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Home arrow newsitems arrow New French Defense Minister Le Drian to EuroFora: Dual, Civil-Military policy = Key also for EU

New French Defense Minister Le Drian to EuroFora: Dual, Civil-Military policy = Key also for EU

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 04 December 2012

*Strasbourg/Officers' Mess/Angelo Marcopolo/- It's topically, amidst exceptionally dense recent and forthcoming moves on European developments, (f.ex. after a meeting with EU President Van Rompuy in Brussels, followed by the launch of "Pleiades B" Earth Observation Satellite by a Soyuz rocket at the European Space Centre in French Guyane and a 1st succesful Flight of EU Drone "Neuron", at the eve of his speech on EU Defense policy at the French National Assembly tomorrow Wednesday, just before a planned visit to EU Council's rotating Chairman Cyprus, to be followed by EU Decisions on Security/Defence policies next week in Brussels), that France's new Minister of Defence, John-Yves Le Drian, replying to an "EuroFora"'s question, stressed the importance of "Dual", Civil and Military aspects of Defence projects, which was also strongly supported by EU Parliament's competent Rapporteur and President of its Security and Defence Committee, MEP Arnould Danjean, to another relevant "EuroFora"s Question during the latest Plenary session in Strasbourg (See Infra) :


This "Dual" aspect of  EU's Security and Defence policy could obviously be also Key for a topically needed raprochment or even Unity among most, if not all EU Member States, ... including the current and forthcoming EU Council's rotating Chairmanshis by Cyprus and Ireland, who are not NATO Members, (even if Dublin already participates in NATO's "Partnership for Peace", and several Nicosia's politicians notoriously discussed similar moves in the Past), particularly at the eve of next week's EU Brussels' Summit due to fix the mandate of an exceptional 2013 EU Summit on Security/Defence policy, that France and 10 other EU Countries recently expressed their wish to relaunch.

  - Referring to the "White Book" anounced on a forthcoming Reform of French Defence policy, as well as his well-known interest for the "Dual" nature of Defence, i.e. with both Civil and Military aspects, (f.ex. on Protection against Major Natural or man-made Hazards, relevant Scientific Research and Technological development, etc), "EuroFora" asked Minister Le Drian if France wished to "develop that dimension" further, "both in France and in the rest of the EU", (in view also of his recent and forthcoming Top EU moves, at the eve of next week's EU Brussels Summit : comp. Supra).

- "I can't anticipate now the future Outcome of the "White Book" Commission's consultations, which have just started after the End of this Summer (2012) and are due to arrive at Conclusions on February (2013)", nor of the forthcoming EU Summit, carefuly started to reply to "EuroFora"s Question the new French Minister of Defence.

- "But, I can (already) tell you that I'm very much in favor of the fluidity of Defence's Industrial Budgets, (and more particularly) towards Small and Medium Businesses", Le Drian went on to positively add in his reply to our main query.

 - "In this regard, f.ex., I've just anounced a Plan on how Defence's Public Procurements could Seed not only in the field of Big Corporations, but also in that of Small and Medium Enterprises", he pointed out as a typical, concrete example.  


+ Specialy when "they (SME) are often also a Lever for Innovation, but sometimes don't yet benefit enough from orders and/or commissioned work ordered by Defence" Administrations, "or from State's industrial projects", etc., Le Drian criticaly observed.

 - But all this amounts to a total of "more than 16 Billions € in (French) State's actions and industrial interventions, etc. for 2013", the Defence Minister pointed out.  

=> "Therefore, it's important to spread that also around SMEs, i.e. there where  Jobs and Innovations are", Le Drian concluded in reply to "EuroFora"s Question.
In this framework, f.ex.,  the French State's funds for the development of Dual Technologies, able to pass from Military to Civil industrial applications, will augment for + 25% on 2013, reaching soon 50 Millions €, while Funds to Research will grow for +10%, representing about 750 Millions € in favour of Innovation, and SMEs will have a Priority on Public Procurements up to 15.000 € each.  Biology and Health, ElectroMagnetism and Navigation, Optronics, Electronic components, Environmental GeoPhysics and Fluids, Materials, Simulations, systems and human factors, Robotics, Information and Communication systems, etc., are among the main Innovative sectors of activities that Security/Defence policy is interested to help develop.

