Half of EU countries, including Czechia, propose creating a joint rapid reaction military force

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Fourteen countries of the European Union, including the Czech Republic, propose creating a joint EU rapid reaction military force that would intervene in international crises, Reuters reported. An attempt to create a similar unit already took place 22 years ago.

The authors of the drafts agree that the EU should set up a unit of around 5,000 troops and should have ships and planes at its disposal to help democratic foreign governments in urgent need. An unnamed senior EU official told this to the Reuters agency.

EU defense ministers will address the idea at the Thursday meeting chaired by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who criticized the Union for its reluctance to intervene more in moribund states like Libya.

In addition to the Czech Republic, the 14 countries supporting the proposal include Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, and Spain.

Creating a similar unit was first discussed in the European Union in 1999. In 2007, the Union set up a system of battle groups of 1,500 soldiers to respond to international crises, but it was never implemented.

There are fears among some countries that such a force could amount to an EU army, which would effectively remove control of national defense from the nation-state and subsume it under authority from Brussels. There are also worries among some member states, such as Poland, that such a force would undermine NATO and Europe’s relationship with the US.

Title image: In this Feb. 10, 2013 file photo, French soldiers secure the evacuation of foreigners during exchanges of fire with jihadists in Gao, northern Mali. According to army reports Wednesday Jan. 27, 2021, Mali’s army and French forces in the West African nation have killed at least 100 Islamic extremists so far in 2021 . (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, file)

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