EU needs its own crisis headquarters / 28-10-2010
European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee: EU must react quicker to crises/Need to better integrate civilian and military personnel/Ehler: more civilian aid workers necessary
The European Union must react better and faster to crisis situations and have a more efficient co-operation of its civilian and military structure, the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee demanded today. In order to plan and execute civilian and military missions, the EU needs its own crisis headquarters, the Committee demanded, supporting a Report by EPP Group Member Christian Ehler on the cooperation and development of civilian-military capabilities. "Europe must be capable to react quickly to humanitarian, political or military crisis situations with diplomacy, civilian aid workers or military means where necessary. The EU's civilian and military capabilities have to be better integrated", Ehler said.
In order to improve the civilian crisis management, the EU needs more trained police officers, legal experts and civilian administrators, with Member States having to facilitate their deployment. "Most promises of Member States for civilian personnel for crisis missions only exist on paper. Until 2009, Germany, for example, has committed less than a fifth of its promised 1.228 civilian personnel", Ehler criticised. EU Member States could not force policemen or judges to take part in EU missions, he admitted. "However, while civilians take part in EU missions on a voluntary basis, EU Member States do not provide enough incentives for them to do so. Civilian personnel volunteering for EU missions must have better career prospects when they return to their home country."
The Foreign Affairs Committee also demanded a better usability and flexibility of the EU battle groups which were agreed in the Helsinki goal. "The battle groups need to be capable of creating a safe basis for the deployment of civilian personnel in crisis situations. Civilian and military planning needs to be better co-ordinated so that battle groups can protect civilian aid workers, for example, after natural disasters such as the earthquake in Haiti, and help reconstruct the necessary infrastructure", Ehler said.
"With this Report, the European Parliament has the chance to influence the process of creating the new structures for the External Action Service, the Commission and the Council", he concluded.
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