+ But, concerning further possible developments on the re-launch of EU's Defence policy, the new French Minister invited "EuroFora" to carefully follow also "my presentation on European Security/Defence policy tomorrow, at the (French) National Assembly", where Le Drian is also due to reply to MP's topical questions.


Meanwhile, the new French Defence Minister observed earlier, at Strasbourg's Officers' Mess, that, in fact, - "We are now at a moment in which the preparation of our Defence's Future is under Discussion, and we have initiated, at a National (French) level, a new "White Book", as it's done in our Country's History whenever there are Important Mutations" to be expected.

+ F.ex. "we (France) had 4 "White Books" : The 1st was initiated on 1972, when it was important to know how to apply correctly in practice the Nuclear Deterrent Force; there was also another "White Book" on Defence in 1974, at a moment in which we were reflecting on the progressive ending of the former "Cold War" ; A new "White Book" was initiated by (former) President Sarkozy on 2008, in particular on the growing New Challenge of Terrorism, etc", Le Drian reminded.

=> "Today (2012), we have a New Deal, which includes, at the same time, the developments on USA's stance, i.e. their progressive re-orientation focusing now on the Pacific Ocean, while we (France) have now completely returned back into NATO (after the 2009 NATO's 60th Anniversary Summit in Strasbourg/Kehl), as well as the Global Economic Crisis, which reduces Budgets in all Western Countries, even in the USA, where President Clinton has already anounced, even before his (November 2012) re-Election, a -487 Billions $ reduction in American Defence commitments, and this risks to be accentuated even more, according to the latest News, while a European Defence has still to be clearly designed, given also that various Threats continue to grow and new ones emerge" : "That's, briefly, the current landscape in which France's new "White Book" will unfold, .. in order to determine what kind of Model we should adopt for the Army during the forthcoming Years, able to keep our rank, ensure Security and fix our Priorities", described the new French Defence Minister.


 - "Among these priorities, for me, an efficient Force is that in which People feel well and trust eachother, by ensuring a good Balance between Aims and Means", stressed in conclusion Le Drian, who reportedly shares the rare, if not unique, feature to have been selected for a Government responsibility both by former President Sarkozy and current President Hollande, to whom he responded positively for the Ministry of Defence, on which he had, meanwhile, become his  personal advisor.

+ EU Parliament's Security/Defence Committee's President Danjean to "EuroFora": Also in favor of "Dual" aspects in Defence
In the meantime, it's also the experienced EU Parliament's Security/Defence Committee's President, ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP, Arnould Danjean, who, replying to an "EuroFora"s relevant question during his Press Conference at EU Parliament's latest Plenary session in Strasbourg, strongly suported a "Dual" approach of EU's Defence policies, while also observing that this is not an unanimous stance, and, therefore, that matter should be debated in view of EU's 2013 Defence Summit :



- "....In your previous Report (adopted by EU Parliament on March 2010), you had highlighted the Dual aspect of Defence operations, including on Technology", "EuroFora" reminded Danjean.  - But, meanwhile, "in addition to that kind of possible Crisis that you reminded now, there are also many Environmental and other Crisis, of Natural or Man-made major Hazards, as on Haiti's Earthquake, etc., and elsewhere in the World, f.ex. in Russia's mass-killer Heatwave of 2010 (which affected even Military Bases, Nuclear Defence, etc. around Moscow), after France's similar 2003 Catastrophe (which threatened also its Nuclear Energy Independence, etc), including in many Poor Countries, but also China (with Giant Mudslides, Floods, etc), even in the USA with 2005 Katrina Hurricane, etc., we observed. 


