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U-turn : Sweden brings back military conscription

Old CSDP Blog (András István Türke) - Thu, 03/02/2017 - 18:35

The Swedish government has decided to reintroduce military conscription, abolished in 2010. It means that 4,000 men and women will be called up for service from 1 January 2018, selected from about 13,000 young people born in 1999, who will be asked to undergo a military assessment. The 13,000 who undergo the military tests will be a mixture of volunteers and conscripts. The Swedish recruitment system will be modelled on Norway's. In September, a Swedish garrison was restored to Gotland, a big island lying between the Swedish mainland and the three ex-Soviet Baltic states.

The return to conscription was prompted by the security change in the neighbourhood, Russian "illegal" annexation of Crimea[in 2014, the conflict in Ukraine and the increased military activity in the area. Russian menace pushes Sweden towards NATO, Swedish officials say Russian military aircraft frequently infringe Swedish airspace. 70% of the Swedish parliament is behind the decision to strengthen the military and co-operation with the countries around. The closest co-operation is with Finland, she added. Sweden and Finland are not in NATO, but co-operate closely with the alliance. Their Nordic neighbours Norway and Denmark are in NATO. Sweden has about 52,000 full-time military personnel - 20,000 of them permanent staff and most of the others Home Guard members.

Which other European countries have conscription?
Most of the 28 EU member states abolished military conscription. France and the UK - the main pillars of NATO defence in Western Europe - made their armed forces fully professional (France in 2001, the UK in 1963). Germany suspended conscription in 2011, but provision for it remains in the constitution. There is a debate now about reintroducing some form of national service.
Turkey has the second-largest armed forces in NATO, after the US military. Turkey has conscription for all men over the age of 20. They must serve between six and 15 months.
Greece has compulsory military service (9 months) for men from the age of 19. Cyprus - a longstanding source of Greek-Turkish tension - also has conscription.
Denmark, Norway and Finland have limited conscription, but their forces are overwhelmingly professional. Estonia and Lithuania - small Baltic states wary of Russian moves near their borders - have similar recruitment policies.
Switzerland operates a militia system, whereby men have to serve periods in the armed forces from 19 to 34 years of age, and keep their equipment at home.
In Russia all men aged 18-27 have to spend a year in the armed forces and Ukraine brought back conscription in 2014, when tensions with Russia escalated.

Which other East or Nord European countries, near to Russia or Ukraine, will also choice the same u-turn like Sweden?

Source :

Tag: Military conscriptionSwedenNATO
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

EUCAP Nestor renamed as EUCAP Somalia

Old CSDP Blog (András István Türke) - Wed, 03/01/2017 - 00:00

On March 1 st EUCAP Nestor, the European Union Maritime Capacity Building Mission to Somalia, will be renamed “EUCAP Somalia”, the EU Capacity Building Mission in Somalia.
A Council decision published on December 12th 2016 in the Official Journal of the European Union, states in article 1, EUCAP Somalia has been established as a Capacity Building Mission in Somalia.

The operational “switch-over” to the new Mission’s name is now taking place.
For the occasion, a redesign of the Mission's Website has been launched under . All past content from has been migrated and will be accessible on the new site.

EUCAP Somalia operates under a new, broadened civilian maritime security mandate. With an active presence in Mogadishu, Hargeisa (Somaliland) and Garowe (Puntland), EUCAP Somalia works to strengthen Somali capacity to ensure maritime security, carry out fisheries inspection and enforcement, ensure maritime search and rescue, counter smuggling, fight piracy and police the coastal zone on land and at sea.


Tag: EUCAP SomaliaEUCAP Nestor
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

Denmark pays (also) disability benefits for ISIS fighters

Old CSDP Blog (András István Türke) - Tue, 02/21/2017 - 10:31

The Danish government is paying sickness and disability benefits to Danish citizens fighting in Syria for Islamic State. The PET (Danish Security and Intelligence Service) has identified 28 jihadis, Danish citizens fighting in Syria since 2014, who had been granted an early pension, or ‘førtidspension’, because they were judged too sick or disabled to work, and then gone to take part in the war in Syria.

It is a huge scandal that danish people disburse money from the welfare fund in Denmark for people who go to Syria, staying in a war zone and directly or indirectly taking part in military operations is not something that is in any way compatible with receiving disability benefits. PET provided the information as part of preparations for a parliamentary bill which aims to make it easier to cut off benefits to Danes fighting in Syria.
Last December the Ekstra Bladet newspaper reported that Danish municipalities and the country's state unemployment fund were attempting to claim back a total of 672,000 kroner ($100,000) in wrongfully disbursed payments from 29 of the 36 Danes PET then estimated were had been collecting benefits.

We know, since 2015, that ISIS fighters in Syria have been receiving also unemployment benefits from Denmark, according to the agency for Labour Market and Recruitment (STAR) via PET. Government data revealed that 32 Danish citizens have collected about 400,000 kroner ($57,000) in welfare from the government while fighting alongside the jihadist group in Syria.
Denmark’s unemployment insurance systems is one of the world’s most generous, as those on the dagpenge scheme can receive up to 801 kroner, around £78, per day for up to two years.

Denmark, congratulation! If you often refuse to financing EU CSDP missions/operations, please do not support our common enemies. After the scandal concerning the uneployment benefits, two additional years to unveil the abuse about disability benefits...


