• Ο Στρατηγός Κωσταράκος για τις δραστηριότητες της Στρατιωτικής Επιτροπής (in english)

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    Η ομιλία του Στρατηγού Κωσταράκου με θέμα τις πρόσφατες δραστηριότητες της Στρατιωτικής Επιτροπής στην Υποεπιτροπή Άμυνας και Ασφαλείας του Ευρωπαϊκού Κοινοβουλίου


    Chairman of the European Union Military Committee

    General Mikhail Kostarakos

    CEUMC Speech at SUBCOMMITTEE ON SECURITY AND DEFENCE
    EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

    "EU Military Committee Contribution to the evolving CSDP"

    Brussels, 24 January 2018

    Madam Chair,

    Distinguished Parliamentarians,

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Good morning.

    Before I proceed with my remarks, allow me to sincerely offer you and
    your families my best wishes for a more prosperous, happy and successful New
    Year. May all your endeavours are met with success and appreciation.

    It is an honour for me to appear here today, in front of the elected
    representatives of citizens of the European Union. And, it is also a pleasure for
    me to have the opportunity to inform you about the EU Military Committee's
    contribution to the evolving CSDP Common Security and Defence Policy.

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Two years ago, when I first appeared in front of this Committee, I
    concluded my remarks warning that "as we speak, in many regions of the
    world, instability is raising and we must remain vigilant and united,
    notwithstanding our diversities." In these two years that passed by, the world
    has not become a safer or more stable place. Any progress achieved in one
    field, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, mostly known as the Iran nuclear
    deal comes easily to my mind, has been counter-balanced by the deterioration
    witnessed in others, namely, North Korea or Yemen. 

    At the same time, the number of the ongoing CSDP military missions and
    operations remains unchanged. There are two ways to interpret this fact:

     The first one, the pessimistic, is that we have not succeeded in our
    objectives, and therefore we remain in these countries or areas;

     The second one, the optimistic, is that European Union is regarded
    as a trusted and credible security provider and therefore, is
    requested to provide assistance, despite the inherent limitations it
    faces. Both aspects are of course correct.

    I will return to the issue of our missions and operations later in my
    presentation.

    In the Council Decision of 22 January 2001 setting up the Military
    Committee of the European Union (2001/79/CFSP), the EU Military Committee
    Mission is stated as follows: "The EUMC is responsible for providing the PSC
    with military advice and recommendations on all military matters within the
    EU. It exercises military direction of all military activities within the EU
    framework." In line with this mission, the Military Committee has been and still
    is actively engaged and contributes within the framework of its tasks and
    responsibilities to the evolving Common Security and Defence Policy, at all
    levels.

    At the strategic level, the EU Military Committee was engaged in the
    drafting of the EU Global Strategy early on. Our inputs were timely provided to
    the drafting team and were to a great extent adopted, acknowledging our
    position that argued that security and defence had become major concerns of
    the European people and that this fact should be reflected in and addressed by
    this overarching European strategic document. We now know that Security and
    Defence are at the heart of the Global Strategy and that they influence all the
    consequent documents and decisions.

    Our engagement at this strategic level continued, both at the conceptual
    and the implementation phase. Building on our contribution to the Global
    Strategy, the EU Military Committee continued to provide concrete
    recommendations and advices to the drafters of the Implementation Plan on
    Security and Defence, based on the vast military expertise this body has. The
    Committee was also engaged, although at different level, to the drawing of the
    deliverables of the Implementation Plan, namely, the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) and the European Defence Fund (EDF). 

    This engagement in the conceptual phase does not end our contribution.
    To the opposite, the Military Committee considers its formal engagement in
    the operational phase to be very important. The Member-States' position,
    equally expressed through the EU Military Committee, is for their extensive
    participation at all stages, levels and phases of the evolution of CSDP. The EU
    Military Committee holds very extensive military expertise, which can and
    should be transformed into solid military advice that will be incorporated into
    the decision making process. This has been taken into account and is reflected
    in the documents establishing the procedures on which these tools will
    operate. In all the documents that have been produced until now, final or draft,
    a role has been foreseen for the Military Committee, recognising the added
    value of its contribution.