- "Therefore, and given also the fact that the World Meteorological Organization has recently anounced a probable multiplication of so-called "Extreme Weather Events" which could become very frequent in the foreseeable Future,  don't you think that this is an additional argument which should, normally, play an important role today for the development of Dual Defence Technologies and policies, since the Army is currently the only tool which can be used in such kind of Mass Urgencies, considering also the fact that EU's projected Civil Protection Force has not yet been established", we asked the President of EU Parliament's Security and Defence Policy.



=> "EU's Militay means should be able be deployed, even in case if Natural or Man-made Catastrophes", positively replied Danjean to "EuroFora"s question.

 - "Indeed, the position of the (EU Parliament's Security and Defence Committee is that, indeed, a Continuum exists between the issues of Security, Defence, and, equally, in the necessary utillisation of Civil-Military Means". This was one among the most important topics in the Discussions that we (MEPs) had with Cathy Ashton after the Natural Disaster in Haiti,  that you ("EuroFora") reminded". In particular, "we (EU Parliament's Security/Defense Committee) believe that Military Means should not be marginalized, limited and restricted only to excusively military utilisations". On the contrary, "Military means should be also used in case of Natural and/or Man-made Catastrophes, in Humanitarian Crisis, etc.


- "We (EU Parliament) also believe, from an Economic point of view, that, among the Investments which are supported by the EU, it would be good to have, in the area of Research, also Investments about Security and Defence", because "it's well known that Defence Investments often have considerable, positive effects on the Civilian sectors (of the Economy). In consequence, there is such a strong Imbrication between them, that we believe that it would be damaging for the EU to establish an excessively strict Partition among Funds destibated to one or another of these two sectors.

- "But the position that we want to promote is not accepted by all : F.ex. if you ask my collegues at the Committee of Industry, you shall find  much more Diverging views, including with some EU Member States which don't like an intrusion of EU Funds in Defence-related Industrial policies, for reasons of Sovereignity, or, sometimes, because of some Complicated issues, etc., so that there isn't an Unanimous (EU) position on this issue.

 - "However, I think that, given also the current situation in Europe, we can't ignore the Defence and Security Industry, and deprive it from EU Funds and Investments", he concluded.

 -"But this is a Question which has not been consolidated yet, and will certainly be at the Agenda of the (exceptional) EU Summit scheduled for 2013", the reply of EU Parliament's Security/Defence Committee's President to "EuroFora"s question concluded.


- Indeed, "EU President Van Rompuy is preparing a re-launch of EU's Security and Defence policy, mainly from the point of view of Industry and Technology, that we support : Even if our Defence Industries should eventually be reorganized, re-structured and modernized, nevertheless, we shouldn't forget the fact that Defence Industries are also areas of Growth and Jobs, Know-how, Innovation and (Technological) Excellence", Danjean observed earlier.

+  "We (EU Parliament) also ask for an EU Civil-Military operational Headquarters to be established, able to planify and lead several operations,  which doesn't exist yet", Danjean added on this occasion reminding that "26 EU Member States were ready to advance in this path", as he said, before EU Parliament's Plenary in Strasbourg voted to adopt his new Report during the November 2012 session.

 - Since the entry into force of EU's new "Lisbon Treaty", (December 2009-January 2010), "we (EU) already have the main institutional instruments which allow us to decide about making some very important move forward in European Security/Defence policy, and, therefore, there is no such excuse for eventually more Delays", critically observed earlier to "EuroFora", the experienced EU Parliament's Security and Defence Committee's President.

 + At any case, EU Parliament has already strongly suported another Danjean Report focusing on EU's "Strategic Autonomy", as early as since March 2010, and this point of obviously Crucial Importance, was  recently strengthened by Innovative developments on the "Neuron" Drone project and by the launch of "Pleades 1B" Satellite at Kuru by a Soyuz rocket, which were both welcomed by Minister Le Drian :


Led by France's "Dassault", "Neuron" Drone project includes also Swedish "Saab", Italian "Alena" (of the "Finnmeccanicca" group), Spanish "Casa" (EADS), Swiss RUAG and Greek "Hellenic Aerospace Industry", while another step towards a European Fight Drone was recently (2012) initiated by Dassault and BAE (UK). A 1st succesful demonstration Flight of "Neuron" Drone prototype was realized yesterday, on December 3, 2012.

