The German Path to an EU Army (III)

BERLIN/THE HAGUE (Own report) – German politicians, military officials and the media consider the subordination of combat units of other European nations to German Bundeswehr command to be a role model for a future EU army. The integration of a paratrooper unit from the Netherlands into the German Army’s covert operations and counter-insurgency unit of the Rapid Forces Division (DSK) is considered a “milestone of integration.” An armored contingent from the Netherlands will soon be integrated into a German cavalry unit, along the same lines. The European Air Transport Command (EATC) stationed in Eindhoven, the Netherlands – currently under a German commanding officer – is also being praised as an “effective model of cooperation.” According to its own accounts, the Bundeswehr sees the EATC as a clear extension of its “radius of operations,” providing bases stretching “from be the Baltic Sea almost to Gibraltar.”

Unprecedented Loss of Sovereignty

As the German press puts it, the Bundeswehr is the “trailblazer for a European army.”[1] The subordination of the Netherlands’ 11th Airborne Brigade under the German Army’s Rapid Forces Division (DSK) command is presented as evidence. (The DSK is specialized in covert operations and counter-insurgency.) “Never before has a European country’s military unit been included in a major military unit of another European country. No state has ever renounced on this fundamental core component of its sovereignty.” “Without a doubt,” this makes the armed forces of the Netherlands and of Germany “the vanguard.”[2]

Model for the EU

Last summer’s, subordination of the 11th Airborne Brigade of the Netherlands under the DSK’s command was accompanied by massive propaganda in favor of the creation of an EU army. For example, at a DSK mustering ceremony in Stadtallendorf, German Defense Minister, Ursula von der Leyen (CDU), in the presence of her counterpart from the Netherlands, Jeanine Hennis-Plaschaert, spoke of a “new era” in the two countries’ cooperation. This era corresponds to “the optimal European spirit” and has the wherewithal to serve as a “model” for a “joint defense and security policy.”[3] The Bundeswehr then declared that the armies of Germany and the Netherlands are now “marching in the front ranks of progress.”[4] The new “subordination relationship” is a “historically unique, unprecedented occurrence.”[5]

Additional Plans of Integration

The participation of the 11th Airborne Brigade from the Netherlands was also essential in the “Reliable Sword” maneuver. The 11th Airborne is now being placed under German DSK command. Evidently, this cooperation model will soon be further expanded. The 43rd Mechanized Brigade of the Netherlands is to merge into the Bundeswehr’s 1st Cavalry Division. According to the German armed forces, both units recently held a “workshop,” wherein DSK staff officers reported on “the meaning of a major German unit’s expanded cooperation with its counterpart from the Netherlands.”[12] The Bundeswehr even has a direct influence on the training of soldiers from the Netherlands. They are being instructed in the use of the armored-howitzer 2000 at the Bundeswehr’s artillery school in Idar-Oberstein. That weapons system, produced by the German arms manufacturers Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall, known for its devastating destruction, was last used in Afghanistan.

Global Mobility

The German armed forces praise its cooperation within the framework of the European Air Transport Command (EATC) as particularly “effective.” That unit stationed in Eindhoven (Netherlands) coordinates the missions of the air transport fleets of EU members Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, and Spain. The primary objective, according to the German military, is the “creation of global mobility” of troops and combat material – for example in “support of special forces operations.”[13] Particularly Spain’s joining EATC – which since July is under a German commander – has been enthusiastically welcomed by the German Air Force. This has significantly extended one’s own “radius of operations.” “A multi-national air transport fleet, whose bases of operations reach from the Baltic Sea almost to Gibraltar, is at the disposal of the Bundeswehr.”[14]

Full article: The German Path to an EU Army (III) (German Foreign Policy)

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