Lithuanian military personnel will conduct standby in EU Battlegroup concurrently with Lithuanian EU Presidency

28 Jun 2013, Last updated at, 17:03 EEST
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On July 1 Lithuania’s term of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union begins, on the same day approximately 120 Lithuanian  troops will enter a standby with a United Kingdom-led EU Battlegroup (EU BG). The unit, tailored to respond to crises, comprises approximately 2 thousand troops from the United Kingdom, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden and the Netherlands. 

On July 4 the Ambassadors of the EU member states constituting the Political and Security Committee (PSC) and Chairman of the European Union Military Committee (EUMC) General Patric de Rousiers conducting a visit in Lithuania on the occasion of the beginning of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union will observe a training event of the Lithuanian troops assigned for standby in an EU Battlegroup in Rukla.

The assigned military will conduct the standby in their home countries. They will maintain high readiness to be capable of deploying into the theatre of operation within 5-10 days and to be sustainable there for 30-120 days. 

The EU BG is ready to conduct peace support and crisis management, humanitarian and rescue operations, to render assistance for the third parties in countering terrorism, and to complete other tasks necessary. The unit was certified for the standby this May during an exercise hosted by the United Kingdom.

Lithuania’s main contribution to the-UK EU BG is a manoeuvre unit formed by a company of King Mindaugas Motorised Infantry Battalion. In addition to that, Lithuanian officers will serve at the EU BG headquarters. Chief of Staff of the Lithuanian Land Force Colonel Vaidotas Malinionis will serve as deputy commander of the EU BG.

One of the priorities of Lithuania as the host country of the EU Presidency in the EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) area is facilitating the solution to the EU BG deployment issues. Despite of the fact that the EU member states have been training and commissioning troops for standbys in the EU BGs since 2005, the EU rapid response units have not been deployed for any crisis management tasks yet. For the reasons mentioned above Lithuania will seek broader discussions on the EU efficiency which encompasses aspects of more flexibility in the EU BG deployment procedures.

Lithuania proposes a more flexible use and extended standby periods of the EU BGs with a view of increasing their cost efficiency, and joint training events of the EU BG contributing nations with an aim of ensuring that their readiness was better harmonised.

The Ministry of National Defence will co-host a high-level workshop with the Defence Ministry of the United Kingdom this October in London to address the EU BG effectiveness. 

The EU 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 EU BGs are made up of military units assigned by the EU member states on a rotational basis for six-month standby periods. This is not the first EUBG Lithuania has contributed to the EU capability. Personnel of the Lithuanian Armed Forces were assigned to complete half-year duty periods in the EU BGs in 2010 and 2011.

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