EU to Set Up New Military Unit Which Officially is Not an EU Military HQ

Don't call it an EU military HQ (graphic: Council of Europe)

Don't call it an EU military HQThe EU is to set up a new military unit as part of its plans for greater defense cooperation, according to several diplomats — just don’t call it an EU military HQ.

The Military Planning and Conduct Capabilities (MPCC) unit would be responsible for the EU training missions in Somalia, Mali and Central African Republic, and EU countries have agreed on all the major outstanding issues, according to four diplomats and two EU officials who spoke on condition of anonymity as they are involved in the talks….

The final details are expected to be worked out at a meeting of foreign ministers in March….

The MPCC will be based in the same Brussels HQ as the existing European Union Military Staff, described as “the source of military expertise” to the EEAS, the EU’s diplomatic corps. The existing unit has several tasks including providing early warnings, situation assessment and strategic planning.

The new unit would be much smaller and focused only on military operations. It would plan and conduct missions — but not all of them. Instead it would take charge of what are known in EU jargon as “non executive” missions, which means they have only an advisory role and not a mandate to conduct actions instead of the host nation.

This new structure will likely be headed by Finnish general Esa Pulkkinen, already the chief of the European Union Military Staff….

The new unit’s other employees, in the range of 20-30 staffers, will also be mostly already employed by the European Union Military Staff. Additional personnel will come from member countries, diplomats said.