22 SEP 2010
By Barry Roche | Irish Times
THE EU should consider offering its rapid response battle groups to help deal with natural disasters and humanitarian crises, a leading Swedish military commander suggested yesterday during a visit to Ireland.
Brig Gen Jan Stefan Andersson commands the Nordic Battle Group 2011, in which Irish troops will team up next year with soldiers from Sweden, Norway, Finland and Estonia and be on standby for a rapid deployment in the event of a military crisis.
Brig Gen Andersson suggested yesterday that the EU should consider broadening the range of possible deployments for the battle groups to include natural disasters and humanitarian crises such as the Haitian earthquake.
“When I was sitting on my sofa in my apartment in Stockholm and saw the crisis in Haiti, I thought that this is an extremely good example of when the European Union should open their toolbox and see what is needed,” he said.
“Within the Nordic Battle Group, we have a medical company, we have transportation, we have helicopters and tactical aircraft, we have well-trained soldiers who can support those who need support in such situations.
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