« The Letter of Intent » concluded between EUROCORPS and the European Union Military Staff not only laid the first official foundation for the cooperation between the two organisations, but even deepened it. Through the deployment of EUROCORPS in EUTM Mali in 2015 and the preparation and implementation of the first three rotations in the European Training Mission in RCA, the contacts were so intense that the benefits of a privileged cooperation were obvious for both sides. To date, no other staff in Europe has a comparable status, nor a comparable pool of experience in the context of European Union military operations.
In 1993, the French and German governments decided to make Eurocorps available to NATO. This demonstrated to the Allies that the Eurocorps was not simply a new European force, but was designed to complement the Alliance’s defence efforts.
The SACEUR Treaty provides that the EUROCORPS can be placed under the command of SACEUR, i.e. the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, and that joint training and planning activities with NATO can be carried out and NATO training facilities used. As a result, not only is there a continuous link with NATO, but training, command and daily operations are conducted according to NATO standards.
The preparation for NRF 7 reminded us of the paramount importance of interoperability. Beyond many issues, that had to be solved in that respect, it must be mentioned the fact, that the French-German Brigade, as the NRF Brigade, demonstrated its capacity to integrate additional units from other nations. The fact that most of them originated from Eurocorps Framework Nations did obviously help. Nevertheless, it became very clear, that rotations of partners and ad hoc or composite arrangements required time and again collective training. Capitalizing on stable organisations such as Headquarters Eurocorps, the French-German brigade and the other dedicated and affiliated units were a more realistic and affordable option.
Finally, the members of EUROCORPS worked hard to prepare the NRF but the stand-by period saw no commitment in a real operation.
For the second time in EUROCORPS’s history, the HQ provided the Land Component Command for this major crisis intervention force, this time in a completely different framework. Before being ready for the new and even more challenging mission, the members had to undertake a thorough preparation. This challenged their preparation and training for these missions, still based on the high level of aspiration we have always imposed on ourselves. We took up the challenge successfully – we were certified “excellent” – and we proved to be a learning and adapting military organisation.
Lieutenant General Hans-Lothar Domröse (DEU) – NRF15 Book
As a result of its unique status with six framework nations, the subject of the Command Group, and above all the Commanding General, is regulated differently from most other corps staffs in Europe.
The Commanding General Eurocorps is entrusted with the leadership of the Eurocorps by the Common Committee, consisting of the Chiefs of Staff of the framework nations. He heads a Command Group of five generals in total. The generals, first and foremost the Commanding General, are appointed by the respective framework nations and rotate every two years. Due to the accession of nations, the last being Poland in January 2022, the order has been adjusted several times.
The first commander appointed by the two original framework nations, Germany and France, was Lieutenant General Helmut Willmann in October 1993, who has been followed by 14 generals to date. Currently, Lieutenant General Peter Devogelaere leads the Eurocorps. He will hand over to a general designated by Poland in the middle of next year.
- Lieutenant General Helmut Willmann (DEU), (1993-1996)
- Lieutenant General Pierre Forterre (FRA), (1996-1997)
- Lieutenant General Leo Van Den Bosch (BEL), (1997-1999)
- Lieutenant General Juan Ortuño-Such (ESP), (1999-2001)
- Lieutenant General Holger Kammerhoff (DEU), (2001-2003)
- Lieutenant General Jean-Louis Py (FRA), (2003-2005)
- Lieutenant General Charles-Henri Delcour (BEL), (2005-2007)
- Lieutenant General Pedro Pitarch (ESP), (2007-2009)
- Lieutenant General Hans Lothar Domröse (DEU), (2009-2011)
- Lieutenant General Olivier de Bavinchove (FRA), (2011-2013)
- Lieutenant General Guy Buchsenschmidt (BEL), (2013-2015)
- Lieutenant General Alfredo Ramirez (ESP), (2015-2017)
- Lieutenant General Jürgen Weigt (DEU), (2017-2019)
- Lieutenant General Laurent Kolodziej (FRA), (2019-2021)