03:41 GMT +321 November 2019
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    EU Leaders Agree on Shared Financing of Bloc's Rapid Response Force

    © Sputnik / Alexey Vitvitsky
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    The EU leaders agreed to share the responsibility of financing the Battlegroups, the bloc's military instrument of rapid response to possible crises, the European Council said in its conclusions on security and defense on Thursday.

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — The decision was made during the EU summit, which kicked off earlier in the day in Brussels. The two-day meeting is focused on such issues as international security and defense, immigration, the EU single market, and Brexit.

    "To strengthen the EU's rapid response toolbox, the European Council agrees that the deployment of Battlegroups should be borne as a common cost by the EU-managed Athena mechanism on a permanent basis," the statement said.

    The EU Battlegroups are based on a combined-arms, battalion-sized force, reinforced with combat-support and combat service-support elements. In their generic composition, Battlegroups can be about 1,500 troops strong. The force reached its full operational capability in 2007 but has never been deployed.

    Athena is a mechanism of financing the common costs related to EU military operations under the bloc's common security and defense policy (CSDP). Established in 2004, Athena involves all EU member states excluding Denmark, which does not participate in the CSDP on military matters.

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