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The European Rapid Reaction Force. The Eu's Move From A Political Instrument To A European Army.

1335 words - 5 pages

The European Rapid Reaction Force (ERRF) is an idea as old as the EU itself. However until recently the issue of an EU force has been considered a taboo subject and so there has been no need to warrant public discussion about it. The formal decision to create the ERRF was only taken late in December 1999 whereby this agreement the 15 EU Members committed themselves to creating a European force of around 60,000 troops, with supporting aircraft and naval assets. The force which planners hope to have ready by 2003 will be capable of deploying within 60 days and should be able to sustain combat actions for one year. Surprisingly the British Prime Minister Tony Blair was considered one of the main instigators in the development of the ERRF. However Blair has since indicated that this move was designed to head off the possibility of more radical plans being developed by other EU members.As with many ideas there are several advantages and disadvantages and the formation of the ERRF is no exception. This report will analyse the major pros and cons of the ERRF and will then consider whether it offers any greater benefit than the system currently in place, which many regard as being a US led NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) force. However there are suggestions that the US does not always hold local European issues as it main priority.It has been suggested that the main catalysts in instigating the development of the ERRF, were the events that took place in the lead up to and the aftermath of the Kosovo conflict. There was a large amount of public dissatisfaction in the USA when its military forces went into Kosovo. US citizens questioned the need for risking the life of its own soldiers in a conflict, which appeared to bear little significance to the individual interests of the US. The situation was reminiscent of the Vietnam and Korean Wars, where American soldiers lost their lives for seemingly insignificant political and military justifications. This illustrates how the ERRF will hopefully allow the EU to "fight fires in its own back yard" and decrease its dependence on US military backing. The force will equip Europe to deal with matters that the USA and other NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) allies do not want to get involved in.The development of a European force seemed more urgent in the wake of George Bush junior's election as President of the USA. One of his key election campaign proposals addressed the priority of removing US forces from the Balkans. However circumstances developing from September 11 2001 have meant this position may have altered somewhat, as President Bush now seeks to gain maximum approval for his and the Western worlds war against terrorism.The effectiveness of the ERRF to launch operations independent of the US and other NATO allies has however been called into question. Many analysts believe the military infrastructure of the EU armies have become too reliant on the US for it to launch independent...

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