     For PESCO projects, November 2017 Council Conclusions state that
    "the Military Committee will provide military advice (on individual
    projects)" (Article 5 para. 1) and "will provide the Political and
    Security Committee with military advice and recommendations
    regarding to the annual PESCO assessment process" (Article 5
    para.3).

     An equally substantial role is expected to be reserved for the
    Military Committee in the procedures that will be established for
    the European Defence Fund and the European Defence Industry
    Development Programme (EDIDP).

    To this end, the Military Committee cooperates with all other relevant
    stakeholders in order to identify the optimal way, in terms of time and form of
    communicating its views, to offer its input in the EDF/EDIDP process.

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    At this point, it needs to be underlined that the EU Military Committee
    has always been formally engaged in the evolving of CSDP at the strategic level,
    even before the surface of this new work strands. The EU Military Committee
    significantly contributes to focus on developing military capabilities for
    sustaining and enhancing CSDP and meeting new requirements of CSDP. This is
    performed in the form of producing the Requirements Catalogue and providing Strand "A" and "D" military capability requirements that feed into the
    Capability Development Plan (CDP) of the European Defence Agency (EDA). 

    Inline with the 2016 Council Conclusions and the new Level of Ambition
    determined by the Council of the European Union, the Military Committee
    adapted the related Requirements Catalogue (RC) Illustrative Scenarios (IS).
    This led to the review of the Requirements Catalogue that was concluded in
    November 2017. The Requirements Catalogue is one of the building blocks,
    together with the Force Catalogue, for the Military Committee's input to the
    Capability Development Plan. The linkages of the Capability Development Plan
    with PESCO and EDF are obvious and I do not think I need to elaborate.

    All the aforementioned work strands and ways to contribute to the
    evolving CSDP are with a view to the future. The Military Committee's
    contribution though also focuses to the present. The Military Committee seeks
    ways to improve the performance, effectiveness and efficiency of the EU
    military element. The latter, although limited in size, is widely regarded as an
    important element and contributor to the EU's Integrated Approach to external
    crises and conflicts. Therefore, we want to maximise its contribution.

    To that end, I consider the establishment of the Military Planning and
    Conduct Capability as the best example and the most tangible proof of the EU
    Military Committee's contribution to the evolution of CSDP and to the
    improvement of the military element's performance. The Military Committee
    has been very vocal and insistent on highlighting the gap in the military Chain
    of Command. A gap that hampered the effectiveness of the military leadership
    on the ground. The recommendations made were adopted and implemented,
    although the establishment of an Operational Headquarters for all EU military
    Missions and Operations, which would be from a military point of view the
    optimal situation, has not yet become a reality. Hopefully this will be one of the
    recommendations of the review that is foreseen to take place before the end
    of this year.


    At the tactical level, the Military Committee directs all military activities
    within the EU framework, in particular the planning and execution of military
    missions and operations under the Common Security and Defence Policy
    (CSDP). I will briefly present you the current state of the six ongoing EU
    Missions and Operations.


     The EU Training Mission in SOMALIA (EUTM Somalia) was
    launched in 2010. The Mission operates with a three pillar 
    approach; training, advising, and mentoring. The Mission's
    Training Team supports the Somali military authorities in the
    design, development and delivery of general and specialist
    training, particularly through courses conducted at the Jazeera
    Training Camp (JTC), located in Mogadishu. Until now, EUTM
    Somalia has contributed to the training of approximately 5.500
    Somali soldiers. The Mission's Advisory Team provides strategic
    advice to the Somali authorities within the security institutions,
    primarily the Ministry of Defence and the General Staff. Currently,
    the Mission faces multiple challenges, the main being:

     The recent efforts of the Somali Government to
    strengthen the National Security Architecture, and

     The recent military operations conducted by the
    Somali National Army (SNA) (with the support of other
    stakeholders such as the African Union Mission in SomaliaAMISOM)
    against armed groups and terrorist organisations
    in the country.