Tag: ISISDenmark
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

Aircraft carrier Sao Paulo will be decommissioned

Old CSDP Blog (András István Türke) - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 00:00

Aircraft carrier "São Paulo" (ex R99 Foch, built in France between 1957 and 1960) was incorporated into the Brazilian Navy in 2000, based on an opportunity purchase from the French National Navy, for US$30 million — no aircraft were included in the price — with the primary purpose of replacing the former "Minas Gerais" Light-Aircraft, at the end of its useful life, and providing the evolution of airborne operations using fixed wing aircraft and A-4 Skyhawk jet propulsion.

Although it already has 37 years of active service at the moment of acquisition, the Ship fulfilled its mission in the first years in activity by the Brazilian fleet, enabling the Navy to acquire the qualification to operate high performance aircraft embarked.

After several attempts to recover operational capacity of the brazil aircraft carrier "NAe Sao Paulo" (A 12), the Brazil Admiralty concluded that the modernization would require high financial investment contain technical uncertainties and would require a long completion period and decided to demobilize the environment, over the next three years.

A program to obtain a new ship-aerodrome x aircraft set will occupy the Navy's third acquisition priority, following the PROSUB / Nuclear Program and the Tamandaré Corvette Construction Program. The cost of acquiring this new binomial will be substantially lower than the cost of the modernization of the "Sao Paulo" and of the obtaining new aircraft compatible with this aircraft carrier. The AF-1 aircraft are expected to be at the end of their life when São Paulo ends its modernization.

NAe : Navio Aerodromo

Tag: aircraft carrierSao PaoloR99 FochFrench Navy
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

German military: female soldier 'forced to pole dance'

Old CSDP Blog (András István Türke) - Wed, 02/15/2017 - 00:00

An internal Defence Ministry report reveals more details about an unfolding scandal at a Baden-Württemberg barracks involving "sadistic rituals". The internal report seen by Spiegel and DPA describes a female soldier being forced by her trainers to pole dance and also separately being touched in intimate areas.

The report comes from the woman’s account of an incident last year at the Pfullendorf barracks, which has been the centre of scandal in recent weeks. The woman said that she was forced to undergo some kind of recruitment test where she had to dance against a pole in a common room. She also said that throughout the training sessions, trainees were made to strip naked, and women were touched by trainers, not wearing any gloves, in intimate areas. The trainers then did a ‘smell test’ in front of the whole group. The trainers also had trainees sign a consent form, and took pictures which they said were for training purposes.

Internal research also found that the dancing pole had been installed and used regularly while soldiers were drinking. The report also noted that investigators had largely confirmed the woman’s account. Seven soldiers have been suspended amid an ongoing investigation into grievous bodily harm against trainees, as well as false imprisonment, and sexual assault. The investigation reportedly dates back to last October when a female lieutenant reported incidents directly to the Defence Ministry. The lieutenant described how she saw unbelievable scenes of recruits being forced to strip naked in front of their comrades, with trainers filming.

She also reported that trainers had forced the recruits to do exercises that served no purpose other than sexual ones, such as reviewing how to insert medical devices into the anuses of male and female recruits, which was also recorded.
In the US Army Female army members allegedly pressured into prostitution.


Tag: German ArmyPfullendorf
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

Polish firm updates Mi-24 for Senegal

Old CSDP Blog (András István Türke) - Tue, 01/31/2017 - 14:16

Poland’s Lodz-based WZL-1 (Wojskowe Zakłady Lotnicze Nr 1 S.A. (Military Aviation Works No. 1) has completed the modernisation, conducts maintenance, repair, overhaul of a Mil Mi-24V (6W-HCA) attack helicopter for the Senegal Air Force. The secondhand rotorcraft is understood to have been acquired from a former Soviet-era operator.

Acceptance flights were conducted on 12 January by a team of Polish and Senegalese personnel, and witnessed by the customer air force’s commander-in-chief, Brig Gen Birame Diop. This is the first Mi-24 to have been acquired by Senegal, and it is unclear whether the West African nation intends to field additional examples.
Flight Fleets Analyzer records the Senegal air force as already operating a pair of 11-year-old Mi-35s, which it acquired directly from Russia.

WZL-1 is one of the leading aviation companies in Europe. The company established its position on local, national and foreign market thanks to untypical activity which generally covers:
• overhaul, maintenance and modernization of the following helicopters: Mi-8, Mi-14, Mi-17, Mi-24, W-3 Sokół and SH-2G Kaman;
• general overhaul of SO-3/W aviation engines and TW3-117 (III s, M, MT, W) family engines.

Tag: SenegalMi-24Poland
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

HMS Vengeance : serious Trident missile malfunction

Old CSDP Blog (András István Türke) - Mon, 01/23/2017 - 17:45

Downing Street has been accused of covering up a Trident missile malfunction weeks before a crucial Commons vote on the future of the submarine-based missile system.

A Trident II D5 missile test ended in failure after it was launched from the British submarine HMS Vengeance off the coast of Florida in June 2016. It was the only firing test of a British nuclear missile in four years and raises serious questions about the reliability and safety of the weapons system. But the error was hushed up. The cause of the failure remains top secret, but quotes a senior naval source saying the missile, which was unarmed for the test, suffered an in-flight malfunction after launch.

