PARIS/BERLIN (Own report) – Berlin is forging ahead with the German-French military cooperation by intensifying collaboration in air transport. In addition to ambitious armament projects, the defense ministries of Germany and France have reached an agreement last week regulating the operation of a joint air transport squadron based in Évreux (France) as well as the training of the necessary personnel. The squadron will be available to both countries’ tactical air transport and supplement the large A400 transport aircraft, which will also be procured jointly by the German and French armed forces. Experts view the current cooperation – for example in the framework of the Franco-German Brigade – to be insufficient, because, so far, diverging strategic goals complicate its deployment. For his “vision of a new Europe,” Emmanuel Macron, under whose presidency the cooperation is to be expanded and improved, will be awarded Aachen’s International Charlemagne Prize next week.
Foreign Policy Divergences
Joint Training of Troops
In the meantime, cooperation is being further intensified at base level. Berlin and Paris have agreed to organize the joint training of pilots for the large A400M transport aircraft. The plane is jointly produced by Germany and France – with the inclusion of Spain and Great Britain. Both countries’ air forces have acquired more than four dozen of these planes. Armament cooperation allows some aspects of the pilots’ retraining for the A400M to be carried out in Germany and others in France. As reported by the Bundeswehr, the three months of difference training will be carried out at the Airlift Squadron 62 in Wunstorf, Germany, while the tactical flying will be taught at the Transport Flight School in Orleans, France. The latter permits German pilots to incidentally practice particularly long flights. According to the German Air Force, one German pilot also flew to New Caledonia, the French archipelagos in the Southwest Pacific.
Joint Military Transport
Close cooperation in tactical air transport is also planned. Germany and France have already initiated the creation of an integrated air transport squadron, which will be equipped with four French and six German C-130J Hercules transport aircraft. They will be responsible for transport flights to airfields too small to accommodate the A400Ms. The air transport squadron will be set up in Évreux, France, where, in 2021, both pilots and ground crews will be trained. A German-French training center is also planned. The Bundeswehr plans to dispatch 200 soldiers to the squadron, due in 2021 to be preliminarily, and in 2024 fully combat ready. According to planning, both the cockpit and ground crews will be bi-national. January 15, the first C-130J was delivered to France. On hand at the reception, alongside France’s Minister of Defense, Florence Parly, was the Chief of Staff of Germany’s Air Force, Lt. Gen. Karl Müllner and the Director General for Planning of the German Ministry of Defense, Lt. Gen. Erhard Bühler.
A New Europe
Like the intensified armament cooperation and the implementation of economic reforms modeled on Germany’s Agenda 2010, expansion of military cooperation is an aspect of France’s adaptation to the German government’s EU concepts, which French President Emmanuel Macron began implementing immediately after taking office. For this, Macron will be rewarded and he will receive the International Charlemagne Prize of the City of Aachen on Mai 10 in Aachen’s Town Hall. He was chosen “in recognition of his vision of a new Europe,” and as “a courageous pioneer for the revitalization of the European dream,” the Board of Directors of the Charlemagne Prize Society for the Conferring of the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen write: “In the person of the President of the French Republic, the Board of Directors offer acknowledgement and encouragement to a source of hope for a new chapter in the success story of a united Europe.” As can be seen from Macron’s domestic reforms as well as his foreign and military policy cooperation with Berlin, the “new Europe” is a Europe patterned after the German model.
Full article: Military Axis Berlin-Paris (German Foreign Policy)