the name of Great Ideas, Projects, Ambition and Ideals, that EU can overcome" challenges, stressed Sarkozy at EU Parliament in Strasbourg, in conclusion of a dense 7 months EU Chairmanship. "It's even easier for Europe to have Great projects, able to overcome national egoism, instead of limiting itself only to small projects" (unable to do alike), he observed.     

- "Europe must remain Ambitious and understand that the World needs her to take Decisions". "The World needs a Strong Europe", which "thinks on its own, has convictions, its own responses, its imagination" : "A Europe which does not limit itself into following" others, (as it did in the Past, when it followed USA, f.ex. on Bosnia). On the contrary, "Europe should undertake its own responsibilities", he said, after a series of succes in stopping the War between Russia and Georgia, and organizing the 1st EuroZone's Summit in Paris, which incited the Washington DC G-20 Summit to extend similar decisions World-wide.  

    - "When you sweep it all under the carpet, prepare yourself for hard tomorrows", he warned. "What hinders decisions is the lack of Courage and Will, the fading away of Ideals", he stressed before EU Parliament's 2008 debate on Human Rights and Sakharov prize on Freedom of thought attributed by MEPs to Chinese cyber-dissident Hu Jia, followed by an EU - Turkey meeting on Friday.

    - "I don't abandon my convictions" and "I will take initiatives" on EU level also in 2009, Sarkozy announced later. "France will not stop having convictions and taking initiatives" on Europe. + "It's an Error to wish to pass over the Heads of those who are elected in their Countries" : "It's an integrism I always fought against"', he warned.
French EU Presidency faced 4 unexpected Crisis :

- An institutional crisis, with the Irish "No" to EU Lisbon Treaty, just before it started. A geopolitical crisis, wth the threat of War between Russia and Georgia risking to throw Europe back to Cold-war divisions, on August. A World-wide Financial and Economic crisis, arriving at a bad moment before crucial 2009 EU elections. And even a Strasbourg's mini-crisis, with EU Parliament's roof curiously falling down, from unknown reasons, in a brand new building on August, provoking an unprecedented transfert of the 2 September Plenary Sessions...

But it wasn't enough to stop Sarkozy ! On the contrary, it stimulated him...

- "The better way to deal with the recent problems of EU institutions (as the "3 NO" by France, the Netherlands and Ireland) is to take them as a "Test" in order to find solutions closer to Citizens' concerns", said later in Strasbourg Sarkozy's new choice as Ministe for EU affairs, Bruno Le Maire.

- On the Institutional front, Sarkozy gave Time to the Irish to think about it, and stroke on December a deal including a New Referendum after the June 2009 EU Elections, in exchange of a promise to keep the rule of "one EU Commissioner for each EU Member Country", and some opt-outs on Defence and Fiscal EU policies, Abortion, etc. If the Irish get a "Yes" Majority, then the institutional package could be completed in 2010 or 2011 on the occasion of Croatia's probable EU accession.

He was accused in Strasbourg to upgrade EU Council and downgrade EU Commision, but he replied that "strong Political initiatives by EU Council reinforce also the more technical role of EU Commission, under the political-technical leadership of its President", all 3 "working together with EU Parliament".

- But, meanwhile, Sarkozy energetically spearheaded an Historic 1st Summit of EuroZone's 15 Heads of State and Government at EU's core, exceptionally enlarged to a partial participation of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, on October 12 in Paris' Elysee palace, which started to tackle succesfully the growing world Financial crisis.

    It also paved the way for its endorsement by a subsequent Brussels' 27 EU Member States' gathering, before it all come to Washington's G-20 Summit. And "Europe was united, it asked for the 1st G-20 Summit, and it will also organise the next G-20 Summit on April in London", he observed.   

 But a Conference with EU, Russia, African and other Developing Countries, hosted in Strasbourg shortly after Washington G-20 Summit by the French EU Presidency, took a Resolution asking to enlarge participation to Global Economic Governance. Many found, indeed, illogic and unacceptable that f.ex. states as Turkey were given a seat at G-20 level, while all African Countries, and even the African Union itself, representing the greatest Continent on Earth, were excluded...

    Meanwhile, even USA''s "Paulson No 3" Plan, was, in fact, inspired by Europe's No 1 Plan", Sarkozy observed, largelly applauded by MEPs.

    And "Europe showed Solidarity" by mobilizing some 22 Billion credit for Hungary, 1,7 billion for Ukraine, as we do nowadays for Baltic States, etc., he added.

    The move on Economy was extended on December by an EU stimulus' plan totalling some 200 billion Euros, including 5 Billions released by EU Commission for big Projects, as well as various parallel National plans for Economic revival, (fex. 26 billions in France alone). They might appear limited, compared to USA President-elect Obama's reported plan to boost the American economy with 800 billion $, but at least succeded to overcome Europe's divisions for the first time on Economic governance, opening new horizons.

- The French President stressed even harder the unique role of an active EU Council's chairmanship, when he moved swiftly and efficiently, at the beginning of August, to succesfully stop War between Russia and Georgia, at the last minute, which threatened to bring Europe back to Cold War division.

