Saturday, March 4, 2017

EU military headquarters to open soon: sources

EU military headquarters to open soon: sources: A controversial European Union military headquarters to coordinate the bloc's overseas security operations will open in the coming months, EU diplomatic sources said Friday.

Brexit and doubts about US President Donald Trump's commitment to European security have given fresh impetus to EU ambitions to step up military cooperation, with France and Germany taking the lead.

"This is a big leap forward. It is supposed to start working initially in March and fully in June," one of the sources said.

EU foreign and defence ministers meeting Monday in Brussels will approve what is known as a Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC) unit, the sources said.

It will oversee the European Union's "non-executive" operations -- those that do not use force -- such as civil-military training missions in Mali, the Central African Republic and Somalia.

The EU also runs Operation Sophia in the central Mediterranean, which can use force to stop migrant smugglers, and Atalanta, part of international anti-piracy forces off the Horn of Africa.

These "executive" operations have their own command centres which will remain separate