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ΙΣΤΟΡΙΚΟ UEP Print E-mail

 

HISTORY OF THE EUROPEAN PARACHUTE UNION


Secretary General Lieutenant-colonel (Ret) Eric Foulatier

 

The relationship between European associations of veteran military parachutists began in 1976 and concerned Germany, France, Belgium and Italy.

In 1979, General Von der Heydte (Bund Deutscher Fallschirmjäger - BDF) sent a project for the creation of a European Union of Parachutists to Colonel Romain Desfossés, (Union Nationale des Parachutistes – UNP). The project was approved by the UNP National Council.

In 1981, a meeting was held in Krems, Austria and was attended by several European Associations. A temporary Liaison Committee was set up to determine the objectives and the organization of the future Union.

On April 17th and 18th 1982, a meeting was held in Gand, Belgium. Only three of the ten Associations invited attended: Colonel Witzig represented the Bund Deutscher Fallschirmjäger (BDF), General de Santis represented the Associazone Nazionale Paracadusti d’Italia (ANPd’I) and Colonel Romain Desfossés represented the Union Nationale de Parachutistes (UNP). The basic principles of the Union Européenne de Parachutistes were set at this time. Over the next few years, the relationship between the different associations became more distant and the Union was put on hold.

In 1989, with the full support of the UNP and its President, Major Loustou, Lieutenant Colonel Reeb decided to relaunch the Union. After an initial contact with Colonel Sander, National President of the BDF, a meeting was organized and Colonel Reeb was given the responsibility of taking the necessary steps.

A meeting was held in Paris on September 22nd 1989 and was attended by Colonel Sander (BDF), General Rossi (ANPd’I), Colonel Desprechins (Belgium Para Commandos) and Major Loustou (UNP). Colonel Reeb was elected as Secretary General and he proposed a set of statutes.

A follow-up meeting was held in Schongau on November 25th 1989 during which the modified statutes were adopted and were then published in the Journal Officiel Français on March 21st 1990. The Secretary General was given the task of preparing Internal Regulations.

On January 20th 1990, the Secretary General met with Greek veterans in Thessaloniki, responding to an invitation from them and he was also in touch with the Spanish Association through the Military Attaché. On June 26th 1990 another meeting was held and was attended by Germany, France and Greece. Belgium and Italy did not attend.  Greece was officially accepted as a member country. Major Loustou was elected Executive President and the Internal Regulations were adopted.

On September 29th 1990, the National Presidents were invited to Paris for the St Michel celebrations. The UEP flag was presented and a UEP tie was given to the visiting countries to be attached to their National Flag. The following day General Assaresses (new President of the UNP in replacement of Major Loustou) hosted a meeting of the UEP during which the General Secretary confirmed that the Spaniards were keen to join the UEP through a confederation “Federacion Nacionale de Asociaciones Paracaidista de Espana (FENASPE).

The Greek association which was renamed Hellenic Commando Association (HCA) hosted the first UEP Congress on May 19th and 20th 1991 in Thessaloniki. The theme of the congress was “The defense of Europe”.

On June 26th 1991, in Alcantarilla, Spain, the FENASPE officially became a member of the UEP and on the following day, during an official ceremony at the Parachute Training Centre, the UEP tie was handed over. On this occasion, the Italian association was again present following an invitation from the FENASPE.

In September 1991, during a meeting in Paris where the Executive Presidency was handed to Germany (Colonel Sander) and the Vice Presidency was given to Greece (K. Likotrafitis), Italy, represented by General de Vita, was accepted as a full member of the UEP.

The 2nd Congress was held from September 10th to 15th 1992 and was again hosted by Greece in Thessaloniki. The theme of the congress was “The place of Greece in the Middle-East”.

On November 15th, 1992, the UEP tie was handed over to Italy in the town of Pisa during the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the battle of El-Alamein.

On May 16th 1993, a preparatory meeting for the 3rd UEP Congress was held in Bruchsal, Germany during the AGM of the BDF.

The 3rd Congress was again held in Thessaloniki from November 8th to 15th 1993 and the theme was “The tactical and technical position of Airborne Troops’’.  The Executive Presidency was handed over to Greece represented by Mr. Likotrafitis and General de Vito became Vice-President. Following contacts made in 1992 and early 1993, two new members were accepted into the UEP: Portugal represented by Colonel Terras Marquez of “Os Boinas Verde” and also Commander of the Portuguese Airborne troops and Cyprus represented by “Pagyprios Syndesmos Efedron Katadromeon” (PSEK).

