Hollande And Van Rompuy's Answer To The E.U Proposition To Buy The Mistrals. INCOMPLET


37 Members of the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, representing four groups and 14 Member States, have sent in a common letter to Francois Hollande and Herman Van Rompuy (president of the European Council) a proposition for the E.U to buy the Mistral. .

We managed to get a copy of the answers of Mr Hollande and Mr Van Rompuy to this proposition. Here are the main points of each of them:

ANSWERS FROM Mr HOLLANDE AND Mr VAN ROMPUY


Francois Hollande: « …je laisse au Président Van Rompuy…le soin de vous apporter les (points)…qui relèvent de la compétence de l'Union européenne. Il me semble en revanche nécessaire de vous faire part de mon approche quand à la livraison du premier bâtiment.

… Ces conditions sont claires, un cessez-le-feu mis en œuvre et l’engagement d’un processus de règlement politique crédible… La décision sera donc fondée sur l’analyse de la situation sur le terrain et sur la mise en œuvre des conditions que j’aie précisée…

Avec l’adoption du protocole de Minsk le 5 septembre dernier, la voie d’une sortie de crise se dessine. Soyez assuré que la France poursuivra ses efforts afin de consolider cette perspective ».

Herman Van Rompuy: «I consider your suggestions highly valuable, although their implementation might not be easy to achieve due to a series of limitations that the Treaty of the European Union (TEU) sets out in the field of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).

As you know, there are serious legal and financial obstacles to the EU procuring military equipment. The TEU indeed states that the CSDP includes the progressive framing of a common Union defence policy, which will lead to a common defence when the europen council, acting unanimously, so decides.

Nevertheless, the Treaty also states that the operating expenditure deriving from the implementation of the CSDP cannot be charged to the Union Budget, when such expenditure arise from operations having military and defence implications.»

WHAT IS IN THE PROPOSITION?


"We urge an immediate and absolute ban of arms deliveries from EU nations to Russia and express our concern regarding the pending delivery by the French ship construction company DCNS of the first Mistral ship to Russia, which was put on hold, but not definitely cancelled. [...] With regard to the financial burden of cancelling the contract worth €1.2 billion and an additional €251 million penalty for France, we ask you to consider the positive solution of buying both Mistrals in a cooperative effort of the EU Member States.

It would not only send a strong signal to Russia and help the EU to live up to its values, but would also provide a real asset in the EUs missions and operations at sea. The Mistrals could be engaged in missions of evacuation and rescue of citizens, crisis response and humanitarian missions, also in a cold weather conditions. They could be used in Frontex missions in the Mediterranean for rescuing refugees or support landings of EU military in crisis situations, make it easier to address threats around sea transport routes. Mistrals belonging to the EU would give a body to the idea of "pooling and sharing" and the creation of an EU maritime rapid reaction force.

Once such a strategic decision is taken, existing instruments may be used for financial administration of common costs and sharing of the financial burden between all EU Member States (ATHENA), as well as for acquiring both Mistrals and modalities of making them available to European armed forces (European Defence agency)".


HOW TO IMPLEMENT IT: THE ATHENA MECHANISM

The Athena mechanism can be used to finance the purchase. According to the Council of the European Union website, "Athena is a mechanism which handles the financing of common costs relating to EU military operations under the EU's common security and defence policy (CSDP). It operates on behalf of the 27 EU member states who contribute to the financing of EU military operations (Denmark has opted out of CSDP on military matters)."

This mechanism has already been used for several missions and is in use in 5 EU military missions at the moment. For example, on mission was the EUFOR Tchad/RCA that costed : EUR 119.6 million. Buying the Mistral "Vladivostok" would be the biggest amount ever used through the Athena mechanism.

Even though Mr Van Rompuy underlined the technical difficulties it might uncounter, this proposition of having the EU buying the Mistrals is obviously doable and the mechanism to set this up already exists.

According to the French newspaper "Le Canard Enchainé", Francois Hollande would take his decision about the Mistral delivery on the 1st of November, after the Euronaval exhibition on naval defence, maritime safety and security which will take place in Paris.

According to our information, the departure of the Vladivostok to Russia could take place either the 21st (as announced on the website of the port of St Nazaire) or the 28st (as mentionned by Russian sailors ) of November.

We're running short on time and will set up a campaign to support this resolution, stay tuned!

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