France requests EU support

BRUSSELS — France invoked the European Union’s 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.

The unexpected move to look to the European Union for help, rather than the US-led Nato alliance, requires all of the bloc’s 28 members to provide “aid and assistance”, which Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said meant taking some of the burden off France as Europe’s most active military power.

“France cannot do everything, in the Sahel, in the Central African Republic, in the Levant and then secure its national territory,” Mr Le Drian told a news conference during a meeting of EU defence ministers in Brussels where he invoked the EU’s Article 42.7 mutual assistance clause.

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