Defence Ministers of five EU member states discussed how to increase efficiency of the EU Battlegroups

05 September 2013, Last updated at, 21:31 EEST
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author: Alfredas Pliadis (MoND)

On 5 September in Vilnius Defence Ministers of five countries that have contributed personnel to a currently on stand-by EU Battlegroup discussed how to use this EU rapid response capability in a more efficient way. 

“As a multinational entity when addressing an emerging crisis a EU battle group represents the whole of the EU rather than individual interests of the EU battle group parties. For that reason together with my counterparts from the United Kingdom, Latvia, the Netherlands and Sweden we have discussed the common criteria that might be acceptable to all the member states in using this EU’s rapid response instrument for crisis management in a more flexible way,” Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas said.

The Minister also said that at the informal EU Defence Ministers’ meeting in Vilnius on 5-6 September he would raise the issue of a more flexible use of the EU BGs in responding to crises as the EU member states had presented recently a number of new suggestions on a how to be more effective in using battle groups.    

“I do believe that the EU Defence Ministers’ meeting will serve as an excellent opportunity to share our views that could be developed into concrete proposals for the European Council,” the Lithuanian Minister of National Defence said.

One of Lithuania’s EU Common Security and Defence Policy priorities for the Presidency term is enhancement of the EU crisis response capabilities.

From reaching its Full Operational Capability of the EU battle group concept in 2005 the EU batlegroups have been prevented from being used for deployment. For that reason Lithuania suggests promoting a more flexible use and extended standby periods of the battlegroups thus reducing training-related costs and proposes a more equal burden sharing related to the EU battlegroups‘ activation among the EU members.

In that context Ministries of Defence of Lithuania and the United Kingdom will also hold a seminar on the EU BG efficiency in London this October. 

The battlegroup on standby from 1 July is approximately 2,000-strong and includes approx. 120 troops from King Mindaugas Motorised Infantry Battalion of the Lithuanian Armed Forces.   

 In case of activation, the EUBG will be ready for deployment on the ground within 5–10 days to carry out humanitarian and rescue tasks, conflict prevention and peacekeeping, combat forces in crisis management; joint disarmament, military advice and assistance tasks, post conflict stabilisation.

The EU battlegroups BGs are rapidly deployable and multinationally formed joint capabilities enabling the EU to provide a rapid response to emerging crises. Similarly to NATO’s Response Force, the EUBGs are made up of military units assigned by the EU member states for six-month standby periods.

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