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Michel announces Euro-force

Published on 01/12/2003

1 December 2003

BRUSSELS – Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel has announced that France, Germany and the UK have agreed on base plans to create a EU military force independent of NATO.

“We can say that the embryo of a European defence is underway and that it’s an irreversible process,” Michel told the Associated Press following talks on the European Union’s first constitution in Naples on Friday.

Belgium was at the forefront of encouraging the creation of a separate military force, an initiative which has now been picked up by the “big three,” and one which Belgium will no doubt follow.

Spokespersons for France, Germany, and the UK confirmed that the groundwork for a proposal had been made, but that further discussions were needed with other allies and partners.

Most notable of these will be the US – Great Britain has been trying to allay US administration fears that such a military force could infringe on NATO’s supremacy.

It is expected that the EU force will deal with issues NATO is not involved with in order to avoid one organisation stepping on the toes of the other.

It was Belgium who first floated the idea of a European military force, initially suggested to reside at Tervuren, just outside Brussels. 

According to reports by French daily Le Monde however, the facility would more likely be based in the European district in central Brussels.

[Copyright Expatica News 2003]

Subject: Belgian news