The Pleiades 1B satellite for Earth Observation, able to picture 70 cm objects also in 3D, which was just launched at Kuru (French Guyane) by a Soyuz rocket managed by Arianespace, is a Franco-Spanish-Italian cooperation with Russia, partly open also to other European participants in future, (such as Sweden, Belgium, Austria, etc).


Both developments stem from projects decided between 2003 and 2009, mainly by Chirac and Sarkozy presidencies, but streamlined and continued also by the new French president Hollande, and marked by the presence of Defense Minister Le Drian, who visited the EU Space operational centre at Guyane when "Pleiades 1B" new Satellite was launched on December 2nd, 2012.


+ "Defence Basis" reform to spare Funds for New Equiment :
Another aspect of France's on going Reforms, known as "Defence Basis", launched by former President Sarkozy and agreed also by new President Hollande on its main principle, aiming to reduce technical costs by "mutualizing inter-army Support" activities, (such as Transports, Ammunitions, Monitoring, etc., as well as Health and Research, etc), in order to re-Invest spared Funds into new Equipment and Staff, obviously could also insire usefully all the EU, where the mutualisation of many Countries' logistics can certainly free a lot of spare Funds which could be invested in more useful Defence-related actions or needs.

Of course this takes some special features in Strasbourg's region, where, among various other particularities from a Defence point of view, is also the presence of EUROCORPS' Headquarters (composed out of 5 Main EU Member Countries and linked with another 4 or 5),  and of the Administration of French forces located in Germany, including the Franco-German bataillon, as well as 2 German battaillons, according to a recent Franco-German Summit's deal, (comp. "EuroFora"s NewsReports from nearby Freiburg on 2010, etc).
    Le Drian after a recent meeting with EU President Van Rompuy in Brussels, may reportedly visit anew EU rotating Chair, Cyprus,  later this week, (on the occasion of a relay flight for French forces returning from Afghanistan), where he has actively participated at a September 2012 Ministerial Conference organized by the current Cyprus' EU Council Presidency (July-December 2012), during which he had succesfully proposed for the EU to help Sahel-Mali in training, and re-organizing a regional Anti-Terrorist Force composed by West African Countries, that UNO has endorsed in a Resolution voted at New York, and EU Council is due to adopt on December 1O on a Report by EU's High Representative Cathy Ashton, concerning this strategic hotspot recently affected by armed extremist Islamist groups attributed to Al-Quaeda right in the middle of a planned Nigeria-Algeria "Trans-Saharian" Gas Pipeline able to link the biggest new Gas findings in the World with the Mediterranean Sea towards Europe, etc.

    On this same occasion, the French Minister might eventually meet anew on Saturday, December 8, with Cyprus' Defense Minister Eliades, (that he has already welcomed, earlier in Paris, on November 8), just before an important EU Summit in Brussels next week (13-14 December 2012), which is due to also shape the main outlines for the mandate of an exceptional EU Summit on Security/Defence Policy scheduled for 2013.


    Eliades has been personaly born at the Lefconico village, currently under Foreign Turkish Military Occupation, where many Greek Cyriot Refugees have lodged Applications to ECHR in Strasbourg, and launched a Worldwide networked campaign, including at the Internet, asking to stop Ankara's continuing Violations of  their Human Rights to return back to their Ancestral Land and/or for their Family Homes and Private Properties to be restituted. Something that Turkey refuses, insisting to keep there a Camp for Ankara's Foreign Invasion/Occupation troops including an illegal Military Airport, etc.

