Polish, German, and French defence ministers are meeting near Cracow, southern Poland, for talks that include a possible contribution to a multinational peacekeeping force for southern Lebanon. It would be a high-risk mission. The current UN force has lost over two hundred and fifty men in a quarter of a century, without keeping Hizbollah and Israel from each other’s throats.
But the fact Israel’s now ready to let in such a force is a significant change. Dr Fraser Cameron of the European Policy centre said: “I think this attitude has changed. There was a certain mistrust of the EU a few years ago, but the EU has become, I think, more even-handed; it has demonstrated in monitoring the border crossing at Rafah between Egypt and Gaza that it is an objective force in the region, and I think Israel now does trust the EU to play a security role in the region”.
A NATO-led multinational force is currently serving in the democratic republic of the Congo, and although several EU armies are overextended at the moment, notably Britain’s, some, along with Turkey, have conditionally approved a Lebanese mission.