On March 12th 1994, the UEP tie was handed over to Cyprus during a celebration in Nicosia.

François Rabut organized a meeting of the National Presidents in Nice during the 12th International Parachute Challenge “Lt-Colonel Jeanpierre’’ from June 24th to 28th, 1994.

The 4th Congress was organized in Portugal from September 28th to October 2nd 1994 at the Parachutist School in Tancos. The theme retained was “the Future of Airborne Troups”. On this occasion, the UEP tie was handed to the “Uniao Portugesa de Paraquedistas’’ (UPP), a newly formed association grouping the different regional clubs.

On June 2nd to 5th 1995 in Thessaloniki, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the end of World War II, the Hellenic Commando Association organized and hosted a UEP Cultural Symposium. During this Symposium, Commandant Henry-Jean Loustau and General Arnaud de Foyard (France), General Konstantinos Malamas (Greece), Colonel Karl-Heinrich Sander (Germany) and General Palace (Spain) were declared Honorary Presidents of UEP. Two distinguished Greeks, Mr. Evangelos Tsantalis and Mr. Ioannis Raptopoulos were declared Honorary Members of UEP.

The 5th Congress was held in Spain in Alcantarilla and Madrid from November 7th to 13th 1995 where the FENASPE also organized a parachuting competition. The 1995 theme was “Manpower, adaptation to the evolving needs for defense”. During this congress, the term of office of the Executive Presidency was limited to one year. General de Vita became the Executive President. Mr. Konstantinos Likotrafitis was, at this time, declared Honorary President of UEP.

The 6th Congress took place in Bologna, Italy and on this occasion, two themes were discussed: “The actions of Airborne Troops over the last 50 years in Peace Keeping Missions” and “UEP – what role can the association play in reinforcing the relationships between different European countries?”  General Munoz Manero (FENASPE) was designated Executive President.

Following a decision taken during the 6th Congress, the Hellenic Commando Association organized another Cultural Symposium held in Athens and Peloponnesus in March 1997. The theme was “Examination of UEP capabilities in supporting the society”. The main phase of the Symposium took place in the International Olympic Academy in Ancient Olympia.

The 7th Congress was organized in Paris and Pau by the UNP from September 26th to October 1st, 1997. The main theme for discussion was “Does the Mediterranean European Region justify political, economical and military autonomy?” Colonel Terras Marquez was designated Executive President. The Panhellenic Federation of Special Forces took the place of Hellenic Commando Association as member of UEP.

In 1998 the Panhellenic Federation of Special Forces organized two more Cultural Symposia, the first in Crete on May 21st to 26th for the Anniversary of the Battle of Crete and the second in Thessaloniki on November 11th for the Anniversary of World War I cease fire.

1998 saw Germany (BDF) organize the 8th Congress which was held in Schongau from September 21st to 26th and during which two themes were discussed: “The need for an independent European Defense” and “Airborne Troops in the 21st century”. Colonel Reeb resigned as Secretary General and proposed François Rabut as his successor who was unanimously approved in this role. His first task was to follow-up a contact from the Polish Veteran Association.  Mr. Koukkides (PSEK) was designated Executive President.

The 9th Congress was held in Nicosia from October 25th to 31st during which the Zwiazek Polskish Spadochroniarzy (ZPS) became a member of the UEP. The theme retained was “To open up national activities to other European members” and this led to the proposal to organize a UEP annual parachuting competition which France (UNP) was to organize. General Eckert (BDF) was designated Executive President.

The first UEP Parachuting Competition was held in Lamalou les Bains from June 2nd to 4th and only five out of the eight registered teams participated.

The 10th Congress was held from November 6th to 12th 2000 in Thessaloniki, two themes were discussed “UEP after the first decade” and “Wish list for the future”. General Theodoly-Lannes was designated Executive President.

In 2001 the ZPS organized a competition in Lödz from June 6th to 10th with the presence of 6 teams and the 11th Congress in Cracow from October 9th to 14th. The subject for debate was “The Place, Role and Future of the UEP”.  The UEP tie was presented to the Polish in the presence of senior authorities. The Executive Presidency was handed over to General Komanski.