It was reportedly intended to be fired 5,600 miles to a sea target off the west coast of Africa but may have veered off towards America instead. There was a major panic at the highest level of government and the military after the first test of our nuclear deterrent in four years ended in disastrous failure. In July, MPs voted by 472 to 117 to back the renewal of Britain's Trident nuclear deterrence. The overwhelming vote supported the Government's plans to spend up to £40 billion on four new Successor-class submarines.


Tag: HMS VengeanceTridentnucléaire
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

2017 : A Continental Free Trade Area in Africa?

Old CSDP Blog (András István Türke) - Sun, 01/01/2017 - 13:25

Under the aegis of the African Union, the 54 states will set up a "Schengen-like" borderless area in 2017 to boost trade. Negotiations for the establishment of a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) in Africa were formally launched in June 2015 at the African Union Summit in Johannesburg. A year later, a boost seems to be given to the project, although the project exists since the signing in 1991 of the Treaty of Abuja.

Why now ? In a context of global economic crisis, African states are somewhere forced to accelerate the pace. In 2015 the Tripartite Initiative involving COMESA, EAC and SADC was launched, with a view to the preparation of a large free trade area from Cairo to Cape Town. The Tripartite Initiative, the largest free trade agreement involving 26 countries from three regional economic communities (RECs), Comesa, CEA and SADC, with a total of 530 million inhabitants for a gross domestic product Total of $ 630 billion, more than half of Africa's economic output. This initiative has rekindled the interest of African leaders in broadening the continental free trade area.

Intra-African trade must be saved because it accounts for only 10% of trade on the continent, while in the EU, Asia and North America, intra-regional trade represents respectively 70 %, 52% and 50% of trade. Moreover, the share of Africa in world trade is even more derisory since it represents only about 2%. Implementing such an Africa-wide FTA could boost intra-African trade to the tune of US $ 35 billion annually by 2022. A review of the genesis and functioning of this area of free movement of more than one billion people.

The CFTA is a priority initiative of the AU Agenda 2063. The objective of the CFTA is to create a single continental market for goods and services, to establish the free movement of business people. It also aims to pave the way for the acceleration of the establishment of the customs union in 2022 and an African economic community by 2028. This gradual approach is justified by the fact that integration should be consolidated at regional level, through the creation and the strengthening of regional economic communities (RECs). The RECs would ultimately merge into the African Economic Community. (There are 8 RECs : UMA, CEN-SAD, CEDEAO / ECOWAS, UEMOA, MRU, CEEAC, SADC, COMESA, IGAD.)

The current intra-African trade situation is disappointing. Despite the fact that the free movement of persons, the right of residence and the right of establishment are the founding principles enshrined in Chapter VI of the Abuja Treaty, a truck that delivers supermarkets in Southern Africa needs 1,600 documents, permits and licenses to legally cross borders.In the future, the continental free trade area could just as well require the removal of barriers such as the imposition of visa requirements that restrict the movement of people across national borders. Far from being settled, remains the issue of labor mobility among African countries, one of the most contentious issues for African leaders due to security or political instability problems.

Trade and industry are catalysts for African development for the African Union, once the establishment of the CFTA, the competitiveness of industrial products would be increased by exploiting the potential of economies in a wider continental market . The initiative would also help diversify and transform the African economy, improve resource allocation, reduce prices in countries and make Africa less vulnerable to external trade shocks. In addition, regional integration of the continent should integrate regional markets with efficient infrastructure to attract investment and improve access to better products and services.

Twenty million dollars were raised to finance the initial CFTA projects in the areas of goods and services, investment and intellectual property. Of the amount so far obtained from development partners, the AU Member States contributed $ 3 million for 2016 and $ 4.9 million for 2017.
CFTA can be a paradise for international and african criminality and smuggle, like the Schengen area? Planned for 18 July 2017, the release of an African electronic passport should enable nationals of the 54 African countries to travel visa-free across Africa. For now, the initiative only concerns heads of state, government and foreign ministers. In practice, African citizens would retain their national passports and would be issued an African e-passport by the AU. A first on the world scale. But the billion African citizens will have to wait until 2025 to benefit.

Tag: african continental free trade areaSchengenTripartite InitiativeAbuja Treaty
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

End of the mission EUPOL Afghanistan

Old CSDP Blog (András István Türke) - Sat, 12/31/2016 - 00:00

After nearly a decade of support for civilian police in Afghanistan, the European Union Police Mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL) officially closed its activities today, Saturday (31 December 2016) at midnight. In fact, the mission has already slowed down its activities for a few days already. A meeting marking the end of the mission was organized, Wednesday, December 14, a few days after the official end of the mission.


