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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

*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).


 - "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.


+  "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" :


- "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.

+ - 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.


- "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).

+ EUROCORPS' Chief of Staff, General Buchsenschmidt to "EuroFora" on the 3 Symbols of the forthcoming, January 31, 2013 European event in Strasbourg's Headquarters :


=> - "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.



(+ Fast Translation from the Original in French)



(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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    The recent paradox of freezing EU Talks with front-runner Croatia, while continuing controversial EU - Turkey talks, despite Zagreb's acceptance of Refugees' Human Rights to return, that Ankara refuses fex. in Cyprus, while both have "Good Neighborhood" problems vis a vis Slovenia, or Greece, Cyprus and Armenia respectively, can it be justified by the non-fullfilment of EU criteria, as Slovenia says, or, is it "Double Standards" ?    

The question became unavoidable after statements by Presidents of Slovenia and Croatia, Tuerk and Mesic, respectively, to "EuroFora", exclusively or among Strasbourg's journalists this week at the CoE, on the sidelines of its 2009 Summer University for Political Schools, which topically brought them together as successive key-note speakers.

    Comming only a few Months before EU checks Turkey's compliance to its commitments on Cyprus, etc., scheduled for December 2009, this obviously has a special importance for the coherence of EU Enlargement's principles.

     Suspension of EU Negotiations is a normal consequence in case of a Candidate Country's failure to fullfil EU Conditions, such as "Good Neighborhood relations", stressed at first Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk, current CoE's chair.

    But, regarding EU's Criteria,  there shouldn't be any "Double Standards",  reacted Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, commenting the fact that Turkey's controversial EU negotiations continue, while they were recently "freezed" in the case of Croatia, an "unquestionably European Country", which oficially accepts to respect Refugees Human Rights, contrary to Ankara's notorious refusals or reluctance.                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           - "EU itself has set as a Criterium (for EU Enlargement) the "Good Neighborhood relations",  and their absence justifies the "Suspension" EU Negotiations, (f.ex. with Croatia), because of a Border dispute affecting the territorial integrity of an EU Member Country, stressed Slovenian President, Danilo Tuerk, CoE's Chairman in office (May - November 2009), speaking to Journalists in Strasbourg including "EuroFora".    

Questioned earlier what "consequences on EU's Enlargement policy" can have the "Ban on EU Membership Negotiations", imposed to Croatia, Tuerk replied that "this question comes down to the fulfillement of (EU) Criteria for membership. One has to look at each Candidate Country ., from the point of view whether it fullfils the Criteria that EU has set. One of them are Good Neighborhood Relations, I'd like to remind. And also, there are other factors, such as Justice, Home affairs, Rule of Law, and others".

    - "Now, ..Candidate Countries are at Different Levels of fulfillement of Criteria", he observed.

    - " Croatia is obviously the closest to that. I'm rather optimistic : I think that in the coming Months we'll have an opportunity to look at all these issues constructively and hopefully we'll be able to make progress". "My main concern, at this point, is the situation in Bosnia : We haven't seen enough progres domesticaly. We haven't seen enough during ..political parties within their country.We need a New Energy, a new energetic move towards the Candidature for EU membership. "Other (Western Balkan) Countries (Serbia, Montenegro, FYROM, Albania) have been making soaring Progress, and I think that they should be ready, in a few Years, for the Candidate status".

    - "As far as the Western Balkans are concerned, .. nobody should be left outside" the EU, Slovenian's President concluded, ommitting to mention Turkey's controversial EU bid.

    - "This process may be seen as Slow, but..  Slovenia has also has also been exposed to various "Booms of Slowness" in our accession period. But now we can say that the process was relatively quick, because changes which occur after becoming EU member, are quite large, and they require proper Preparations before the (EU) membership becomes a new factor, an impacting line for a new (EU) member country".

EU "Solidarity" ?

Slovenian statements made some participants from certain 3rd Countries as FYROM, etc. claim that "the Principle of EU Solidarity" would "produce a.. rising European Union Nationalism (sic !), against Non-EU Countries", as they said, asking unhappy foreign countries to form a "bloc" to exert pressure on the EU...    

But Croatian President Stjepan Mesic dismissed that, supporting "EU Integration", "after the Economy also in Political" issues, as "the achievement" of our times. In EU there is "diversity, but it's United", he stressed, "EU has to be United so that it can become a central factor of Peace" also at the surrounding areas, he replied.


Speaking later exclusively to "EuroFora", the experienced twice President of Croatia, former President of the International "Non-Aligned" movement, denounced "Double Standards" in the way EU treats recently Croatia compared to Turkey :   

 - "I think that there shouldn't be Double Standards", stressed the Croatian President, in reply to a Question comparing the freeze of EU - Croatia talks, with the continuation of EU - Turkey talks, despite the fact that Croatia is an "unquestionably European country", while Turkey's EU bid is notoriously controversial.

    Mesic was reacting to the observation that, even if he confirmed his "respect of Refugees' Human Rights to return, etc. (See infra), nevertheless, EU talks are suspended with Croatia.. While for oher, controversial candidates, who refuse to respect Refugees' Rights to return, etc., as fex. Turkey does in occupied Cyprus and elsewhere, EU negotiations continue".

    - "I believe that Croatia's accession will confirm that all European Countries who fulfill all of the Conditions and achieve European Standards, have to join the EU. There shouldn't be any Double Standards", went on to add in reply President Mesic.

    In this relation, Croatia's President found "of paramount importance", CoE's "mechanisms enforcing ECHR's judgements"
    - "On Refugees and Displaced persons, the process will be completed only after the last person demanding to return will be allowed to do so !", President Mesic Croatia stressed earlier, setting a general standard of obvious importance also for otherr candidates, as f.ex. Turkey, often accused to exclude or heavily restrict Greek Cypriot Displaced persons' return to their Family Homes and ancestral land, provoke difficulties to Turkish-Kurd IDPs return to their home regions at the South-East, etc.

    Some "2.000 People are still reported Missing" in former Yugoslavia, for some Years, (as in Cyprus, modern Europe's oldest case, for 3 Decades. Nagorno-Karabach, Tcecnya in Russia, etc, more recently), and Investigations "will only be completed after establishing the fate of the last one of them", he added.
    Speaking earlier on "War Crimes", President Mesic stressed that "Leaders are responsible for (the) Wars (of the Past), not the People", and called against Impunity :  "Individuals have to be held Responsible for Crimes. International Penal Tribunals have to persecute those individuals", perpetrators of War Crimes, he underlined.

    Such statements naturally made Mesic rather popular at ECHR, whose President, French EuroJudge, Professor Jean-Paul Costa, looked particularly smiling when he welcomed him later on Wednesday afternoon, after Slovenian President Daniko Tuerk earlier this week.



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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