By Jacob Bojesson
More than 600 members from European police and military forces took part in an 11-day exercise in April to better prepare for cross-border crisis situations, including a civil war.
The exercise took place in the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia between April 4-11 as part of the Lowlands Gendarmerie project. The exercise focused on “future missions,” including a civil war, where an “international stabilization effort” will be needed. This includes training in crowd and riot control, social patrols, SWAT teams and forensic investigation.
EU member states have been floating the idea of a joint military force after failing to keep migrants out of the continent over the past year. Andrej Huko, the European affairs spokesman for the German government, said the exercise is “extremely worrying and contrary in Germany to the principle of separation of police and military.” Huko added that he thinks the aim for the exercise, which he was blocked from attending, was to militarize police forces.
Germany and the Netherlands merged part of their naval forces in February, and have announced intentions to expand cooperations in the future. German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said the merger “is the path to a European defense union.”
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called for a joint EU military in the aftermath of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris.
“We will have to invest a lot to create a real European defence policy,” Juncker said. “It is not an immediate project, but it is an ambition.”
Five more joint exercises are planned over the next two years.