Written by Immacolata Ciotta
On 29-30 August 2022, Prague hosted an informal meeting of the defence ministers of the EU Member States.
The main topic of discussion on the agenda was the intensification of the training of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The relevance of the topic, after seven months of the armed conflict, is also related to the counteroffensive undertaken by Ukraine. European Union Training Missions (EUTM) are one of the instruments within the EU’s integrated approach and, in general, they aim to strengthen the military capabilities of the EU’s partners. To this end, EUTMs support the improvement of partner armed forces through training and advising on force reform to increase the effectiveness of defence sectors.
In the case of Ukraine, an EUTM would intend to ensure coherence and maximisation of efforts by EU countries, avoiding duplication and overlapping. Many of them are already engaged in the delivery of weapons that are sometimes characterised by very specific technology. For this reason, it would certainly be useful (also in terms of time management) if it were the same countries that supply these assets to also deliver training in their use.
As stated by Joseph Borrell regarding the preparatory work for an EU military training mission, what would be included in the examination of ‘legal and operational parameters’ to ‘define a crisis management concept that could lead to a decision on this’. The High Representative/Vice President also mentioned several areas where EU training could be useful: logistics, military health and protection against nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.
Although most of ministers were indeed in favour of deploying the EUTM in Ukraine, the idea remains characterised by a cloud of uncertainty regarding the format and timing of the project.
Bayer L. and Lau S. (2022, August 30). Retrieved from Politico: https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-ukraine-train-army/
Van Der Lijn, J. et All (2022). EU military training missions: a synthesis report, Sipri. Retrieved from: https://www.sipri.org/sites/default/files/2022-05/2205_eutm_synthesis_paper_0.pdf