    By another, convergent, coincidence, Cyprus' EU Council's chairmanship organizes at the island, the same days that EU Summit opens in Brussels, an obviously topical Conference on the Strategic issue of the "Security" of Gas/Oil "off-shore" findings and exploitation at the South-Eastern Mediterranean, (i.e. notoriously between Egypt, Israel, Lebanon and EU-Member State Cyprus), where several EU Countries' compagnies recently have had succesful bids agreed by Nicosia's Government on Oil/Gas searches at Cyprus' exclusive economic zone (EEC), including f.ex. Italy's ENI as well as France's Total, etc., (comp. "EuroFora"s positive question/reply contact with Total's CEO Christophe de Margairie, on 1/2012 at the French Presidential Elysée Palace, already sent earlier to Subscribers/Donors in brief).


    +Meanwhile, a converging Conference recently organized by the Cyprus' EU Council Chairmanship focused also on EU's fight against growing phenomena of "Sea Piracy", (mainly around the strategic Suez Channel, notoriously used for EU's Energy supplies by its own independent Ship Transports, in order Not to be obliged to always Transit through expensive, unstable and/or unpredictable 3rd Countries).

    => All these various issues topically have in common the Fact that they are obviously related also with Non-Military, i.e. "Dual", aspects of EU's Security and Defence policy, whose growing importance may obviously motivate even those EU Member Countries which are not yet fully participating in NATO's activities and/or reportedly hesitate on the issue of developing EU's Military forces, to find, nevertheless, both a generally useful practical interest and some politically non-controversial oportunities to get involved, together with most other interested EU Countries, in several European SDP projects and activities.



(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already sent earlier to "EuroFora"s Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate, full Final Version might be published later on).

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New Plan revealed during EU Parliament's session and while Strasbourg's Unified University was inaugurated, (biggest in France, aiming at EU links).

EuroDistrict Strasbourg-Ortenau's dynamics were boosted by a key Franco-German meeting during EU Parliament's session here, which anounced a swift towards ambitious European aims : To become a showcase for concrete achievements of European Cooperation that benefit Citizens' everyday life and Economy, while also developing a Culture able to serve and stimulate European Organizations' political activities.

With measures to be taken in 2009, Strasbourg-Ortenau's EuroDistrict should become EU's new "Metropolitan area" in the Decade 2010-2020, at the heart of Europe in the performant "OberRhein" region, a Franco-German Expert's Report anounced.

- "Defend European Institutions, and in particular EU Parliament" is a key point of the 2009 Report's threefold focus on "Infrastructures"' economy and quality, "Citizens' everyday life", and "Cultural and Political influence".

According to a Draft Statute, France and Germany agree that "an undeniable element of EuroDistrict's image" should be "Strasbourg's status, as Capital of a Democratic and Parliamentarian Europe".

    After parallel and joint meetings at EU Parliament, French and German Ministers for EU affairs, Bruno LE MAIRE and Gunter GLOSER, started working with representatives of Local and Regional Authorities from both sides at Strasbourg's Historic Town Hall, Place Broglie, for the 2009 Monitoring of EuroDistrict "Strasbourg-Ortenau, during which was published an important Experts' Strategic Study with proposals on how to develop it in the Decade 2010-2020.

    Introducing the 1st Experts' Report on "EuroDistrict" at a moment when it needs "New Ideas" as food for thought, Strasbourg's Mayor, Senator Roland RIES said that "a special Status" should allow "Citizens to share Infrastructures and a common European project", in agreement with his collegue, Mayor of Kehl and German spokesperson for EuroDisctrict, Dr. Gunther PETRY, who focused mainly on the useful role of "Local" authorities in "concrete" achievements.

    - Together with "facilitating Citizens' everyday life", "our countries have also a Political aim", which needs to find "New Forms of Cooperation", said German Minister for EU affairs, Gunter GLOSER. According to a "Subsidiarity principle", which starts from a smaller level, leaving to a bigger entity what it cannot achieve alone, EuroDistict should be the "1st level" in a "Concentric" schema, he added.

    - In fact, "it's a question of Europe's credibility : EuroDistrict must prove that Franco-German cooperation gives results", with "concrete achievements", said the new French Minister for EU affairs, Bruno LE MAIRE. Now, we "must advance further" : There is both "Local and National support" to make of Strasbourg-Ortenau's EuroDistrict "an example on what Europe must do in the Future if it wants to be credible in Citizens' eyes".