Tag: EUPOL AfghanistanCSDP
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

Australia buys 12 French Barracuda submarines

Old CSDP Blog (András István Türke) - Tue, 12/20/2016 - 09:14

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian inked the inter-governmental agreement (IGA) in Adelaide that will see French shipbuilder DCNS design and build the Shortfin Barracudas. The total cost of the 12 submarines, including separate agreements with US and Australian contractors, will hit Aus $50 billion. The vessels will be a scaled-down, conventionally-powered version of France's 4,700-tonne nuclear-fuelled Barracuda but boast the same stealth capabilities.Australia awarded DCNS the main contract in April, beating off competition from Germany TKMS (ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems) and Japan Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The IGA is the last foundation stone needed to ensure Australia is able to develop a cutting-edge sovereign submarine capability, this will be a sovereign defence industry creating 2,800 jobs at the very cutting edge of technology. Design and mobilisation work has already been launched with Australian experts working in Cherbourg while DCNS was to open new offices in Adelaide later Tuesday employing up to 300 engineers.

US defence contractor Lockheed Martin was named in September to fit the combat systems for the Barracudas.

Tag: BarracudaDCNSAustralian Navy
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

New CERPESC Analysis about EU New Security Strategy

Old CSDP Blog (András István Türke) - Tue, 12/20/2016 - 00:00

The Deficiencies, Mistakes and Contradictions of the New EU Foreign and Security Strategy
Evolution or Devolution? From the « Solana Paper » to the « Mogherini Paper »
András István Türke
CERPESC 16/E/3/2016 - 20 December 2016

The events of the last 20 years, the first operations and missions, show that the Common Security and Defense Policy, the CSDP (the European Security and Defense Policy: the ESDP, before 2009) does not exist only on paper. Europe must act to prevent wars and crises or to stop them. The European Union and its member countries are confronted with decisive choices for the future of Europe as a political entity. The external (and above all, energy) dependence of the Union is particularly emphasized by the European security strategies. The documents that function as strategies (the first, the 2003 ESS and the most recent, 2016 EUGS) of the European Union are quite poor in terms of content and objectives. They list the challenges, without drafting the places and means of the overall strategic presence. The purpose of this analysis is to examine the major development issues of EU strategic thinking during the period 2003-2016. Can we talk about development, stagnation, or devolution? Is the new strategy capable of fulfilling its role and can really serve as the basis of our ambitions?

Tag: EUGSESSSolanaMogherini
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

France Creates Cyber Army to Fight Against Foreign Hackers

Old CSDP Blog (András István Türke) - Wed, 12/14/2016 - 00:00

Since his appointment in 2012, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is concerned about the threats in cyberspace. With reason. CIA suspicions about the role played by Russian hackers in the election of Donald Trump to the fears expressed by the German Chancellor, the "cyber-menace" is now omnipresent. On the occasion of the inauguration on Monday of a skill center on cyber defense in Rennes as well as a new building with 7,000 sensors to house the cyber experiments of the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) in Bruz (Ille-et-Vilaine), Jean-Yves Le Drian announced in a way the creation of a 4th army, or at least its matrix, that of cyberspace, to complete the army of the last century built on the triptych land, air and sea.

The future cyber force will be based on three missions:
- intelligence (identification of faults, detection of hostile actions),
- protection (building walls of cyber fortress)
- and finally computerized offensive fight (neutralization of tools used by the cyber - opponent).
But Jean-Yves Le Drian goes further: "If a cyber attack is akin to an act of war, notably by the seriousness of its effects, an adequate response must be imposed, even beyond the neutralization of infrastructures alone Involved, in a logic this time of open conflict. "

Clearly, the Minister of Defense warns that in the event of an attack, France reserves the right to retaliate by a cyber or conventional counter-attack. It is the first time that France officially warns its potential opponents that it can qualify a cyber attack in act of war and to respond accordingly. "A major computer attack, given the damage it would cause, could constitute an armed attack within the meaning of Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations and justify the invocation of self-defense," the Minister said. So to replicate in a "proportional" way, we need a cyber-army.

On Monday, the minister summarized the efforts made and the road ahead. Under the latest military planning law, the force under construction will reach 3,200 people by 2018, double the number in 2012. Given the high level of technical skills required, the minister is also proposing to build a reserve of 4,400 specialists , Of which 400 are capable of offensive action. There, it is a matter of multiplying by ten the effort. Finally, on the side of the DGA, the effort must be multiplied by three to go from 250 to 650 experts. Over 2014-2019, the appropriations devoted to the cyber-war amount to 440 million euros.

Finally, the minister announced the imminent appointment of a new cyber operations commander, a four-star general who will be placed directly under the authority of the chief of staff. In order to carry out military operations, the French army will have its commander-in-chief, which will "have authority over all operational units specializing in cyber defense of the ministry, belonging to all armies, ie 2,600 digital fighters by 2019". Vice-Admiral Arnaud Coustillière, appointed general officer in cyber defense in July 2011, is approached. Decrees and decrees will be promulgated to institutionalize this cyber defense. For the minister, the white collar war is just beginning. In this respect, he often referred to the Stuxnet weapon, the undetectable virus transmitted on Iranian nuclear centrifuges, which delayed Iran's advances in nuclear enrichment by at least two years. 'uranium.

Depuis sa nomination en 2012, le ministre français de défense, Jean-Yves Le Drian s'inquiète des menaces dans le cyberespace. Avec raison. Des soupçons de la CIA sur le rôle joué par des hackeurs russes dans l'élection de Donald Trump aux craintes exprimées par la chancelière allemande, la « cyber-menace » est désormais omniprésente. A l'occasion de l'inauguration ce lundi d'un pôle de compétences sur la cyberdéfense à Rennes ainsi que d'un nouveau bâtiment doté de 7.000 capteurs pour abriter les expériences cyber de la Direction générale de l'armement (DGA) à Bruz (Ille-et-Vilaine), Jean-Yves Le Drian a annoncé en quelque sorte la mise sur pied d'une quatrième armée, ou tout du moins de sa matrice, celle du cyberespace, pour compléter l'armée du siècle passé, construite sur le triptyque terre, air et mer.

