The European Union has opened a new military operations centre in Brussels, Belgium.

Commencing operations on June 13, the centre is situated in the EU military staff building.

The EU’s top official, Javier Solana, says that while the centre will have the same military responsibilities as NATO’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe – to supervise and command military operations – its running will be quite different.

“We regularly conduct exercises which practice direct coordination and cooperation between the EU’s military and civilian components… This is a real added value to our overall crisis management activities,” Solana says.

The EU-funded centre will be run by 75 personnel, with 46 permanent EU member employees and 30 seconded on a rotating scheme from the union’s 27 member states.

The headquarters boast high-definition screens and computers operated by logistics, which work from high-resolution commercial-satellite imagery. This is received from the EU satellite centre in Torrejon, Spain.

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Torrejon currently pushes images to the centre upon request but the system will eventually be changed to automatically pull the images required from Spain.

The centre’s common operational picture is much more advanced than that achieved by the alliance and its associates, according to the EU. It also has its own satellite communications ground station.

It is still unclear as to whether the centre will receive operational funds, as the 27 countries involved struggle to decide which categories can and cannot be covered by the finances.