The 3rd UEP Parachute Competition was organized in Pontecagnano in Italy from May 24th to 26th 2002 and again only 6 teams participated.

The 12th Congress was held in Alcala de Henares in Spain from November 6th to 10th, 2002 and the theme for discussion was ‘‘Parachuting, an Olympic Sport”. General Athanasios Galinos (PFSF) became Executive President and accepted to host the next congress following a suggestion by General Theodoly-Lannes that the Executive President automatically host the Congress following their nomination.

The competition planned for 2003 in Pisa, Italy unfortunately did not take place.

The 13th Congress from October 28th to November 2nd 2003 was again held in Thessaloniki and Lamia. The theme discussed was “What type of competition for the UEP”. Also during this congress, Belgium was proposed as a future member country and a 4th parachuting competition was planned for 2004 in Alcantarilla, Spain. General Speranza (ANPd’I) became next Executive President and responsible for hosting the 2004 Congress.

The 14th Congress was held in Lucca, Italie from October 20th to 24th 2004 with the theme “Fight against Terrorism in Europe”. During this congress the members were able to follow celebrations of the anniversary of El-Alamein in Pisa and also celebrations in Lucca during which Belgium became a full member of the UEP and received the UEP tie for their flag. Observers from Austria and Hungary were also present. Two major points of this 14th Congress were the decision to prepare a Statement at the end of the meeting to be distributed to various Civilian and Military authorities and to organize a UEP Triathlon in Poland following a proposal by the ZPS. General Piquemal was designated Executive President for the following year with the obligation to host the 2005 Congress in his country, France.

Based in Toulouse with an excursion to Carcassonne, the 2005 Congress was centered on the updating of the objectives of the UEP. A working group led by Eric Foulatier was set up to work on the statutes. Hungary became a full member of the UEP during a ceremony held at the Palais Niel in Toulouse but it was decided that Austria would retain the status of observer as the national association did not fulfill the requirements of the statutes of the UEP.

In the same year, the triathlon organized in Poland was very successful in spite of the participation of only 5 nations.

At the end of the 15th Congress, General Almendra, President of the UPP became Executive President and he confirmed that the 16th Congress would take place earlier than usual to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Portuguese Paratroopers.  It was held from 20th to 25th May 2006 in Cabeco del Vidre with a final ceremony at the Paratrooper School in Tancos.  The statutes proposed by the Working Group were adopted unanimously. In these it is stipulated that the role of General Secretary and that of Treasurer must be separate and that they be held by members of the French delegation. The Working Group was given the task of updating the internal regulations to correspond to the new statutes. The statement following the 16th Congress concerned the role, the place and the future of airborne troops.

In spite of an early Congress, Portugal also held a Parachuting Accuracy competition from September 27th to October 1st in Tancos and held the Executive Presidency until October when General Bernhardt took over.

The 17th Congress was held in Germany in Garmisch Partenkirchen from 20th to 25th October 2007 and was preceded by a Parachuting Accuracy competition held in Altenstadt from 12th to 15th July, 2007. The opening ceremony was held in an early freak snow storm, the Congress, in line with that held in Toulouse, was rich in information concerning the aeronautical industry. During the 17th Congress, François Rabut was succeeded as General Secretary by Eric Foulatier who retained the chair of the Working Group in order to finalize the Internal Regulations.

The Executive Presidency was, for the first time, handed to Belgium in the name of Colonel Emile Genot, President of the ANPCV. The UEP competition was held in the town of Schaffen in Belgium at the same time as the traditional pentathlon of the international military parachute schools.

The 18th Congress, organized in Brussels from 20th to 24th October 2008, was held under the patronage of St Michael, patron of both military parachutists and the town. The Congress gave an insight into the European government located in Brussels and the Belgian Para Commando Units. The Congress was centered on communication “How to make the UEP known to both national and international authorities and how to communicate our ideas to them” and finally, the Internal Regulations were approved. At the end of the Congress, the UEP flag was handed over to Colonel Boda, new Executive President and first Hungarian to hold this office since Hungary joined the UEP in 2005.

The program for 2008-2009 was completed with a Parachuting Accuracy Competition held in July and the organization of the 19th Congress in September 2009 both in Szolnok, Hungary.

