The European Parliament has submitted a proposal to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, suggesting that the number of EU military groups be quadrupled: from 18 battle groups to 18 brigades.

In its annual report on the implementation of the Common Security and Defense Policy, the European Parliament has invited the Council to investigate the “feasibility of potentially setting up a permanent Spearhead Europe Force, which could be drawing on the European multinational high readiness corps HQ in Strasbourg, Szczecin and Münster.”

According to the European Parliament, such a possibility would largely contribute to the “continuous transformation of national armed forces, toward the goal of being more interoperable, more sustainable, more flexible and more deployable.

The report sent to the Committee on Foreign Affairs further suggested that the EU battle groups should evolve into “full-scale brigades” and be assigned to the corps HQ on a permanent basis.

The proposal outlined by the European Parliament will take effect if it is approved by the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the EP session, although, even if approved, it will remain a non-binding recommendation for the European Commission and the Council.

Currently, the EU has 18 battlegroups, each consist of 1,500 troops, held at readiness level of 5-10 days that can be deployed and sustained 6,000 km or more from EU territory for mainly humanitarian operations or peacekeeping missions lasting between 30 and 120 days, whereas a brigade in the European army has 3-5 battalion-sized units, capable of the autonomous implementation of a wide range of general-purpose tasks.  

The battlegroups, which reached full operational capacity in January 2007, rotate actively so that two are ready to be dispatched at any time. Nevertheless, they have yet to see any military action.

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