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The BA105 squadron was launched in Evreux, in northern France, on Friday. It will have 260 personnel, half of whom with be French and the other half German.
The air transport unit will see French and German airmen working together, without any distinction based on nationality.
Operations should begin later this year, with the unit reaching its full strength in 2024.
In a statement, the French Air and Space Army said: “On Friday September 3, the Franco-German BA105 squadron in Evreux was officially created.
“This binational tactical airlift fleet constitutes a major new area of cooperation between the Flag of France and the Flag of Germany.
“Within this unit, the Flag of France and Flag of Germany soldiers will be able to work in mixed teams, without distinction of nationality.”
It continued: “One of the objectives is to carry out operational missions with mixed crews, while retaining the possibility of carrying out national missions.
“Initial operational capacity should be reached in the fall of 2021 with the establishment of the unit in Évreux, and full operational capacity in 2024.
“The squadron will have 260 personnel, 50 percent French and 50 percent German.”
It comes as calls for an EU military have been growing since last month’s American debacle in Afghanistan, which saw all the country’s major cities fall to the Taliban.
Western forces evacuated their nationals, and Afghan allies, from Kabul international airport.
However, the evacuation was dependent on US protection, meaning it ended when American troops pulled out on August 31.
Following the withdrawal, Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign affairs representative, called for a European “rapid response force” of 5,000 troops.
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Speaking to reporters in Slovenia he said: “The need for more European defence has never been as much evident as today after the events in Afghanistan.”
A similar view was expressed by Claudio Graziano, the EU military committee chairman.
He called for a European “reaction force” adding “now is the time to act”.
Even some sceptics, such as German defence minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, appear to have partially changed position.
Writing in Politico last year, Kramp-Karrenbauer said: “Illusions of European strategic autonomy must come to an end.
“Europeans will not be able to replace America’s crucial role as a security provider.”
However, following the Afghan collapse, she suggested “coalitions of the willing” could act militarily “after a joint decision of all” EU member states.
Speaking to France 24 Richard Whitman, a professor of politics and international relations at the University of Kent, warned any EU military would struggle to achieve unity.
He commented: “It will be hard to convince some member states that collective EU defence would bring the same security as NATO’s US-backed defence arrangement.
“Nobody in the EU has ever been able to come up with a decision-making arrangement that takes national divides into account while facilitating expeditious decision-making; it’s either the lowest common denominator or grand rhetorical comments tied to absurd propositions.
“Military action is politically defensible only when taken by national leaders and parliaments – and it’s difficult to see that being worked around.”
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