Franco-German Defence and Security Council
A few days after the second anniversary of the 2019 Aachen Treaty, the Franco-German Defence and Security Council was held virtually at Berlin’s invitation. Instituted since 1988 by an additional protocol to the 1963 Elysée Treaty, it gathers heads of State and Government as well as Defence and Foreign Affairs ministers.
Last held in October 2019, the Security Council has been the occasion for President Macron and Chancellor Merkel:
- On SCAF, under French leadership, to underline that, questions on the industrial workshare were still open but their political will was intact. In particular, the MoDs were asked to create soon the conditions to organise the Bundestag vote on workshare and budget.
- On Sahel, to mention the coming N’Djamena conference, following the January 2020 Pau conference, to which German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas will participate. The German participation in Malian soldiers training via the Gazelle mission will be integrated in the EU Training Mission EUTM.
- To stress the importance of the Strategic Compass orientations, begun during Germany presidency of EU Council and planned to be finalised during France presidency in 2022.
French and Greek air forces train in Skyros exercise
The French air forces, during the Skyros mission, have been training with Greece in a force deployment exercise.
Beginning the tour with Egypt and India, already Rafale clients, then the United Arab Emirates, a potential prospect, the French aviators reached the Tanagra airbase in Greece. The Greek Minister of Defence N. Panayotópoulos described the joint activities as “an excellent opportunity for both countries to get closer and develop interoperability, in addition to send a clear message on our deterrence capacities”.
In the context of recent tensions with Turkey on Aegean Sea sovereignty, France strongly supported Greece. Athens decided to purchase 18 Rafale combat aircraft from France, and the contract was signed January 25th. The delivery is expected in months, some aircraft being taken from French air forces aircrafts. This was therefore also the occasion for Greek aviators to analyse its capabilities and exchange with pilots.
Sahel Takuba Task-Force welcomes Swedish soldiers
The Takuba Task-Force will soon welcome a Swedish contingent. This force, launched in March 2020 and operational since July, is composed of Special Forces helping to train and coach Malian forces to combat. It will progressively be completed by forces from in total 8 European countries: Sweden, Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy, Denmark, Portugal, Belgium and Netherlands.
The first deployment was a Franco-Estonian unit, composed of 28 French and 22 Estonian. In the middle of January, it lived its first combat operation in an offensive recognition mission, supporting the Nigerian forces in stopping an armed group. The Czech deployment is also now finalised, while the Swedish are just starting, both in Menaka. Others are planned in the coming year, with for example 200 soldiers from Italy planned for March.
According to the French Minister of Defence F. Parly, Greece, Ukraine and Hungary could also participate in the coming months.
Memorandum of Understanding on the development of the Tempest between UK, Italy and Sweden
On Dec. 21, 2020, the 3 Minister for Defence have signed a Memorandum of Understanding stating an equal participation in the research, development and joint concepting phase of the 6th Generation of fighter aircraft. This program should replace the Eurofighter Typhoon in Italy and the SAAB Gripon in Sweden. The Full Development phase is planned to start in 2025.
The Italian Minister for Defence mentioned the evaluation of an integration of the Tempest Program in the FCAS Program (involving France, Germany and Spain, in order to ensure the risk assessment of an intra-European competition in the Armament Industry. The UK is looking for other international players, such as Japan (F-X), what would allow her to quite this EU-debate.