EU response to Mali underscores its continued military irrelevance
By Brooks Tigner
The European Union's (EU's) forthcoming military training mission in Mali is a fig leaf that covers what is actually an inter-governmental mission, once again highlighting the fundamental weakness of the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), say European Parliament (EP) members, think-tanks, and non-government organisations.
"I deplore the lack of progress towards a common European defence," said MEP Guy Verhofstadt after EU foreign ministers approved the new mission on 17 January. "Convening an extraordinary foreign affairs council to co-ordinate an EU response only after French troops are on the ground highlights [the CSDP's] fundamental flaws."
Former Belgian prime minister and now leader of the EP's federalist cross-border centrist grouping of MEPs known as Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), Verhofstadt believes that the EU will only be taken seriously as an effective world actor if it has a credible military defence strategy. "A system to manage in common in a concerted way our military actions is essential," he claimed.
His criticism of the EU's decision making leading up to approval on 17 January of the new mission - dubbed EU Training Mission (EUTM) Mali - was echoed by defence policy experts at European and US-affiliated think-tanks.200 of 590 words
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