Europe is going to test its military response capacity for the first time. The 27 want to show their union and strength. And they are going to do it with him first military exercise coordinated by the General Staff of the European Union (EUMS), the EU military command that directs operations abroad and which, in the absence of a common army, has coordinated the 16 countries to carry out an unprecedented deployment in European waters.
In this exercise, named Milex 23, Spain will have a relevant role, having offered itself within the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Specifically, it provides tactical command and most of the force. The first part of the training is underway until October 6, which tests the ability to plan and make decisions. Starting October 16th it will begin the practical exercise and more colorful, in which about three thousand soldiers of 31 units and 16 countries of the Union. Spain has had the initiative as part of the Presidency of the Council, which is why the maneuvers will take place in Cádiz and Spain will provide more than half of the soldiers.
Several Navy ships will participate in the maneuvers with the ships of the Amphibious and Fleet Projection Group Juan Carlos I, Galicia y Castilla; Harrier planes, helicopters, a Reinforced Marine Infantry Landing Battalion and the frigate Numancia. They all form the group Daedalus23. “The offer from Spain, from its Navy, has been very important for the development of this exercise,” explained yesterday the Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles, who held a videoconference with the admiral commander of the expeditionary group, Gonzalo Villarand with the commander of Castilla, Juan Bautista Payá, who explained what this mission consists of. “It is the first time that the European Union deploys real forces in an exercise, and the first time that it is directed from the General Staff in Brussels,” highlighted the admiral commander.
Although the group Daedalus23 Its deployment begins today, the exercise does not begin for ten days, whose main challenge is “to assemble a force of three thousand people from 16 countries,” Villar explained. This deployment will include the participation of amphibious ships Spanish and French; Spanish and Portuguese frigates and a French minehunter. Also ground components of the Army and a battalion of the Air component.
The soldiers will do the practice in the Retín maneuvering field, from Cádiz, where they want to test Europe’s capacity for rapid joint action, in one more step towards its strategic autonomy. Therefore, the assumption for the training states that a non-European country cannot guarantee its security due to the presence of terrorist forces and they ask the EU for help to try to reverse the situation. Faced with this hypothesis, they are going to rehearse the deployment of the Rapid Action Force, which includes a battle group to secure the port and an evacuation of non-combatant civilians (NEO), as well as a humanitarian aid operation. A situation that is reminiscent of the conflict in Ukraine but that Minister Robles also finds useful to be prepared in case it also occurs in a country in the Sahel. «We have a Navy with muscle, with preparation, interoperability. A reference point of rigor, seriousness and professionalism,” the minister stressed yesterday.