Synchronised Armed Forces Europe

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Synchronised Armed Forces Europe (SAFE) is a concept for an ever closer synchronisation of the European forces under the Common Security and Defence Policy.

The concept was adopted on 10 November 2008 by Hans-Gert Pöttering, President of the European Parliament during the 7th Berlin security conference.

On 21 January 2009 agreed Committee on Foreign Affair of the European Parliament voted with a large majority for the concept and added it in the annual report of the European Parliament on Common Security and Defence Policy. Council of the European Union are currently discussing the implementation of the concept.

Contents of the concept

SAFE is based on a voluntary participation (opt-in model) and should lead to the synchronisation of the European forces leadership. The opt-in model is the concept that is also applied to the Euro or Schengen Area. It offers sufficient leeway for the neutrality of some members and the military alliances of others. SAFE encourages the dynamic development of cooperation and improves the ability of individual national armed forces to move toward closer synchronisation. SAFE approves the principle of a Europe-wide division of labour in military capabilities. In addition, SAFE is open to military careers in the national armed forces for all Europeans, from the member countries that participate. This is already realised in the Belgian and Irish armed forces, and, in rudimentary form, among German-Dutch reservists.

As part of SAFE, a European statute concerning the regulation of training standards of soldiers will be developed. Furthermore, among the standards to be developed there will be an operational doctrine and a unification of rules and regulations concerning:

  • freedom of action
  • questions of rights and obligations
  • the quality of equipment and medical care
  • social security in case of death, injury and invalidity.

Objectives of the concept

SAFE aims to develop integrated European security structures. These will include civil and military capabilities.

Recent developments

On 20 Feb 2009 the European Parliament voted yes to create "SAFE" (Synchronised Armed Forces Europe) as a first step towards a true European military force. SAFE will be directed by an EU directorate, with its own training standards and operational doctrine. There are also plans to create an EU "Council of Defence Ministers" and "a European statute for soldiers within the framework of Safe governing training standards, operational doctrine and freedom of operational action".[1]


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