BERLIN --- Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and her French colleague Jean-Yves Le Drian reaffirmed, last Monday in Berlin, Franco-German cooperation in the service of the common European defense.
The German Minister underlined that the "peace project Europe" should not only be shaped, but also protected and strengthened. "Together, we are convinced that our security, and especially our defense, is the area where today it is right to call for "more Europe." Le Drian replied "We are working together for peace."
In concrete terms, this means that:
Tactical air transport
Leyen and Le Drian emphasized, during a celebration at the Villa Borsig, that Germany and France will intensify their cooperation on tactical air transport. The aim is to establish a Franco-German air transport unit with Lockheed Martin C-130J transport aircraft based at Évreux air base, in France. Six German and six French aircraft of this type will be stationed there. France is the lead nation.
This bilateral cooperation will allow Germany to avoid a possible gap in the use of airspace with restricted infrastructure after it retires its C-160 Transall tactical transports.
New-generation satellite and drones
Germany and France will continue their bilateral cooperation in the field of satellite reconnaissance with the launch of a new-generation satellite from the coming year.
Together with Italy and Spain, both nations are also working on the development of a European industrial capability for medium-altitude, long endurance (MALE) drones. The goal is its service introduction around 2025.
Armored combat vehicles and artillery systems
In addition, both countries are currently analyzing the needs and requirements for the next generation of armored combat vehicles and artillery systems. A preparatory phase for this project is to be launched in the coming year.
Germany and France want to continue their cooperation in the field of combat helicopters. This means, in concrete terms, that the further development of the Tiger helicopter is to be launched bilaterally.
The German minister said in Berlin: "It is in the European spirit that we have developed and decided these concrete projects together, in German-French cooperation." The aim is to combine and harmonize skills.
The G5 Sahel is an informal grouping of Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad. The Heads of State of these five West African states decided to cooperate in February 2014. The aim is to be able to achieve more together for the development and security of this structurally weak region.
The policies of the member countries should be better coordinated, including cooperation in the field of security. The focus is on the fight against terrorism and transnational crime.