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EU’s rapid response force of at least 5,000 troops - putting the Union’s strategic autonomy on track!


19 Apr 2023


Global Europe

Under the leadership of the Socialists and Democrats, the European Parliament is set today to support a strong EU rapid response force known as the EU Rapid Deployment Capacity (RDC), consisting of at least 5,000 troops. This is fully in line with the proposal by High Representative Josep Borrell enshrined in the Strategic Compass.

The aim is to allow the EU to react quickly and effectively to conflicts and crises outside its borders. The main tasks of the RDC will include rescue and evacuation operations, initial entry and initial phase of stabilisation operations, and serving as temporary reinforcements of other missions. The RDC could also be used as a reserve force to secure an exit when needed.

In the report drafted by S&D MEP and the European Parliament rapporteur on this file, Javi López, MEPs stress that for this rapid deployment capability to be effective, it should have permanent operational headquarters with appropriate funding, staff, and infrastructure. Moreover, to facilitate decision-making on the use of the new force, MEPs encourage member states to use the possibility of “constructive abstention” in case unanimity is not possible, and then a qualified majority voting concerning operational and other decisions.

S&D MEP and the European Parliament rapporteur on EU Rapid Deployment Capacity, Javi López, said:

“The withdrawal from Afghanistan, the brutal invasion of Ukraine, and the deterioration of the security environment in Europe’s neighbourhood have highlighted the need for the EU to step up its defence capabilities. Given that the EU Battlegroups project has never really worked, we must now equip our Union with the necessary capacities and structures to act effectively in protecting the European Union’s citizens’ interests, principles, and values across the world, when needed.

“Our goal is to have a capacity of at least 5,000 troops ready to be deployed within 5 to 10 days in times of crisis, with the aim of performing rescue and evacuation tasks, operations of initial entry and stabilization, or serving as temporary reinforcements of other missions.

“Creating and implementing the Rapid Deployment Capacity will allow us not only to be a stronger ally within our EU-NATO cooperation framework, but it will also be an important step towards our strategic autonomy and to becoming a real and credible geopolitical actor in an ever-competing world.”


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