EU foreign ministers approve military training headquarters

BRUSSELS – The European Union has approved the creation of a headquarters for its military operations abroad.

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Monday that the EU foreign ministers “founded, or put in motion, today a European command centre for foreign missions.”

EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said it would provide a “more efficient approach to the existing military training missions we have.”

Von der Leyen said the idea is that those EU members who don’t want to join in directly could have an observer mission.

“For those who are not members of the European Union, like for example Norway or the British, there will be the possibility to join in selectively with certain projects or missions,” she said. “The Norwegians have great interest in this, the British have great interest in this.”

Britain is among those who say the EU must not waste money by doing similar things to NATO.

Arriving for the meeting, British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said just that, urging his European partners “to co-operate more closely with NATO to avoid unnecessary duplication and structures.”

Von der Leyen , however, said establishment of such a command centre “was long overdue.”

“We took a very important step toward a European security and defence union, because we have become very concrete,” von der Leyen said.

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