"We (EU) also wanted to avoid a situation like in Bosnia, in the Past, when EU was absent, so that our American friends took their responsibilitues, and EU only followed", despite the fact that the conflict took place in Europe. Now, it was the EU who took its responsibilities".

A roadmap towards a new PanEuropean Security policy, before which all unilateral moves to place new Missiles (from USA or Russia) would be freezed, was proposed by Sarkozy after a meeting with Russian president Medvedev, at the eve of Washington DC's G-20 Summit.

Ukraine's "European" character was stressed at a Sarkozy - Jushenko Summit, September in Paris, while EU adopted on December an "Eastern policy", in which, "I'm convinced that our (EU's) future is to find with our Neighbours the conditions for Economic Development. Peace and Security, by explaining them that.. they must respect (Human Rights') Values, and adopt behaviors different from the Past", explained Sarkozy in Strasbourg.

Meanwhile, the "Union for the Mediterranean" was created, since July's Summit if 45 Heads of State and Government in Paris, as "an organisation for a permanent Dialogue, that we need", mainly in order to tackle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by bringing together, for the 1st time, Israelis and Arabs, where "Europe must be present, in order to avoid a frontal clash".

- "If Europe doesn't take its part for Peace in the Middle-East, nobody else will do that in our place", Sarkozy stressed.
    Meanwhile, other EU Agreements were brokered during the French EU Presidency on Immigration, (fex. common Asylum rules, etc), and Climat- Energy :

    - On Climat-Energy, the 2007 German EU Presidency had fixed a triple 20% aim for 2020 (20% renewable Energies, 20% reduction of CO2 emmission, 20% energy efficience/economies), and the 2008 French EU Presidecny realized that, making the necessary compromises in order to modernize EU's industry, but without throwing some former Central-Eastern European Countries into abrupt Economic break down risking "social explosion".

    - Defence-Security EU policy was mainly postponed for April 2009, since both German chancellor Merkel and French president Sarkozy want to strike a deal with the new American president Obama in Strasbourg's NATO Summit.

    However, with all these 4 unexpected Crisis diverting attention to other urgencies, People wil wonder now, what happened to the famous deal proposed by freshly-elected French President Sarkozy on Turkey's controversial EU bid, back on August 2007, to continue EU - Turkey negotiations, but on the double condition that core chapters, intrinsequally linked with EU Membership, will be excluded, and that a collective Reflexion and Debate on Europe's future would start before the end of 2008.

    It was meant to reply to the crucial question : What kind of Europe do we want in 10 or 20 Years from now : A large Market, or a Political Europe, with a popular identity ? In Sarkozy's thinking, presented in his 2 landmark speeches on Europe in Strasbourg, shortly before and after the 2007 Elections, (on February and July 2007), Turkey's controversial EU bid would be incompatible with the second choice.

    It's true that EU Commision's Chairman, Jose Barroso, (who had notoriously declared, as former Portuguese Prime Minister, that he found "nonsense" the idea that Europe might become equal to the US), had repeatedly tried to avoid that Sarkozy's criticism on Turkey might start winning a larger audience in Europe, preferring a discrete "wismens' committee" work. And that most of the personalities later chosen in order to participate in a Committee on Europe's Future, are too much linked with Socialist parties and/or American policies, to be really critical of USA's notorious wish to impose Turkey to the EU, as Sarkozy had noted himself since March 2007..

     - "It's on EU Council's presidency to take political initiatives. EU Commission has other competences", stressed Sarkozy. The "European Ideal" is to "build Europe with the States, not against them". "Ask Europeans to chose between their countries and Europe won't work. You don't choose between your two parents : We must add them together".

    "France and Germany have an Historic Duty to work together, precisely because of what happened to the Past. We have to work hand by hand. We cannot be separated.It goes beyond me and Mrs Merkel today, Mr Schroeder and Mr. Chirac yesterday. It's not a choice, it's a duty to Europe and to the World".  "We need Germany, as Germany needs Europe". Compromise is inevitable, here as everywhere, and each one made some steps towards eachother's positions.

    But "it's true that Mrs Merkel didn't chose her Socialist partners, while I chose mine", Sarkozy said, in an indirect hint that the Socialist Minister of Finance in Germany might be a cause of minor past disagreements in Economy, which were overcome in recent negotiations.

    "We (France and Germany) have particular duties in Europe", but "in a Europe of 27 Member States, it's not enough for France and Germany to agree between them.

    "I always thought that Great Britain has a special role to play in Europe. ... Now, everybody "saw what it cost payed the UK for having been too exclusively open towards the US (and) Financial services. Europe needs the UK, but also the UK needs Europe" :- "We were able to face the hardest moment of the Financial crisis because the UK clearly chose Europe", stressed Sarkozy, reminding Gordon Brown's exceptional participation to the Historic 1st Heads of State/Government Summit of EuroZone, October 12 in Paris (See EuroFora's Reportage from Elysee Palace then).

     - "Some look at Europe with old glasses aged 30 years ago. While we must look at her in relation to what it will be in 30 years" in the Future, Sarkozy concluded.


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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