La future force cyber s'articulera autour de trois missions : le renseignement (identification des failles, détection des actions hostiles), la protection (édification des murs de la forteresse cyber) et enfin la lutte informatique offensive (neutralisation des outils employés par l'adversaire). Mais Jean-Yves Le Drian va au-delà : « Si une attaque cyber s'apparente à un acte de guerre, notamment par la gravité de ses effets, une riposte adéquate s'impose, au-delà même de la neutralisation des seules infrastructures impliquées, dans une logique cette fois de conflit ouvert. »

En clair, le ministre de la Défense avertit qu'en cas d'attaque, la France se réserve le droit de riposter par une contre-attaque cyber ou conventionnelle. C'est la première fois que la France prévient ainsi officiellement ses adversaires potentiels qu'elle peut qualifier une attaque cyber en acte de guerre et y riposter en conséquence. « Une attaque informatique majeure, eu égard aux dommages qu'elle causerait, pourrait constituer une agression armée au sens de l'article 51 de la Charte des Nations unies et justifier l'invocation de la légitime défense », affirme le ministre. Donc pour répliquer d'une manière « proportionnelle », il faut une cyber-armée.

Une réserve de 4.400 spécialistes
Le ministre a dressé ce lundi un bilan des efforts fournis et du chemin qui reste à parcourir. La force en construction atteindra selon la dernière loi de programmation militaire 3.200 personnes à l'horizon 2018, soit le double des effectifs de 2012. Au vu des compétences techniques de très haut niveau nécessaires, le ministre propose aussi de bâtir une réserve de 4.400 spécialistes, dont 400 aptes à des actions offensives. Là, il s'agit de multiplier par dix l'effort. Enfin, du côté de la DGA, l'effort doit être multiplié par trois pour passer de 250 à 650 experts. Sur 2014-2019, les crédits consacrés à la cyber-guerre atteignent 440 millions d'euros.

Enfin, le ministre a annoncé la nomination imminente d'un nouveau commandant des opérations cyber, un général quatre étoiles qui sera placé directement sous l'autorité du chef d'Etat-major. Pour mener des opérations militaires, l'armée française aura son commandant en chef, lequel « aura autorité sur toutes les unités opérationnelles spécialisées dans la cyberdéfense du ministère, appartenant à toutes les armées, soit 2.600 combattants numériques à l'horizon 2019 ». Le vice-amiral Arnaud Coustillière, nommé officier général à la cyberdéfense en juillet 2011, est pressenti. Des décrets et arrêtés vont être promulgués pour institutionnaliser cette cyberdéfense.

Pour le ministre, la guerre en col blanc ne fait que commencer. Il a, à cet égard, souvent fait allusion ce lundi à l'arme Stuxnet, ce virus indétectable transmis sur les centrifugeuses nucléaires iraniennes qui a permis de retarder d'au moins deux ans les avancées de l'Iran en matière d'enrichissement d'uranium.

Tag: cyberattaquecybersecurityarmée françaiseFranceDrian
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

Dirty Diesel : How Switzerland pollutes Africa

Old CSDP Blog (András István Türke) - Sun, 10/30/2016 - 00:00

More than 12,000 people have already signed a petition asking the Geneva-based giant Trafigura to sell only gasoline and diesel that comply with European standards around the world.
The Swiss trader business model of producing and selling highly polluting high sulfur fuels in Africa has also been politically critical. In Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal, the responsible authorities and members of the government have had to answer many questions and criticisms about the health consequences of poor sulfur standards and poor quality fuels.

Swiss commodity trading companies take advantage of weak fuel standards in Africa to produce, deliver and sell diesel and gasoline, which is damaging to people’s health. Their business model relies on an illegitimate strategy of deliberately lowering the quality of fuels in order to increase their profits. Using a common industry practice called blending, trading companies mix cheap but toxic intermediate petroleum products to make what the industry calls “African Quality” fuels. These intermediate products contain high levels of sulphur as well as other toxic substances such as benzene and aromatics.

By selling such fuels at the pump in Africa, the traders increase outdoor air pollution, causing respiratory disease and premature death. This affects West Africa, in particular, because this is the region where the authorised levels of sulphur in fuels remain very high. West Africa does not have the re ning capacity to produce enough gasoline and diesel for its own consumption, and so it must import the majority of its fuels from Europe and the US, where fuel standards are strict, Public Eye`s investigation September 2016 analyse writes.

To draw attention to this swiss illegal traffic, thanks to Public Eye's "Return to sender" action, the container Irene Rainbow, with on board a container marked "Return to sender" ", Filled with polluted air from the Ghanaian capital traveled 7,000 kilometers separating Accra from the port of Anvers and was then transported to Geneva, where it was handed to Trafigura.