    These challenges will provide an opportunity to EUTM Somalia to
    reinforce its effort on the support of SNA’s Training and on the
    Advice on Security and Defence matters. There are also a number
    of concerns. Such as:

     The security situation in Mogadishu and the Al
    Shabaab threat;

     The AMISOM withdrawal and

     The Political instability in Somalia

     The EU Training Mission in MALI was launched in 2013. Its
    training pillar is a success. At this moment, the Malian Armed
    Forces are to a great extent overstretched due to the current
    security situation. MINUSMA continues to play an essential role in
    building sustainable stability. The overall evaluation of the
    Advisory pillar is also positive. One additional objective has been
    recently given to the Mission, to support to the G5 Sahel process,
    within the activities of EUTM Mali in support of the Malian Armed 

    Forces, by contributing to enhancing coordination and
    interoperability within the G5 Sahel national Armed Forces. The
    main challenges EUTM Mali faces are:

    The regional approach of the European Union in the
    wider region in conjunction with the training and mentoring
    of future Malian Armed Forces;

     The flexibility needed to meet future Malian Armed
    Forces short term needs through the delivery of collective
    training to prepare forces for operations, and

     The gradual progress in the Malian Security Sector
    Reform.

    Our concerns include:
     The surge in Islamist radicalisation and recruitment in
    the North and Centre of the country;
     The harassing attacks on international units along the
    MSR between BAMAKO and GAO;
     Current political uncertainty in the build up to the
    elections;
     Logistical support to courses.

    In the CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, the Advisory Mission
    that was deployed at the time of my previous appearance before
    you has been transformed to a Training Mission. Here again, the
    Missions faces a number of challenges, the most important being:

     The training of additional personnel as part of the
    Disarmament, Demobilisation, Reintegration and
    National Renovation (DDRR) process, and

     The collective training and future deployment of FACA
    units in the country.

    Our concerns include:

     The political instability, and

     The threat of the Armed Groups that are not involved
    in the DDRR process.

    There is much more to be done in RCA but I have no doubts that
    through cooperation, amongst the various stakeholders within and
    outside the European Union, it will become a success story.


    I will now turn from Missions to Executive Operations.

     In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Operation "Althea" is delivering
    capacity building and training while at the same time
    maintains the safe and secure environment in the country
    since 2004. The main effort of the Operation is the "Capacity
    Building" of the Armed Forces of the country. In this regard,
    significant progress has been made in developing a better
    link between the Mission and the NATO Headquarters in
    Sarajevo, with which we share the task of building the
    Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Ultra-nationalist
    and extremist organizations as well as some radicalized
    segments of the population remain a threat to the stability
    of the country and therefore to its internal security. The
    greatest vigilance is thus recommended. Regarding the rest
    of the challenges our Operation faces, I take special note of
    the following:

     The ability of Op Althea to respond to threats to the
    Safe and Secure Environment is hampered by two
    major factors: Situational Awareness (a lack of
    information gathering capabilities) and the limited intheatre
    forces (only a reduced battalion) especially
    considering that the limited Reserve Forces are home
    based (apart from the KFOR Tactical Reserve);

    My concerns include:

     The political uncertainly in the country related to the
    general elections (October 2018), and
     The progress of the accession to the EU which has
    slowed down in 2017.

    Europe has historically been heavily dependent on the sea. The
    same holds truth for the European Union. The maritime domain
    contains the bloodlines of our economy. In this context, it comes
    as no surprise that two out of three Operations launched by the
    European Union are maritime ones.

