BRUSSELS, Nov. 17 – France invoked the European Union’s (EU) mutual assistance clause for the first time on Tuesday, asking its partners for military help and other aid in missions in the Middle East and Africa after the Paris attacks, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.
He said all 28 EU member states had accepted France‘s formal call for “aid and assistance” under the EU treaty and he expected all to help quickly in various regions.
“In Brussels, I have just invoked Article 42.7,” French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on his Twitter account during an EU defence ministers meeting.
“This is firstly a political act,” Le Drian said of the decision to invoke Article 42.7 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty.
“Beyond that, how is this going to work? It may be by cooperating with French interventions in Syria, in Iraq, it may be in support of France in other operations,” he told a news conference.
France has so far not invoked the U.S.-led NATO alliance’s mutual defence clause.
Immediate details of what France will request are not clear, but the EU’s Lisbon Treaty says that in the case of a “armed agression” on any EU country, the other countries have “an obligation of aid and assistance by all means in their power”.
In a separate statement, France’s Prime Minister Manual Valls, said that the country is likely to breach the EU’s deficit goal given the boost in security spending following Friday’s attacks on Paris.
“We have to face up to this, and Europe ought to understand,” he said. “It’s also time the EU and the (European) Commission understood that this struggle concerns France but also concerns Europe.”
France’s 2016 budget foresees a public deficit of 3.3 percent of economic output, with the shortfall falling in line with an EU limit of less than three percent in 2017.
A Finance Ministry source said on Monday that extra security spending announced by President France Hollande was likely to entail hundreds of millions of euros but less than 1 billion.
Hollande said on Monday he took responsibility for any budget overshoot that resulted from increased spending on security and the military, telling lawmakers that security was more important than EU budget rules.