The European Rapid Reaction Force. The EU's move from a political instrument to a European army.

Essay by plus73University, Bachelor'sC+, July 2004

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The European Rapid Reaction Force (ERRF) is an idea as old as the EU itself. However until recently the issue of an EU force has been considered a taboo subject and so there has been no need to warrant public discussion about it. The formal decision to create the ERRF was only taken late in December 1999 whereby this agreement the 15 EU Members committed themselves to creating a European force of around 60,000 troops, with supporting aircraft and naval assets. The force which planners hope to have ready by 2003 will be capable of deploying within 60 days and should be able to sustain combat actions for one year. Surprisingly the British Prime Minister Tony Blair was considered one of the main instigators in the development of the ERRF. However Blair has since indicated that this move was designed to head off the possibility of more radical plans being developed by other EU members.

As with many ideas there are several advantages and disadvantages and the formation of the ERRF is no exception. This report will analyse the major pros and cons of the ERRF and will then consider whether it offers any greater benefit than the system currently in place, which many regard as being a US led NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) force. However there are suggestions that the US does not always hold local European issues as it main priority.

It has been suggested that the main catalysts in instigating the development of the ERRF, were the events that took place in the lead up to and the aftermath of the Kosovo conflict. There was a large amount of public dissatisfaction in the USA when its military forces went into Kosovo. US citizens questioned the need for risking the life of its own soldiers in a...