Delay for European defence force

EU defence ministers acknowledged at an informal meeting in Brussels on 12 October that the envisaged deadline of December for an operational rapid reaction force will not be met. The delay is due to the recognition that the EU Member States military capability gaps have yet to be plugged. In addition, the refusal of Turkey to allow the EU force unconditional access to NATO assets has still to be resolved.

Issues such as relations with NATO, shortfalls in military
capabilities and a lack of political leadership have slowed down
the process of creating an effective military capacity in the EU.

The EU Council’s foreign policy chief, Javier
Solana, was keen to emphasise that Turkey’s opposition would not
hold up the development of an EU military capability. However, he
also admitted that the EU would not be in a position to specifiy by
the December deadline what capabilities the EU military force will


The 15 Member States of the EU called for the establishment
of a rapid reaction force of 60,000 men at the Helsinki European
Council in December 1999. Whilst 2003 was the date envisaged for a
fully operational force, December 2001 was seen as the deadline for
a limited operational capability to be available.


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