6th Mar 2021

EU starts security and defence missions in 2003

1 January 2003 will be an important milestone for the EU as it marks the start of its first operation under the European Security and Defence Policy – the EU Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Moreover, following a landmark agreement between NATO and the EU earlier this month, the Union will for the first time deploy its own soldiers in the Balkan republic of Macedonia possibly by February 2003, taking over the NATO "Amber Fox" peace-keeping mission.

The EU Police Mission (EUPM) will consist of around 900 staff members, 500 of which will be police officers, 50 International Civilian experts and more than 300 local staff. Both EU states and non-EU states will be contributing to this mission. The highest participatory level will be from the present 15 EU states, but there will also be contribution from 12 EU candidates (except Malta), Iceland, Switzerland, Norway, Russia and Ukraine.

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Danish Sven Christian Frederiksen has been appointed head of the EU Police Mission.

This police mission will build on the IPTF (UN International Police Task Force)'s efforts over the past 7 years and is aimed to help the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities develop local police forces that meet the highest European and international standards and to ensure that sustainable institutional structures are in place by the end of its mandate on 31 December 2005. The EUPM will do this through monitoring, mentoring and inspecting police managerial and operational capacities. The EUPM has no executive powers.

Agreement on financing reached last February

In February 2002, EU foreign ministers managed to reach an agreement on the financing of the EU police force, amidst concerns over the financial burden that it would impose on the EU. The EU will only pay expenses related to transport and communication, while the salaries of each officer will have to be paid by the individual countries.

"We will see for the first time our European colours adorn the national uniforms of our police officers in a mission on the ground. It is a strong symbol of the collective will of Europeans to act jointly in this key task of consolidating stability and security in our continent," the Council Secretary General Javier Solana said.

Mention of military operations

The Copenhagen Summit on the 12-13 December, went one step further when confirming the Union’s "readiness to take over the military operation" in FYROM as soon as possible in consultation with NATO. So far the EU tasks have been defined as peacekeeping and crises management, however in Copenhagen the texts for the first time mention directly "military operations".

The European Council also indicated the Union's willingness to lead a military operation in Bosnia following SFOR (a stabilisation force run by the Alliance), and invited Javier Solana and the future EU Presidency to begin consultations to that end with the authorities in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the High Representative Lord Ashdown, NATO and other international players and to report to the Council in February.

NATO and EU sign historic partnership agreement

The EU can finally really develop its Security and Defence Policy by having access to NATO capacities and assets after signing the partnership agreement Monday in NATO Headquarters in Brussels.

"This is a milestone in the history of relations between NATO and the EU," said NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson.

EU ready for military operations within weeks

The European Union will start its first military operations within "weeks", the French President, Jacques Chirac, said after the EU summit in Copenhagen. Following a landmark agreement between NATO and the EU, the Union will for the first time deploy its own soldiers, in the Balkan republic of Macedonia, possibly by February. European troops already make up the majority of the 17,000-strong S-For peacekeeping force in Bosnia, but it is still under NATO command. A EU police mission takes over from the UN in Bosnia on 1 January.

Greeks to invite Turkey to participate in EU force

Turkey will be invited to take part in the first European Rapid Reaction Force, (RRF), operation. This information was given by Greek minister of Defence, Yannos Papantouniou, when speaking to journalists in Athens on the priorities of the Greek EU presidency.

"We want Turkey in the continent which will replace NATO in Skopje and we will propose this", Mr Papantouniou.


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The World Health Organization warned of a surge in new coronavirus infections across Europe, pointing out healthcare systems should not be under pressure in some countries. Meanwhile, the European Medical Agency is reviewing Russia's Sputnik vaccine.

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MEPs probing the EU's border agency Frontex cross-examined the agency's director. They also spoke to EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson, who made it clear she had little sway over the agency.

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