From the Irish Times: Gen [Henri] Bentégeat [chair of the EU military committee], who will retire next month, has had the tricky job of implementing the military aspects of ESDP missions in this complex political environment over the past three years. So has there been progress? “On the military side there has been some progress on capabilities, but I would say, very frankly, limited progress,” he says, citing a shortage of helicopters, air transport, and command and control capabilities.

However, the main obstacle to effective ESDP lies with public unease in supporting deployment of forces in “far-away places with the associated risks and costs”.

In Europe there is more or less what the Americans call a culture of ‘no war’. This is the consequence of two world wars and very bad memories in all our countries,” he says.

This problem is exacerbated when a quick victory cannot be achieved, says Gen Bentégeat, who cites Afghanistan as a prime example. “When we cannot have quick success – as we had in Chad – then public opinion usually doesn’t follow. That is a real problem, because most modern crises have very profound roots and cannot be solved in a short period of time,” he says. (photo: Council of the European Union)