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Home arrow newsitems arrow EUROCORPS+ISAF Chief of Staff General Bavinchove to EuroFora:Afghanistan test boosts dual capacities

EUROCORPS+ISAF Chief of Staff General Bavinchove to EuroFora:Afghanistan test boosts dual capacities

Written by ACM
Wednesday, 19 December 2012
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*Strasbourg/Press Club/Angelo Marcopolo/- Speaking via a Tele-Conference from Kabul to Strasbourg, EUROCORPS' Commander, who serves now also as Chief of Staff at the International Force for Afghanistan (ISAF), General Olivier de Bavinchove (France), replied to "EuroFora"s Questions on that unique Multi-National force's potential role in forthcoming developments of EU's Security and Defence policy, while praising also its "Dual", or "Civilian-Military" capacities, (composed by German, French, Spanish, Belgian and Luxembourg full Members, to which was recently added also Poland, as well as several other EU Countries' "Liaison Officers", and able to Mobitor Pluri-modal, Air-Land-Sea, Military, Peace-keeping or Humanitarian operations), at the eve of a January 2013 exceptional European event, currently prepared at its Headquarters in Strasbourg, to celebrate the completion of its Return from a succesful but challenging Top Mission in Central Asia, as well as the 20th and 50th Anniversaries since the creation of such a tool, and since the Franco-German Treaty "of Elysée" which made it possible, respectively (See Infra).
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 - "EuroFora" observed that ,"Recently, in (the latest EU Summit) in Brussels, interesting developments on EU Security and Defence policy re-started, and you (EUROCORPS and ISAF's Chief of Joint Staff) are at the Heart of all this : EUROCORPS was already twice in Afghanistan, and your (current) Mission is the most important, as more strategic, concluding and high-ranked".


=> Thus, - "Do you sincerely feel that your Experience, both personal and of all (EUROCORPS) officers working together, would usefully serve in the Futiure, also in various other, differend Missions, that you might have at EU's Neighbourhood or elsewhere in the World ?", "EuroFora" asked General de Bavinchove.


- "Because there is recently much talk about such possible developments, precisely from next year : 2013, as if some might be timely waiting for your return" back to Europe, we explained.
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+  "We'll celebrate EUROCORPS' 20th Anniversary, soon in Strasbourg, on the 31st of January 2013), together with the Mayor (Senator Ries) and the Defence Ministers of all EUROCORPS' Countries, who will come there, etc, anounced from the outset, in reply to "EuroFora"s question, its experienced Commander, and currently also ISAF's Chief of Staff.


 - When "(French) President Mitterand and (German) Chancellor Kohl hade decided to create EUROCORPS, 20 years ago, this was part of a Vision for Europe as a (World) power, able to defend itself", reminded, in this regard, General de Bavinchove,


 - "And, I think that this Tool, EUROCORPS, after 20 Years of Experience, even in Afghanistan and various other areas in the World, demonstrates that the idea which was behind its creation, was well-founded", he stressed.


- "The Principles set up since EUROCORPS' creation, Inter-Allies' principles, were very fast joined also by Spain, by Belgium and Luxembourg, etc., and now also by Poland", (in addition to "Liaison Officers" sent to Strasbourg's EUROCORPS Headquarters also by various other countries).


- What our action here (in Afghanistan) also shows is that, with EUROCORPS we already have an immediately Operational (effective) Tool, while we also proved that we can master NATO's procedures, .. i.e. a Commanding Unit able to be projected iat a specified area, in the framework of a Coalition, and to use All the means and processes used by NATO in order to act. It's also for the European Union, a tool which has equivalent capabilities", he added.


- "But, above all, there are 2 Essential elements, which constitute EUROCORPS' main Force, and which cannot be found in any other European Military grouping Today, neither in 2012 nor in 2013" :

eurocorps_intw_bavinchov_400

- "It's a Multi-Nationality" dimension, "both in terms of Proportion, f.ex. between French, German, Spanish, Polish, Belgian, etc., who Work Together  every day, Fight together everyday, Planify together everyday, Speak to eachother every day, and thus demonstrate, everyday, that they speak the same Language, share the same Values, dispose the same Capabilities, and that they are Motivated by one and same, common Ideal".


- "And this, even in Long-term Operational plans, here (i.e. also in Afghanistan), inside a Coalition which is mainly directed by our American Friends and Allies, cannot pass without being noticed", particularly when we've "seen that Power of Building this Tool, that represents EUROCORPS, in terms of Mastering Capabilities, and of working (also) inside NATO, in terms of capacity to work together, among Officers from many differend (EU) Countries, and by mastering a certain number of Values, which are extremely Important, particularly when it comes about working for the benefit of a Third Country, as it's the case in Afghanistan".


=> So, "I think that, in the forthcoming 20 Years, there is no room for anything else than EUROCORPS, and this wil be soon explained and demonstrated also at a Political level", the experienced Top General pleaded.


- "Also because, during a period in which we face Financial and Economic difficulties, everybody can see that this Tool (EUROCORPS) proved to be a well-founded, Good Idea ,  now established and also put in practice. And realize that, when it comes to consider the Next 20 Years, and what actions should be undertaken, in order to make it even more Performant and even more Able to fullfil the Political Missions to which we (EUROCORPS) are committed".