     In the Southern Central Mediterranean we have deployed
    EUNAVFORMED, Operation "Sophia", since summer 2015, in
    order to undertake systematic efforts to contribute to
    disrupt the human trafficking and to reduce the loss of lives
    in the Mediterranean. Countering the smuggling and
    trafficking of migrants is more than just one dimension of
    the effort to put an end to the human tragedy that we see
    unfolding in the Mediterranean Sea; it is also an important
    contribution to restoring stability in the region. The
    Operation's mandate has been amended (July 2017) to
    include the following tasks:

    To set up a monitoring mechanism of trainees to
    ensure the long-term efficiency of the training of the
    Libyan Coastguard;

     To conduct new surveillance activities and gather
    information on illegal trafficking of oil exports from
    Libya in accordance with UNSCR 2146 (2014) and 2362
    (2017), and

     To enhance the possibilities for sharing information on
    human trafficking with Member States' law
    enforcement agencies, FRONTEX and EUROPOL.

    As main challenges, I consider the following;

     The enhanced monitoring of the Libyan Coast Guard,
    and

     A potential mandate to operate within territorial
    waters.

     Last, but not least, we have EUNAVFOR "ATALANTA", the
    EU's first naval engagement which was launched in December
    2008. EUNAVFOR "Atalanta", in cooperation with other actors in
    the region, succeeded in zeroing successful piracy attempts and in
    protecting the World Food Programme shipping, enabling the safe
    delivery of over 1 million tons of food to Somali ports. That record
    ended last March. Since then, piracy off the coast of Somalia has
    resurfaced. This confirms what I argued in front of this Committee
    two years ago: "Neither the capabilities nor the intent to launch
    piracy attacks have yet been eliminated. All available analyses
    converge to the conclusion that the moment the international
    community withdraws the naval units that provide security in the
    area, the piracy threat will resurface". Not everything is grey
    though. EUNAVFOR "Atalanta" has established strong working
    relations with other international actors such as the United
    Nations and its different agencies, NATO, the US-led Combined
    Maritime Forces (CMF), China, India, Japan, South Korea and other
    nations engaged in the fight against piracy. Of equal importance
    are the working relations it has established with the shipping
    industry. EUNAVFOR "Atalanta" also has close cooperation with
    EUCAP NESTOR, in supporting Somali Capacity Building in the
    maritime domain, and with other EU bodies and instruments.
    Among the challenges faced, I consider the following as the main
    ones:

     The impact of the Yemen conflict in the operation´s
    activities, and

     Providing support to EU bodies and missions in
    Somalia, in particular on security emergency
    evacuation from Mogadishu in case of emergency.

    Regarding concerns, the political situation and the force flow rank very
    high.

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    What I have reported to you up to now do not conclude the EU Military
    Committee contribution to the evolvement of CSDP. With a view towards the
    future and feeling the responsibility to present new ideas and fuel the
    discussion on getting CSDP to the next level, my Cabinet has produced during
    the two years of my Chairmanship a large number of Food-for-Thought papers,
    non-papers or letters. These papers put forward new initiatives and ideas that
    were considered worthy of examination or examined with a fresh look ones
    that have been re-examined in the past, in the belief that the conditions are
    now mature and they call for their revisiting. The issues addressed in these
    papers are very diverse and cover almost any domain, ranging from the
    evolution of the Battlegroups to Gender Balance and from Military Advanced
    Training to the Financial Compensation for Force Contribution. In doing so the
    Military Committee has displayed initiative, dynamism and proactivity. The
    results produced in each of these initiatives undertaken vary, some of the
    initiatives were met with enthusiasm, others need more time and others are
    ahead of their time. What I keep is that the Military Committee was always
    keen to examine and discuss every proposal or idea with a positive view,
    without prejudice, and that the discussions we had were always frank, fruitful
    and constructive.

    One of the initiatives that was warmly accepted was about the Advanced
    Modular Training, an initiative that is designed to gradually build a European
    military identity. Member-States welcomed this idea and as a result ESDC has
    organised and runs the courses of the programme for the first year.

