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Europe

Deal Struck on EU Defense

On the eve of negotiations to finalize the EU's constitution, Britain, Germany and France, have finally put their differences aside to reach agreement on the military capabilities of the EU.

On the eve of historical negotiations to finalize the European Union's Constitution, the three major European defense players, Britain, Germany and France, have finally put their differences aside to reach agreement on the military capabilities of the EU. The agreement, reached on Thursday, says that the European Union will have its own military planning cell, but this will only be used as a last resort and will not become a fully fledged military headquarters. Washington had previously expressed concerns, shared by the United Kingdom, that the new military arm of the EU could undermine the NATO alliance. The deal indicates that, when carrying out military operations, the EU will always in the first instance consider using NATO facilities. If that is not appropriate, then the EU will resort to using the existing facilities in member states. It would only set up its own planning cell to carry out an operation as a last resort. ( EUobserver.com)