Tag: dirty dieselSwitzerland
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

European Border and Coast Guard Agency (EBCG)

Old CSDP Blog (András István Türke) - Thu, 10/06/2016 - 22:00

The new European Border and Coast Guard Agency (EBCG) is established today, October 6, 2016.

This successor of the former Frontex (from French: Frontières extérieures for "external borders") is an agency of the European Union headquartered in Warsaw, Poland, tasked with border control of the European Schengen Area, in coordination with the border and coast guards of Schengen Area member states. Frontex was established in 2004 as the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders, and primary responsible for coordinating border control efforts.

In response to the European migrant crisis of 2015-2016, the European Commission proposed on December 15, 2015, to extend Frontex's mandate and to transform it into a fully-fledged European Border and Coast Guard Agency. On 18 December 2015, the European Council roundly supported the proposal, and after a vote by the European Parliament, the Border and Coast Guard was officially launched on 6 October 2016 at the Bulgarian external border with Turkey.

To enable the Agency to carry out its tasks, its budget would be gradually increased from the €143 million originally planned for 2015 up to €238 million in 2016, €281 million in 2017, and will reach €322 million (about US$350 million) in 2020. The staff of the agency would gradually increase from 402 members in 2016 to 1,000 by 2020.

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency is not a new body. It does not replace Frontex and it retains the same legal personality. What the Commission draft Regulation aims to do is to strengthen the mandate of the EU border agency, to increase its competences and to better equip it to carry out its operational activities. The new tasks and responsibilities of the Agency need to be reflected by its new name. It coordinates its work alongside the European Fisheries Control Agency and European Maritime Safety Agency with regard to coastguard functions.
The permanent staff of the Agency will be more than doubled between 2015 and 2020. The new proposal provides for a reserve of European border guards and technical equipment. The Agency will be able to purchase its own equipment (this is not a novelty). However - and this is new - the Member States where this equipment is registered (this refers mainly to big equipment items such as patrol vessels, air crafts, etc. which need a flag of state) will be obliged to put it at the Agency's disposal whenever needed. this will make it possible for the Agency to rapidly deploy the necessary technical in border operations. A rapid reserve pool of border guards and a technical equipment pool will be put at the disposal of the agency, intending to remove the shortages of staff and equipment for the Agency's operations.

A monitoring and risk analysis centre will be established, with the authorisation to carry out risk analysis and to monitor the flows towards and within the EU. The risk analyses includes cross-border crime and terrorism, process personal data of persons suspected to be involved in acts of terrorism and cooperate with other Union agencies and international organisations on the prevention of terrorism. A mandatory vulnerability assessments of the capacities of the Member States to face current or upcoming challenges at their external borders will be established. The Agency is able to launch joint operations, including the use of drones when necessary. The European Space Agency's earth observation system Copernicus provides the new Agency with real time satellite surveillance capabilities alongside the current Eurosur border surveillance system.

ember States will be able to request joint operations, rapid border interventions, and deployment of the EBCG Teams to support national authorities when a Member State experiences an influx of migrants that endangers the Schengen area. In such a case, especially when a Member State’s action is not sufficient to handle the crisis, the Commission will have the authority to adopt an implementing decision that will determine whether a situation at a particular section of the external borders requires urgent action at the EU level. Based on this decision, the EBCGA will be able to intervene and deploy EBCG Teams to ensure that action is taken on the ground, even when a Member State is unable or unwilling to take the necessary measures.

The right to intervene is a point of contention between a number of EU Members and the Commission, especially those Members whose borders form the external borders of the EU, such as Greece, Hungary, Italy, and Poland. They want to ensure that intervention is possible only with the consent of the Member States, whose external borders necessitate the presence of the ECBGA. Greece’s Alternate Minister for European Affairs, Nikos Xydakis, stated in an interview that while Greece is supportive of a common European action and of changing Frontex’s mandate, it wants the ECBGA to take complete charge of migration and refugee flows.

Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

The first six F-16 from Portugal will arrive in Romania

Old CSDP Blog (András István Türke) - Tue, 09/27/2016 - 19:54

The first six upgraded F16 aircraft will arrive in Romania over from Portugal on Wednesday, September 28. The aircraft have been upgraded, have new engines and were painted in several shades of gray.

The F-16s have had their engines changed and went through a process of modernization, called mid-life upgrade – improvements at the mid-cycle of operations.
The Romanian pilots that will operate the F-16s were trained by the Portuguese specialists. After two years of training at the basis of Monte Real, our air forces have nine F-16 pilots and 80 engineers and technicians who will handle the maintenance of these aircraft.

Three years ago, Romania decided to buy twelve F-16 aircraft from the Portuguese Air Forces to replace part of its fleet of Russian built MiG-21 Lancer fighter aircraft. The initial intent was to buy 24 airplanes, but the final decision was for 12, for budgetary reasons. Beside the F16, offers were made by companies producing the JAS-39 Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon, the offers being for new aircraft. Furthermore, the offer for French Dassault Rafale planes was analyzed.

The aircraft package includes nine upgraded Portuguese Air Force F-16MLU aircraft, and three former US Air Force aircraft supplied to Portugal for the resale under the US Excess Defense Article program. The Portuguese military procurement agency DGAIED will buy those latter three F-16s and have the Portuguese Air Force upgrade them to the F-16 Mid Life Update (MLU) standard with assistance of OGMA-Indústria Aeronáutica de Portugal prior transfer to Romania.