    On the other side, one of these initiatives that regrettably did not go
    forward was related to the financing of the Battlegroups. The Battlegroups
    have never been deployed and this will very likely continue to be the case for
    the foreseeable future. The reasons for this unfortunate conclusion of a tool
    that holds a great potential are two-fold:

     First, the experienced shortage of political will, and
     Second, the underfunding by the Athena mechanism.

    The recent overview of the latter, did not meet the expectations of us
    who wanted to see tangible support for the only rapid response tool Europe
    actually possess. The process failed to deliver real changes; it introduced only 
    marginal improvements. I would call them, cosmetic. If this is indicative of the
    European Union's approach towards its Hard power, I have to say in total
    honesty that the latter will remain under-developed.

    In a connected and globalised world, characterised by the speed news
    are travelling, the existence of "fake" news and the impact the right message
    has, it is paramount for the European Union to be active in strategic
    communications. This is an "all hands" effort. In my capacity as the Chairman of
    the EU Military Committee and the highest ranking military officer in the Union,
    I spared no opportunity to communicate with other officers, civilians, students
    and the Academia, to relay the agreed strategic messages. The message that
    the European Union is a credible, strong, capable, honest and predictable
    security provider. That the European Union decided to do more to protect its
    citizens and territory. And that this strengthening should not be regarded as a
    threat against anyone, since the Union also stands by its allies and partners,
    honouring its agreements and deals. And that just because of this intention to
    honour the responsibilities and commitments undertaken, the Member-States
    will do more for their security and defence. Doing so, I upgraded the role of the
    Military Committee as a Public Diplomacy and a StratComm tool. This upgrade
    is also reflected at the use of the Military Committee as an entry point to
    discussions with Myanmar, Pakistan and Vietnam. This effort, coupled with the
    participation of officers in uniform in various ESDC courses, workshops,
    seminars or other events, increased the recognition of the military element of
    the EU.

    It is well-known to the Members of this Committee that European Union
    usually face Force Generation problems. This is something that also tantalises
    United Nations and NATO. This is an additional reason for the European Union
    to seek for partners that will contribute to its CSDP military Missions and
    Operations. I understand that having partners in our Missions and Operations
    does not only address practical, staffing or capability shortfalls. It also enhances
    the image we show the world, as described in the Global Strategy and the
    Integrated Approach of the European Union. It is an image of several actors
    joining forces for a shared goal.

    To this end, I used the good personal relations I established during my
    tenure as Greek Chief of Defence to persuade Egypt, Bosnia and Herzegovina
    and Jordan leaderships to offer their participation to our military Missions.

    The European Union and NATO jointly decided to strengthen their
    cooperation, as stated in the July's 2017 Joint Declaration. The EU Military
    Committee contributes to this end, by holding EU-NATO formal and informal
    meetings at the appropriate level. At the same time, the Chairmen of the
    respective Military Committees are invited to participate in the other
    organisation's meetings at Chief of Defence level.

    Another personal view of mine which I tried to implement is regarding
    the synthesis of my Cabinet. My staff supports me in my capacity as the
    Chairman of a body representing the Member-States, therefore I consider it to
    be right that as many Member-States as possible contribute to my Staff,
    representing their respective Armed Forces. Today, I am proud that my Cabinet
    consists of officers from 14 different Member-States.

    Ladies and Gentlemen

    I will stop here, and I welcome your questions. Before I do so, I would
    like to take the opportunity and state, for the record, that in the last two years,
    ground-breaking developments have taken place in the Security and Defence
    domains in the European Union. I am proud that the Military Committee, my
    staff and myself have played a modest but, allow me to say, important role to
    fulfilling the vision of the Global Strategy and making Europe stronger. But for
    this vision to be materialised, it demands patience, commitment, consistency.
    Therefore, in the ten months that I still have in front of me as Chairman of the
    EU Military Committee, I will continue devoting all my energy to this end,
    representing the Member-States and their priorities.

    Thank you.

    Edited by Captain (Hellenic Navy) Vasileios Loukovitis












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