Richard North, 12/10/2004  

As part of the steady militarisation of the EU, in its quest to become a fully-fledged military power, the foreign ministers of the EU yesterday agreed to take over peacekeeping duties in Bosnia from NATO on 2 December.

The EU plans to insert a 7,000-strong force, code-named "Althea", which will replace the NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR). It will be the biggest military operation yet undertaken by the EU.

But anyone who believes that the primary role of the force is peacekeeping needs to take careful note of the EU spokesman who announced the deployment.

"It will sustain our long-term objective of a stable, viable, peaceful and multiethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina, cooperating peacefully with its neighbors and irreversibly on track towards EU membership," he said.

And if, like Croatia, the Bosnians do not want to be led "irreversibly" towards EU membership by a military force, what then? Do we get EU troops storming the parliament building or what?

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