- "That''s which made the greatest impression to me, during this EUROCORPS' deployment (in Afghanistan), which I followed since it arrived here, last January (2012), i.e. 2 Months after my own arrival earlier, it was set up, undertook Responsibilities, and fullfiled them, doing its job remarkably well".


- So that, today, it's difficult for me to tell if I'm speaking to a French or to a German or to a Spanish Officer, etc., since, what counts in reality is that I'm adressing myself to an (EUROCORPS') Officer who knows how to do his job, and does it well, according to the directives that he's been given, his national origins having passed, somehow, to the background, and it's his Competence, his Ability to work together, in a Multi-National context, which makes the difference", General de Bavinchov concluded on this point.


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+ - At some brief introductory remarks, "You have already evoked, my General, in addition to the purely Military aspects (of EUROCORPS' Tasks), also Intelligence, Logistics, a part of Rule of Law including Law Enforcement, Education, (Economic and Communication) Infrastructures, etc", "EuroFora" went on to observe also.  


-"There is much talk, Today, of what is called the "Dual" aspect of Defence", (i.e. both Military and Civic, etc). "Do you think that, your Experience, in this domain too, which seems of particular importance at this moment, could develop further this Dual, Civilian-Military aspects at the same moment, as integral parts of an efficient, overall Security and Defence Policy ?", we asked ISAF's Chief of Joint Staff.
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- "It's absolutely Essential, what you call as "Dual" aspects, alias known also as "Inter-Agency". -"It's of Vital Importance !", EUROCORPS' Head stressed from the outset in reply to "EuroFora's" 2nd Question.


 - "Soldiers were very much requested, during these Decades, in all Countries : American, Brittish, French, German, etc., to act in various domains in which they weren't often prepared to act,


+ "But we have, in all European Countries, such capacities, such competences and initiatives. There is very much talk about what is called a "Comprehensive Approach", that is to say the Integration in the Qualifications of these components, which are more Civilian-Military than Militaro-Civilian, and I'm a strong Supporter of that", as he pointed out.


+ In this regard, "EUROCORPS has a unique Chance to be (Headquartered) in Strasbourg, because it's in a big European Capital" city, "where are also located several Great Academic Institutions, f.ex. a School of Political Sciences, the ENA (prestigious French University for the Highest level of Public Administrations, progressively opening also towards Franco-German, panEuropean and even International Education and Training on Governance), but also an important Political presence f.ex. through EU Parliament, the CoE, many Permanent Representations, Consulates, etc. of various European and other Countries, and, being inside such a great City, we (EUROCORPS) have already started to develop relations, already since my predecessor, with all these big Institutions, and we shall continue to do so,


    - Simply "because the Operations of Tomorrow, at whatever Area and Moment we might intervene, are operations placed under the Aims of "Security, Governance, and Development, in the framework of which are absolutely required also several very Specific Know-how (expertise), at various degrees, right from the start :


    - "That's of Fundamental Importance, and has already started to be organized, f.ex. inside the U.S. Army that I can see here, i.e. this kind of Civilian-Military Integration, via one of their own Administrative Processes, with a System of contracts, etc..


    - "At any case, EUROCORPS must be, from this point of view, not only a Laboratory, but also a Tool which will allow to Develop this Integration, and this insertion of Competences and Experiences inside it, in order to be able, in Future Deployments, in Various other Areas, where we shall have to face Differend Challenges than those existing at Afhanistan, to have a better Preparation to Act, right from the Start, and to Judge better the adequate Priorities needed for obtaining the desired Results", he pointed out.


    As I'm a strong Supporter of that, we (EUROCORPS) must, more and more, Integrate those Competences and Capabilities, (also) with the development of Commandment structures integrating these Competences and Know-How, so that this will allow us to be extremely Efficient, in Time Deadlines always measured, which will be assigned to us", concluded General de Bavinchov in reply to "EuroFora"s 2nd Question (See supra).


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+ EUROCORPS' Chief of Staff, General Buchsenschmidt to "EuroFora" on the 3 Symbols of the forthcoming, January 31, 2013 European event in Strasbourg's Headquarters :
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=> - "On the 31st of January, 2013, we (EUROCORPS) shall celebrate in Strasbourg no less than Three (3) exceptional Events : - (A) EUROCORPS' return from ISAF's Headquarters at Kaboul (Afghanistan), where General de Bavinchov served as Chief of the International Force's joint Staff", but also the Double Anniversaries of (B) 20 Years since the creation of EUROCORPS (1993), which became possible thanks to the "Elysée Treaty" (C) agreed by Adenauer and De Gaulle 50 Years earlier, on 1963, explained, later-on, speaking to "EuroFora",  the Multi-National force's Chief of Staff, Belgian General Guy Buchsenschmidt.


 - "Elysée Treaty, agreed by Adenauer and De Gaulle, established the Foundations of what could  become, later on, a European Defence Policy, thanks to an Historic move which allowed, for the 1st time, to Germans and French to sit together around a Table and jointly take Decisions mutually agreed, which culminated, later-on, in the creation of EUROCORPS, from 1993", General Buschsenschmidt reminded us.

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(+ Fast Translation from the Original in French)

(../..)

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(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already sent earlier to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate, full Final Version may 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.

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