Thursday

29th Sep 2022

EU to provide 'backbone' of Lebanon force

A meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Friday (25 August) saw member states commit up to 9,000 troops to a UN force to oversee the fragile ceasefire in Lebanon.

The agreement means that thousands of UN troops will be deployed to the region within as little as a week.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who also attended the meeting in Brussels, welcomed the EU pledges saying they amounted to over half of the total 15,000 troops envisaged under the UN resolution governing the ceasefire.

"More than half the force has been pledged today. Not only troops on the ground but we also got naval assets as well as air assets and when you put it altogether Europe is providing the backbone to the force," he said.

"We're approaching this in three phases. The first phase, we would want to get in about 3,000 to 4,000 men very quickly, in the next few days or a week. And then we will have a second and a third phase to complete our deployment," Kofi Annan said.

The exact number of troops pledged remains unclear with foreign ministers after the meeting giving estimates that ranged between 7000 and 9000.

Italy has pledged the most troops with 3000, it is followed by France with 2000 and Spain with up to 1,200. Other smaller countries are also contributing with Poland expected to send 500 troops, Belgium up to 400 and Finland around 250. Germany will provide marine units.

The meeting also resolved who would head the mission after both France and Italy threw their hats in the ring. France will oversee the ground mission for the first months until February when Italy will then take over.

The EU's commitment ends weeks of hesitation by member states which had reflected badly on the bloc as whole.

With the US not contributing and Israel so far rejecting offers by countries such as Malaysia, which do not recognise the Jewish state, the pressure had been mounting on the EU to make good on its vague promises.

The breakthrough came on Thursday when French president Jacques Chirac said he had received "guarantees" on the mandate which allowed him to commit 2000 troops instead of the previous offer of 200.

Referring to the unclear mandate, which had caused so many countries to hesitate, Mr Annan told foreign ministers that Hizbollah would only be disarmed as part of a political process, but that if UN troops encountered a situation on the ground, they would be able to act.

Mr Annan also told ministers that he was in discussion with Turkey about it sending troops.

Feature

Why northeast Italy traded in League for Brothers of Italy

EUobserver spoke with several business figures and all confirmed they voted for Georgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy because it promised stability, less bureaucracy and tax cuts. Matteo Salvini's anti-EU rhetoric scared them, while they trust Meloni has "more common sense".

Opinion

How US tech giants play EU states off against each other

Some have tried to justify Big Tech's meagre tax payments in EU states with heavier tax burdens by emphasising the fact that these companies create jobs and invest in next-generation technologies. However, their market dominance comes at a steep cost.

Deregulation of new GMO crops: science or business?

Academics and biotech research organisations with corporate interests have been leading the lobby campaign to deregulate new genomic techniques in the EU — using 'climate-friendly' and 'science-based' narratives, according to a report.

Investigation

The European shipping giants plying Putin's fossil-fuels trade

A vast network of European ships helps keep Putin's oil economy afloat. European vessels have shipped millions of tonnes of oil, gas and coal from Russian ports in the six months since the invasion, Investigate Europe and Reporters United reveal.

Feature

Why northeast Italy traded in League for Brothers of Italy

EUobserver spoke with several business figures and all confirmed they voted for Georgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy because it promised stability, less bureaucracy and tax cuts. Matteo Salvini's anti-EU rhetoric scared them, while they trust Meloni has "more common sense".

Investigation

The European shipping giants plying Putin's fossil-fuels trade

A vast network of European ships helps keep Putin's oil economy afloat. European vessels have shipped millions of tonnes of oil, gas and coal from Russian ports in the six months since the invasion, Investigate Europe and Reporters United reveal.

News in Brief

  1. EU takes Malta to court over golden passports
  2. EU to ban Russian products worth €7bn a year more
  3. Denmark: CIA did not warn of Nord Stream attack
  4. Drone sightings in the North Sea 'occurred over months'
  5. Gazprom threatens to cut gas deliveries to Europe via Ukraine
  6. New compromise over EU energy emergency measures
  7. 15 states push for EU-wide gas price cap
  8. EU: Nord Stream explosions 'result of a deliberate act'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. Everything you need to know about the EU gas price cap plan
  2. Why northeast Italy traded in League for Brothers of Italy
  3. How US tech giants play EU states off against each other
  4. Deregulation of new GMO crops: science or business?
  5. The European shipping giants plying Putin's fossil-fuels trade
  6. Russian ideologue and caviar on latest EU blacklist
  7. Netherlands tops EU social safety net for the poor
  8. New EU rules to make companies liable for their AI failures

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us