Command and control? Planning for EU military operations
Source: Institute for Security Studies
This paper assesses the effectiveness of the European Union?s capability for the planning and conduct of military operations. Given the fact that the planning and conduct phases of an operation can never be fully isolated from each other, the paper does include some references to the conduct dimension, i.e. command and control (C2). However, it is with planning issues that this paper is most directly concerned. It argues that the lack of a permanent planning and conduct capability cripples the Union?s planning and C2 performance as well as the development of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) more broadly. This capability, though, need not adopt the form of a fully-fledged Operational Headquarters (OHQ). The paper explains that the nature and evolution of the Union?s planning and C2 capability is largely the result of compromises between France, Britain and Germany (the Union?s ?Big Three?) and argues that a coincidence in British-German objectives ? the ?awkward alignment? ? is particularly responsible for the continuing absence of a permanent military planning and C2 capability.
Commission recommendations for Greece
Source: European Commisission Directorate-General Economic and Social Affairs
The European Commission today adopted a series of recommendations to ensure that the budget deficit of Greece is brought below 3% of GDP by 2012, that the government timely implements a reform programme to restore the competitiveness of its economy and generally runs policies that take account of its long-term interest and the general interest of the euro area and of the European Union as a whole.
It seems that yesterday was a rather gruelling day for EU leaders with hours of squabbling over how to handle the looming Greek tragedy. Then cue left enters EU President, Van Rompuy, who, we assume, wanting to lighten the atmosphere, decided to announce that he wants to triple the number of Commission summits from four to 12 a year!
from Social Europe Journal by Paul Collier
I nearly dropped my copy of today?s London Evening Standard in amazement at the 2/3rds of a page comment piece by Financial Editor Anthony Hilton. He?s got a strong track-record for saying moderately sensible stuff when it comes to European Union affairs, but even so ? this is the Standard, a paper that was until a few months ago owned by the same lot who run the rabidly europhobe* Daily Mail, and has tended to continue the old regime?s knee-jerk anti-EU attitude on the rare occasions it bothers with the EU at all.
GDP releases are, by their very nature, lagging indicators and thus do not tell us a whole lot about the current momentum in an economy. Moreover, the immediate focus of attention in the Eurozone remains, and rightly so, the situation in Greece (and Spain), and what precise plans are likely to emerge from the busy schedule meetings which is taking place between Eurogroup and EU finance ministers and heads of states. Yet, despite all the known shortcomings, GDP data remains our basic source of information about the health and progress of our economies, and with the Q4 data out today and the 2009 GDP summary we are able to arrive at some sort of interim conclusion  on what was obvioiusly an absolutely abysmal 2009. More importantly we are also able to take stock of a recovery which permanently promises to arrive, but never actually seems to do so, much to the chagrin, I am sure, of the various Eurozone policy makers (click for better viewing)
In the Lisbon Treaty preamble the member states of the European Union confirmed their attachment to the principles of liberty, democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and of the rule of law. The EU shall offer its citizens an area of freedom, security and justice, according to Article 3(2) TEU.