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European Parliament: The Status and Location of the Military Installations of the Member States of the European Union and their Potential Role for the European Security and Defence Policy

February 2009


This paper analyzes the status and location of the military installations of the member states of the European Union and their potential role for the European security and defence policy.

The recently launched European Union (E.U.) mission EUNAVFOR SOMALIA (‘Operation Atalanta') to
fight piracy off the Somali coast and ensure the protection of a key E.U. Sea Line of Communication
(S.L.o.C.) is a vivid example of the coming of age of European Security and Defence Policy (E.S.D.P.).1 While such a development should be applauded, the present Briefing Paper argues that the E.U. and its Member States need speed up their efforts to reform, amalgamate and put in place the necessary functional and geographic structures for the protection of European S.L.o.C.s. and to expand the E.U.'s geographical and geostrategic reach.

Key to these structures are the overseas military installations of the E.U. Member States. These facilities, spread out across the world-and concentrated in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans-form partof a far broader set of geographic, political, economic and strategic dynamics, namely the delivery of a credible E.U. ‘forward presence' (i.e. regional presence, overseas basing, expeditionary military capabilities, and logistical supply systems, etc.) in regions surrounding the E.U., or along critical S.L.o.C.s linking the E.U. homeland to the multiple different nodes and points of the global economy. In an increasingly multipolar world, placing a renewed focus on these military facilities is a pressing European priority, particularly in an age of increasing geopolitical competition along the coastal littoral of Eurasia.

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