[email protected]: Trade unions of military and civilian staff discuss the future of the European Defence Union

On October 18, CESI and the Hessen Land Representation to the European Union brought together key stakeholders from the national and European levels to discuss the future of the ‘European Defence Union: What next?’ at the 17th edition of CESI's lunchtime debate series '[email protected]'.

CESI@noon: Trade unions of military and civilian staff discuss the future of the European Defence Union

The [email protected] touched upon the following questions:

• What are the opportunities and threats regarding the European Defence Union, the European Defence Fund and the European Defence Industrial Development Programme?

• What are the challenges for the establishment of the military planning and conduct capability (MPCC) within the EU military staff (EUMS)?

• What role should military and civilian staff should play in establishing the European Security and Defence Union and what are the lessons learnt so far from past cooperation and joint missions?

Particular attention was given to the role of the military staff, to its rights and duties.

Captain Andreas Steinmetz from CESI’s member organisation DBwV demanded harmonised high standards of military staff at EU levels. “Military personnel is key for the European Defence Union. Why not open discussions on social rights of military staff?” asked Emmanuel Jacob, President of Euromil.

Brigadier Heinz Krieb from the European External Action Service (EEAS) Military Staff noted: “European Defence Union should focus on prevention & foreseeability. Prevention is better than conflict resolution!”

MEP Michael Gahler (EPP) emphasised that “the solution is cooperation. We cannot be efficient alone in the field of defence.” He suggested a more solidary European Defence Union, based on a common project and shared responsibilities.

CESI President Romain Wolff concluded: “It is important to keep track of what’s happening on the ground. EU military staff should enjoy the same rights & standards as civilians in uniform. Protect those who protect us!”

Background of the conference

During the course of 2015 – 2017, Europe has witnessed a rapid change of its security policies due to new external factors, new threats and a steady increase of its security needs. Trend changing measures are now being envisaged. In summer, the Commission has issued a reflection paper on the future of European defence as part of the white paper process. Common military assets and the will of the EU “to engage at an unprecedented level in defence to support Member States” are being discussed. In order to create a defence union, all EU instruments, including EU funding, as well as the full potential of the Treaties shall be exploited.

This [email protected] gathered over 130 participants, practitioners from national armies, European stakeholders and representatives of the national delegations.

Coverage of the event on Twitter

Coverage of the event in foreign press

• https://www.dbwv.de/aktuelle-themen/politik-verband/beitrag/news/cesi-berufsrat-verteidigung-tagt-in-bruessel/
• https://www.dbwv.de/aktuelle-themen/politik-verband/beitrag/news/europaeische-verteidigungspolitik-die-menschen-in-den-streitkraeften-nicht-vergessen/

Picture: At the [email protected] on the European Defence Union © CESI 2017