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Spain hosts large EU military exercises

Spain hosts large EU military exercises

European diplomacy official Josep Borrell said on Tuesday that a major European Union military exercise taking place in southern Spain will develop the bloc’s rapid reaction force.

About 2,800 military personnel from nine EU member states, along with 25 aircraft and six ships, began the week-long exercises on Monday, which will simulate intervention in a country that has requested help from the bloc.

The exercise, called Livex, which took place at the Rota naval base near the Andalusian city of Cádiz, is “the first EU-level military exercise to include a live training component,” according to the EU diplomatic service.

The plan is to stage a landing on Spanish shores to secure a port in an imaginary country.

“Today we are writing a new chapter in defending the European Union,” Borrell said on Tuesday from the site of the maneuvers.

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He added, “It is very important to move towards creating our ability to deploy rapidly.”

In 2022, the EU agreed to a new defense strategy designed to increase the bloc’s ability to operate.

This includes creating a rapid reaction force of up to 5,000 soldiers by 2025 that can be sent to hostile locations.

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The impetus to create this force came with the West’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, when Europe relied on the United States for evacuations.

“We have to be ready to act as necessary to protect our citizens and contribute to global stability. That’s why we have to train together,” said Borrell, the former Spanish foreign minister. “This will help us prepare better,” he added.

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NATO, the US-led military alliance, has served for decades as the foundation of European defense. Some countries, such as France, have called on the 27-nation bloc to strengthen its capacity to act.