There is no doubt that a key asset of the European Union is its so called soft powers, notably through the process of enlargement, but also wider through the magnetism of its model of cooperation and integration.
But now and then there is also the need for harder intervention powers, perhaps in particular in order to support efforts by the United Nations in different parts of the world.
That’s the background to the efforts underway to build up the so called battle groups.
And during the week to come the European Union will conduct its first military exercise to train some of the operational headquarters that would be involved in an operation with one of these so called battle groups.
It’s a small step for mankind, but a fairly significant one for the European Union.
Slowly but surely, the Union evolves into a more credible force for stability, freedom and democracy not only in its most immediate vicinity.