14 countries of the European Union, including Germany and France, have proposed the creation of a rapid reaction military force that could be used at an early stage of international crises.
A senior EU official told Reuters on Wednesday.
According to the official, the countries say that the EU should create a brigade of 5,000 soldiers, possibly backed up by ships and planes, to help democratic foreign governments that need urgent assistance.
EU defense ministers will discuss the idea on Thursday at a regular meeting chaired by EU diplomatic chief Josep Borrell, who has accused the bloc of being unwilling to intervene more actively abroad, especially in states such as Libya.
The 14 countries are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, and Spain.
Having first begun discussions in 1999, the EU created a capable 1,500-strong combat team system in 2007 to respond to crises, but they have never been used.
These battle groups can now form the basis of the so-called first entry force, part of a new push to strengthen the EU’s defense capability.
Since this year, the European Union has a common budget for joint development of weapons, it is also developing a military doctrine for 2022.