The French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has made a formal request for help from its EU partners, the first time the mutual assistance article in the European Union’s treaty has been invoked.

 

“In Brussels, I have just invoked Article 42.7,” he tweeted at the EU defence ministers meeting.

 

The EU’s Lisbon Treaty says that in the case of a “armed aggression” EU countries have “an obligation of aid and assistance by all means in their power”.

 

Le Drian is due to give a news conference later today.

 

 

“France would like to ask its European partners for their bilateral support in the fight against Daesh in Iraq and Syria as well as increased military participation from member states in operational theatres where France is deployed,” an EU aide has told AFP.

 

Despite intense speculation, France has not so far invoked the Nato Article 5, which military support to an ally under attack.

 

That part of the treaty gives all signatories the right to wage war as an act of self defence, under the UN charter.

 

It has only been invoked once – after 9/11 by the United States.