Defence Committee debate: the Role of the EDF
Ladies and gentleman, members of the EU Commission Defence & Peacekeeping Committee, with this debate we begin the first of a series of debates aimed at drafting a basis document by which we expect to define the role of the European Union Commission in peacekeeping policies.
Thus, I ask you this question: which role do you think the EDF should take? Should it be a mere peacekeeping corps or it should be used for peace enforcement operations?
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Jules Borde considered before offering his opinion.
"It seems that past efforts to acquire equipment for the EDF were intended for a fairly small force that would not have had the capacity required for an active peace enforcement role. Although I am comfortable discussing an EDF intended for either only peacekeeping or peacekeeping and peace enforcement, there might be more support for an EDF focused on peacekeeping. We should also consider when the EDF could use force. For example if the EDF is attacked while supervising a ceasefire, I think the EDF should be free to use force in self defence and if necessary to fight its way out of a difficult situation. Another possibility is to prevent war crimes against civilians in an area the EDF may be responsible for."
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Livia Arcturus nodded a lot during Borde's speech, then spoke her piece:
"I've discussed this at length with President Glorius. This is a somewhat sensitive topic to Pax Aurea, but also a matter that bears a lot of potential to become an important... how to put this... an investment as much as an insurance of pan-European peace.
Pax Aurea remains strongly opposed to "peace-enforcing" missions conducted by the EDF. Bellum est bellum regardless of the terms we use. Escalating an armed conflict by outsider forces is rarely an effective way to ensure a lasting peace afterwards. While I agree that a force under the EU's control and monitoring could in some cases be a more, hm, "reliable" actor than vigilantist nations acting on their own, this development would ultimately lead to a more militarized European Union -- an evolutionary direction I wish to avoid.
However, when it comes to peace-keeping, this is something I think the EDF could excel in. Take the Saharan situation, for instance. Right now, Marrakechian troops are in withdrawal; paradoxically, they'd be needed for keeping the situation stabilized in the ruined country, yet their very presence incites resentment and rebelliousness. A neutral force under the banners of the European Union could act as a peace-keeping "police force" to oversee the gradual peace-building process in a war-torn region while keeping the troublemakers at bay. Such a force would probably need the authority to return fire in self-defense situations, but an active participation in armed conflicts should be out of the question.
Similarly, the peace-keeper EDF could offer protection to humanitarian workers operating in dangerous, unstable corners of the world. Relief work aims to be neutral and altruistic; though armed, these guardians should also bear the reputation of neutrality and impartiality, especially if sent in the middle of an active combat zone.
The EDF could also be of great assistance during major natural disasters, helping the wounded, securing the refugee camps, working hand-in-hand with the local authorities. I'm quite sure Occoron would have welcomed such a presence during the Asunc?on earthquake last year.
Whatever the situation, the EDF should receive the Council's explicit mandate before any action can take place.
That leaves the question of financing the Defense Force. I am open for all suggestions, but I'm somewhat sceptical about any compulsory EU-wide taxes or similar fees. Such plans would likely be voted down."
So I assume we all agree on the establishment of the EDF as a purely 'peacekeeping' force with an important paper in disaster relief and humanitarian aid-worker protection.
If we are all for it I propose that we now talk about which size it should have. In my opinion, a force 150.000 men strong could do, but what do you think? Also, should the EDF be composed purely by ground forces or should it include air and naval units?
I agree that the EDF must be a peacekeeping and rescue unit, but not only. As a first step, I prefer to start to work with a "muscle-less" EDF, as it will be easier to reach results at the end of this Commission mandate, overcoming the opposition of some eurosceptic delegates. But we shouldn't renounce to have, one day a EDF with the power and the resources to intervene in conflicts with a true combat capacity.
About the composition of the forces, I think there should be naval and air units alongside the ground forces. We need to create a EDF as autonomous as possible if we do not want to beg national armies for transport planes, helicopters or ships if it needs to deploy quickly or assume coast guard, naval control or sea rescue operations.
European Council Delegate
Allright then. We agree on the need to have both land, sea and air units. However, we should get a buget from the Economics commissioner so we can begin talking about it's size.
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When organizing the new EDF, emphasis should be given, in my opinion, to mobility, flexibility, and fast dispatch. We should ensure that the Force is prepared to act in less than 24 hours from the occurring of the incident Europe is facing. Not the entire EDF, of course, that would be a logistical impossibility, but a quick response division of some sort that can be deployed to the crisis site, should the commanding staff so decide. I'm not talking about an actual military engagement here, but rather a natural disaster or similar catastrophe where assistance is required without delay, and where the EDF can be sent without the need for extensive reconnaissance, as would be the case with a live-fire military incident.
To ensure this, the EDF should have a flexible and capable transporting capacity -- both for moving personnel and materiel to the trouble zone, and for extracting people from the it. Air and sea both covered, as Mr Espinosa pointed out. One of the most important aspects of the EDF could -- and should be, in my opinion -- to oversee and execute missions to rescue civilians and refugees found under the threat of a natural disaster, military campaign, or other similar impending danger. When it comes to large-scale transportation of people, in some situations, the EDF might perform better and even more orderly than a purely civilian humanitarian aid organization.
Councillor of Pax Aurea