A Sight on European Defence

Usually, when looking at the questions asked by the German Member of the Parliament to their government, I can see that the most irritating party is the left one, named “Die Linke”. It’s normal, as their main status is to belong permanently to the opposition. Their website is here: Die Linke. I apologize, but as many European political parties, their website is almost exclusively in German.

Well, one of their questions, to which the answer was made public today, was related to a European Police Forces Training that took place in German Armed Forces training camp of Lehnin during the 2010 Summer holidays. Purpose was reportedly to develop common standards between some of the European police forces. This were the problem stands: several police forces, of which French Gendarmerie and Italian Carabinieri took part to the event, alongside some German policemen.

For those who still do not know, both forces, although performing daily usual police tasks, are under a military status, which has lead them to be committed in Afghanistan or other operations. You can see one of my previous posts: http://europeandefence.blogactiv.eu/2010/10/06/eu-operations-the-limits-of-civilian-police-forces-the-strengths-of-military-police/.

As usual I will not go into the details of the numerous questions asked by the party, but I will focus on some points, which limit the usability of German police in peace support or peace enforcement operations:

-Opponents to such common training see such training sessions as a creeping militarization of German police.

-The para 8 of the law on German Federal Police prohibits German Police from taking over military tasks.

-German government denies publicly any institutional cooperation with EuroGendFor (see a previous post as a reference, or go to the website of EuroGendFor, to get an idea on this force).

-German government denies any intend to extend the capabilities of Bundeswehr military police for international operations.

The main topic is not what really happened there, but the clearly set limitations that German law impose to its government. The immediate conclusion is that the German concept of ‘vernetzte Sicherheit’ will be extremely limited in is application, as any operation in which you interconnect the different parameters of the reconstruction of a failed state, should include the rule of law.

And the rule of law needs a local police force that you train, encourage and in some cases support, like the USA and their allies of NATO need in Afghanistan. The inability of German Police to work in a multinational environment and to use the same tools and weapons that the European allies, of which some of the major ones on the military level (The Netherlands and France) makes this very concept only partly applicable and could therefore could lead to harsh disappointment because of this missing side of state reconstruction, unless they have recourse to mentoring through private companies, like the US do, but in the German ethics way of thinking, this is hardly believable.

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