The price for the 12 F16 aircraft was set at 628 million euro, the planes going on to be stationed at the air bases in Fetesti and Campia Turzii, two airbases especially modernized for this type of aircraft.

However, experts say that Romania needs 48 multirole aircraft, meaning four squadrons. In 2015, Romanian authorities announced the intention to buy other F16 airplanes.
Minister of Defence Mihnea Motoc stated in February that Romania intends to buy another 12 F16 airplanes.

Tag: F-16Romania
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

India signed an agreement to buy 36 Rafale from France

Old CSDP Blog (András István Türke) - Fri, 09/23/2016 - 14:35

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has signed an agreement with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar in New Delhi, putting an end to nearly 18 months of negotiations on the financial market conditions. According to the biggest agreement never signed by Dassault, India buys from France 36 Rafale fighter built by Dassault Aviation, for an amount close to € 7.87 billion.
This is the first big purchase of fighter by India since twenty years. Negotiations were difficult because India wanted to have also a transfer of technology, the broadest possible, but airplanes will be built in France.

The first devices are scheduled for delivery in 2019. The contract covers 264 Indian total Rafale today sold 180 to the French army - of which 146 had been delivered on June 30 - 24 in Egypt and 24 in Qatar . The first success of Dassault concerning Rafales for the sale was an agreement with Egypt; in 2015. Egypt shall already received 6 aircraft, the first delivery to Qatar is scheduled for 2018.

India already has Dassault Mirage-2000 fighters in service, and are know-how of service requirement of French fighters. This helps in logistics as well as fighter training. Rafale is more suited for multi-role combat like Typhoon and PAK-FA air dominance fighters. Rafale has distinct adventage in Air to Ground attack, role which is vital for IAF. The Rafale cost about 20% less than Thyphoon. The maintenance cost is also significantly lower. Rafale life cycle cost is 40 million USD less than of the Typhoon.

Jean-Yves Le Drian en Inde : des Rafale et des... von libezap

Le ministre de la Défense français Jean-Yves Le Drian a signé l'accord avec son homologue indien Manohar Parrikar à New Delhi, mettant ainsi un terme à près de 18 mois de négociations sur les conditions financières du marché. Selon l`accord le plus important jamais conclu par Dassault, l'Inde achète de la France 36 avion de combat Rafale construits par Dassault Aviation, pour un montant proche de 7,8 milliards d'euros.
C'est le premier gros achat de chasseurs par l'Inde depuis une vingtaine d'années. Cela faisait une vingtaine d'année que l'Inde n'avait pas effectué un tel achat de chasseurs. Les négociations étaient difficiles car l`Inde souhaitait aussi le transfert de technologie le plus large possible, mais ces avions seront construits en France.

Les premiers appareils devraient être livrés en 2019. Le contrat indien porte à 264 le total des Rafale aujourd'hui vendus : 180 à l'armée française - dont 146 appareils avaient été livrés le 30 juin - 24 à l'Égypte et 24 au Qatar. Le premier succès de Dassault concernant la vente des Rafales a été un accord conclu avec l`Egypte en 2015. L`Egypte a déjà reçu 6 appareils, la première livraison pour le Qatar est prévue pour 2018.

L'Inde possède déjà des avions Dassault Mirage-2000 en service, et ont le savoir-faire pour les avions de combats français. Cela aide à la logistique ainsi qu`à la formation pour le combat. Le Rafale est plus adapté pour le multi-rôle combat comme Typhoon et PAK-FA, combattants de dominance en air. Rafale a advantage distinct à l`attaque air-sol, rôle vital pour l'IAF. Le Rafale coûte environ 20% moins que le Thyphoon. Les coûts d'entretien sont également significativement plus faibles. Le coût du cycle de vie d`un Rafale est de 40 millions de dollars moins que celui du Typhoon.

Tag: IndiaRafale
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

Ancien SG du SEAE sur les migrants

Old CSDP Blog (András István Türke) - Tue, 09/13/2016 - 00:00

Selon ancien Secrétaire général exécutif du SEAE (Service européen pour l'action extérieure), Pierre Vimont, "construire des murs face aux flux de migrants va se révéler inefficace". En tout cas il ne propose aucune alternative...

Tag: Pierre VimontSEAEmigration
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

France picks German-made Heckler&Koch 416 assault rifle to replace FAMAS

Old CSDP Blog (András István Türke) - Sat, 09/10/2016 - 20:11

The HK416 assault rifle of the German company Heckler & Koch was chosen by the General Directorate of Armaments (DGA) to replace the FAMAS, as part of the call for tenders for the individual weapon of the future (AIF). The five manufacturers who submitted bids (Heckler & Koch, FN Herstal, Beretta, Sig Sauer and HS Produkt) were recently informed of this choice by François Cojan, head of the purchasing department at DGA says indeed the newspaper, which specifies that the decision was taken after a final series of tests conducted this summer. Normally, the market, which is the delivery of 90,000 assault rifles, will be officially notified by the end of this year. The value of the 10-year contract is estimated to be around €300 million.

