Back to the Battlegroups

Soldiers from the Czech Republic display their shoulder patches for the EU’s Visegrad Battlegroup comprising the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. (Czech MoD)

European Union (EU) sources have confirmed to that the organisation maybe planning to enhance its EU battlegroups concept.

EU battlegroups have a battalion strength of circa 1500 troops and are comprised of forces provided by the member states of the European Union. These battlegroups, when formed, are under the political control of the Council of the European Union, itself comprised of ministers from the EU’s member states, according to the topic under the Council’s consideration. Meanwhile, operational control is exercised by an ad hoc headquarters, usually formed by a framework nation. The battlegroups have been in existence since 2007, but have never been deployed on the battlefield.

Battlegroups can be deployed for stand-alone operations or during the initial phase of larger operations under Article 43(1) of the Treaty on European Union, which covers the EU’s deployment of civilian and military means to support disarmament; humanitarian; military advice and assistance; conflict prevention, peacekeeping and post-conflict stabilisation tasks.

Historically, some EU member states have considered battlegroups too expensive and too difficult to deploy. That said, the EU is planning to consider the organisation of ‘slimmed down’ battlegroups comprising under 1500 personnel, sources tell in order to make battlegroups more affordable, sustainable and deployable when needed. The issue is expected to be discussed during the next the issue should be on the table at the Council’s next meeting of its Foreign Affairs Council, which convenes EU member states’ foreign ministers on18th May.