The Executive Presidency was then handed to Cyprus in the name of Mattheos Economides, president of PSEK. The 20th Congress and Parachuting Contest will take place in Larnaca and Nicosia respectively, between 4th and 8th October 2010.

 

 

UEP CONGRESS TOPICS IN THE PAST - SUJETS EXPOSES AUX DIFFERENTS CONGRES


1er Congrès en 1991 à Thessalonique (GR) sujet: La Défense de l’Europe - Defense of Europe

2ème Congrès en 1992 à Thessalonique (GR): sujet:  La place de la Grèce au Moyen Orient - Greece’s place in the Middle east.

3ème Congrès en 1993 à Thessalonique (GR): sujet: Les Troupes Aéroportées aux plans technique et tactique-Airborne troops –plans, techniques, tactics.

4ème Congrès en 1994 à Tancos (P): sujet: L’avenir des Troupes Aéroportées- The future of the airborne troops.

5ème Congrès en 1995 à Madrid et Alcantarilla (E): sujet: L’évolution en effectifs des besoins de la Défense – The evolution of defense requirements.

6ème Congrès en1996 à Bologne (I): deux sujets: Les différentes actions menées par les Troupes Aéroportées pendant les 50 dernières années pour la cause de la paix dans le cadre de missions internationales- Airborne troops actions in the last 50 years for keeping peace.

7ème Congrès en 1997 à Paris et à Pau (F): sujet:

L’Europe Méditerranéenne est-elle une entité justifiable de se voir conférer une autonomie relative aux plans économiques, politiques et militaires-Relative autonomy of Euro-Mediterranean economy, politics and military?

8ème Congrès en 1998 à Schongau (GE): sujet: De la nécessité et de l’indépendance d’une Défense Européenne » et Les Troupes Aéroportées face au 21ème siècle- The necessity of an independent European defense and the challenges for airborne troops in the 21st century.

9ème Congrès en 1999 à Chypre (Ciprus): sujet: L’élargissement inter-européen des activités sportives ou autres pratiquées dans les associations nationales-The inter-European enlargement in the field of sport activities and other national practices.

10ème Congrès en 2000 à Thessalonique (GR): deux sujets: Bilan  de la première décadre de l’UEPThe results of the first decade of UEP.

Souhait de développement futur en fonction des possibilités et limitations nationales.

11ème Congrès en 2001 à Cracovie (Pl): sujet: Place, rôle et avenir de l’UEP - UEP’s place role and future.

12ème Congrès en 2002 à Henares (E): sujet: Parachutisme, sport olympiqueParachute sport Olympics.

13ème Congrès en 2003 à Thessalonique et à Lamia (GR): sujet: La meilleure compétition pour le futur de l’UEP – The best competition for the future of UEP.

14ème Congrès en 2004 à Lucca (I): sujet: La Contribution de l’UEP à la Défense et à la Lutte contre le Terrorisme- UEP’s solidarity with the defense of Europe, and the fight against terrorism.

15ème Congrès en 2005 à Toulouse (FR): sujets: Redéfinir clairement les orientations initiales fixées par les statuts de 1990 et de leur faire subir un lifting actualisé (adaptation et adéquation des buts initiaux, prise en compte de l’élargissement de l’UEP et de ses limites éventuelles, l’UEP pour quoi faire?)

De remodeler et réorganiser la méthodologie actuelle de travail de l’UEP dans l’année et au Congrès pour mieux l’ajuster et l’harmoniser aux buts. The redefinition of UEP.

16ème Congrès en 2006 à Tancos (P): sujet: L’avenir des Troupes Aéroportées dans les missions du futur et l’influence des anciens –The future of the airborne troops.

17ème Congrès en 2007 en Bavière, à Garmisch Partenkirchen, Middenwald et Altenstadt (GE): sujet:

La situation des unités parachutistes après les diminutions des effectifs dans certains pays- Place and role of airborne troops and special forces in a European defense.

18ème Congrès en 2008 à Bruxelles (BE): sujet: Comment mieux faire connaître l’UEP dans les différents pays de l’Union Européenne - How to direct the attention of civilian and military authorities on national and European level, how channel out ideas and suggestions to them?

19ème Congrès en 2009 à   Szolnoh (H): sujet: L’Historique des Unités Parachutistes des pays membres. History of the European Parachute Union: strategic vision of UEP.

 
 

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