EU Legislation

France makes for formal call for European Union military help

 Meanwhile, France invoked a never-before-used European Union “mutual-defence clause” to demand that its partners provide support for its operations against Islamic State in Syria, Iraq and other locations.

If a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power.

France will revise its security strategy to better respond to terror attacks after a series of shootings and suicide bombings struck the capital city on Friday, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Sunday. The German defence minister, Ursula von der Leyen, said that the French invocation of the mutual defence clause meant only that there was “a basis for consultation”.

“Today France asked the European Union for aid and assistance“.

France will therefore have to negotiate concrete plans with other member states on how the mutual defense clause would be implemented.

“Either there will be cooperation in terms of pulling capabilities, so French intervention in Syria and Iraq, or there will be support given [to] other operations elsewhere”, Le Drian said. Britain, Finland and Sweden immediately said they stand ready to help.

French President Francois Hollande has also called on the United States and Russian Federation to join a global coalition to destroy the Islamic State.

On his part North Atlantic Treaty Organisation secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said that there had been no request for invoking Article 5, “but many North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies have offered France support and help and we are doing in many different ways”.

“In Brussels, I have just invoked Article 42.7″, he wrote in a tweet directed at the European Union defense ministers meeting.

London has not struck at Islamic State in Syria and although British Prime Minister David Cameron is said to be eager to take that step, he faces resistance from British lawmakers. “(Syria is) the biggest factory of terrorism the world has ever known and the global community is still too divided and too incoherent” in its response, Hollande said, adding that the “acts of war” in Paris were decided upon and planned in Syria.

She said that it was “first of all, a political act, a political message, also underlining, on the contrary, that the Europe of defence is something that we can use, it is something that we have”.

At the simplest level, member states are required to provide aid and assistance, although the provisions don’t apply equally to all countries.

“It is in that spirit that we are in discussions with the French government”.

Austria’s Interior Ministry said Salah Abdeslam, the suspected driver of one group of gunmen carrying out the attacks, entered the country about two months ago with two companions that were not identified.

Not a single objection surfaced to the request, meaning that 28 states have offered military support to France.

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