The choice of the HK416 is not very surprising since this assault rifle is already used by the French military, especially by the Special Forces and Air Force, the latter having already selected in 2009 to replace the FAMAS. However, and while many politicians from right and left, have recently discovered that the arms factory of Saint-Etienne did not exist, we could think that the contract of AIF would benefit a company installed France, which would have been charged to maintain.

However, this was only possible with at least two bidders: Beretta, which has entrusted this task to the company Humbert, located in the Loire, and FN Herstal, who had accepted a partnership in this direction with Nexter Mechanics, whose workshops from Tulle are understaffed activity.

The FAMAS (French: Fusil d'Assaut de la Manufacture d'Armes de Saint-Étienne) designated in the French army as an "assault rifle 5.56mm model F1 MAS" is a French assault rifle 5.56 × 45mm NATO caliber bullpup type originally manufactured the arms factory of Saint Etienne. Ordered and commissioned in the 1970s by the French army, the FAMAS responded to the desire of a powerful tactical weapon, small footprint and that is also easy to use and maintain. Replacing the MAS 1949-1956 FSA rifle caliber 7.5 mm and the submachine gun MAT 49 caliber 9 × 19mm Parabellum, the FAMAS suppressed and the old organization pair.

The HK416 is interesting because this weapon was developed from the standardised M4 at the US Army. The M4 is based on the AR-15 developed by german H&K in 2001. The fact that the american weapon is the base is not a surprise because the AR-15 was prepared to the US Army tender to replace the M16-M4 platform. In December 2009, a modified version of the HK416 was selected for the final testing in the Infantry Automatic Rifle program, designed to partially replace the M249 light machine gun at the squad level for the United States Marine Corps. The Norwegian Army conducted an extensive evaluation before selecting the HK416 as its new primary firearm. The Turkish company Makina ve Kimya Endustrisi Kurumu ("Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation") has considered manufacturing a copy of the HK416 as the MKEK Mehmetçik-1 for the Turkish Armed Forces.

From outside the outer apparence of HK416 looks like a M4, but it has a redesigned retractable stock that lets the user rotate the butt plate, and a new pistol grip designed by H&K to more ergonomically fit the hand. More important changes are inside. Germans thrown out the most criticized part of the M4, the direct impingement gas system. This component is replaced by an other reliable system applied by several others weapons produced by H&K : the short-stroke gas piston system derived from the Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifle.

Furthermore, an adjustable gas block with piston allows reliable operation on short-barrelled models, with or without a suppressor attached. Finally, the HK416 includes a folding front sight, and a rear sight similar to the G3. The HK416 system is offered as an upper receiver, separate from the rest of the rifle, as a replacement to the standard issue M4 upper receiver.
The main difference is that by the direct impingement gas system the flowing back gas in the gun operate the filling and emptying processes, the german solution replace it by a short way moving gas piston.

Le fusil d’assaut HK416 de la firme allemande Heckler & Koch aurait été choisi par la Direction générale de l’armement (DGA) pour remplacer le FAMAS, dans le cadre de l’appel d’offres portant sur l’arme individuelle du future (AIF). Les cinq industriels ayant remis des offres (Heckler&Koch, FN Herstal, Beretta, Sig Sauer et HS Produkt) ont été récemment avertis de ce choix par François Cojan, le chef du service des achats à la DGA, affirme en effet le journal, qui précise que la décision a été prise à l’issue d’une ultime campagne d’essais réalisée cet été. Normalement, le marché, qui porte sur la livraison de 90.000 fusils d’assaut, sera officiellement notifié à la fin de cette année.

Le choix du HK416 n’est pas très surprenant dans la mesure où ce fusil d’assaut est déjà utilisé par les militaires français, en particulier ceux des forces spéciales et de l’armée de l’Air, cette dernière l’ayant déjà sélectionné en 2009 pour remplacer le FAMAS. En revanche, et alors que plusieurs responsables politiques, de droite comme de gauche, ont découvert récemment que la Manufacture d’armes de Saint-Étienne n’existait plus, l’on pouvait penser que le contrat des AIF allait profiter à une entreprise installée en France, laquelle aurait été chargée d’en assurer la maintenance.

Or, cela n’était possible qu’avec au moins deux soumissionnaires : Beretta, qui aurait confié ce soin à l’entreprise Humbert, implantée dans la Loire, et FN Herstal, qui avait accepté un partenariat allant dans ce sens avec Nexter Mechanics, dont les ateliers de Tulle sont en sous-activité.

Le FAMAS (Fusil d'Assaut de la Manufacture d'Armes de Saint-Étienne) désigné au sein de l’armée française en tant que « fusil d'assaut de 5,56 mm modèle F1 MAS », est un fusil d'assaut français de calibre 5,56 × 45 mm Otan de type bullpup, initialement fabriqué par la Manufacture d'armes de Saint-Étienne. Commandé et mis en service dans les années 1970 par l'armée française, le FAMAS répondait au désir d'une arme tactique puissante, d'encombrement réduit et qui soit également facile à utiliser et à entretenir. Remplaçant le fusil FSA MAS 1949-56 en calibre 7,5 mm et le pistolet mitrailleur MAT 49 en calibre 9 × 19 mm Parabellum, le FAMAS supprimait ainsi l'ancienne organisation binôme.

Tag: Heckler & KochFAMAS
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP