Defence Forces chief misses out on top EU military post

Italian general chosen ahead of Vice-Admiral Mark Mellett to head EU Military Committee

Defence Forces chief of staff Vice-Admiral Mark Mellett: nominated for position of EUMC chairman by Government. Photograph: Alan Betson

The chief of staff of the Defence Forces, Vice-Admiral Mark Mellett, will not be the next chairman of the European Union Military Committee (EUMC), the union's highest military body.

The 28-country membership of the committee voted on Tuesday to give the position to the chief of staff of the Italian Defence Forces, Gen Claudio Graziano.

In September, the Government nominated Vice-Admiral Mellett for the position, which falls vacant in a year's time when the current incumbent, Gen Mikhail Kostarakos, of Greece, retires.

He is believed to have finished a close second to the Italian candidate, beating the candidates of both France and Germany. Irish diplomats beleive that lobbying for Vice-Admiral Mellett has raised the State’s defence profile within the EU.


The committee is part of the EU’s external action service, carrying out the union’s foreign and security policy.

Comprised of member states’ chiefs of staff, the body advises the action service on military options in crises.

Vice Admiral Mellett is believed to have run the Italian chief of staff a close second, beating the French and German candidates.

Irish diplomats are happy that lobbying for him raised Ireland’s defence profile within the EU and the personal strength of his candidature showed what Ireland had to offer in this area.

Peter Murtagh

Peter Murtagh

Peter Murtagh is a contributor to The Irish Times