    - "Our Mission was to find the region's Potential of the region, "and search adequate Measures to use and develop it"; said German Expert Dr. Erwin VETTER. A main proposal is to "create a New Center for EU Competences", where everything should be concentrated : EuroDistrict, EuroCorps, EuroBest, etc : All in one area, while also linking Airports and other means of Transport, Culture, Education, Science and Research, etc. in order "to create 1 Metropolitan area" before 2020, he anounced.

    - With imagination and organisation "we tried to marry the French and German spirit", added French Expert Bernard COTTIN. He underlined "two points" :  - "In their Everyday Life, Citizens should feel that they are living in One Common Area", (fex. on Phones, Hospitals, Retirement, etc). But EuroDistrict should have also a "Cultural Dimension" : "Strasbourg, had been a little-bit left behind by both countries in the past, but must now find a New dynamic Momentum, at the Heart of Europe, strengthening its Cultural atous and becoming Multi-Cultural, in order to attain a European Dimension and develop the European Institutions", he concluded.

    Symbolically, both Mayors of Strasbourg and Kehl, Ries and Petry, gave to Ministers Gloser and Le Maire as a Gift two Books on Rhine River : Stylicised by both Logos chosen for "EuroDistrict" (as body of a flower), and for Strasbourg's new, Unified University, "UniStra", (as a long "S"), Rhine river came at the focus this week in Strasbourg, headquarters also of the oldest European Organisation : The Committee on Rhine's Navigation.. Meanwhile, Le Maire switched over from German (that he speaks fluently) to French, echoed, the other way round, by Gloser, who also understands French...
The 2009 REPORT :
Experts' proposals for EuroDistrict's Legal status is to start in 2009 with a "European Group for Transborder Cooperation", and "replace it, when possible, .. with an Original Form" of a new legal entity.
Citizens' oriented measures include to facilitate "acces to Health", "Mobile Phones", "Transborder Workers"', "School exchanges", etc., and other measures interesting Citizens, as f.ex. the creation of "Common Hospitals or Rescue centers", etc. Already, an agreement on "Urgent Medical Care" will be signed on February 10.

As "Economic Capital" of one of EU's most performant areas, known as "Ober-Rhein Metropolitan Region" ("superior Rhine" area), Strasbourg-Ortenau's EuroDistrict "should also develop its role of European Cultural and Political Capital, Symbol of Franco-German entente and of a Democratic Europe", Experts' Report concludes.

This goes well beyond developping Bi-linguism, transbrorder Training and "systematic" rapprochment of both Cultures (in Cinema, Theater, Music, etc).

It adds a progressive transfert in EuroDistrict of "elements of the Franco-German Brigade", close to "EuroCorps" Headquarters, and culminates with the promotion of European institutions (see above).

The Report also proposes to launch an "initiative" for "EU Parliament's unique Headquarters", developing Strasbourg's attractiveness vis-a-vis MEPs and staff.

It also includes the development of "a Research and Higher Education pole", among French, German and Swiss partners, "linked with Strabourg's new; Unified University" and "Ortenau's HochSchulen"

It's not a coincidence that this same week was inaugurated Strasbourg's Unified University : - "UniStra" becomes the Biggest in France, (with more than 42.000 students, 5.200 staff, a brand new "European Doctoral College", some 100 Research centers, and a Capital of more than 400 million €  from the State), aiming to create closer links with nearby German and Swiss Universities, fex. Karlsruhe, Fribourg, Stutgard, Bale, etc, as French Minister for Scientific Research and Higher Education, Valerie PECRESSE advised.

(See other, related News, already sent to interested "EuroFora"s subscribers and donors, which will be also posted at the Website asap).

Last but not least :  Non-believers should meditate on the fact that all this was symbolically made in the same Strasbourg Historic Town Hall's room where even the establishement of Council of Europe was decided, 60 years back in 1949...


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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