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  • EU Army

    Brexit could pave the way for development of the embryonic EU army

    The British decision to leave the European Union in the wake of the Brexit referendum has given renewed impetus to the idea that the EU should have its own army.

    The UK - by far the most capable European military player, along with France - has always been a brake on such an idea, fearing unnecessary duplication with Nato.

    The UK went along with EU plans up to a point. A British army light mechanised infantry unit (2nd Battalion the Yorkshire regiment) currently forms the core of one of the EU's 1,500-strong battle groups: a rapid-reaction force capable of being deployed to a crisis zone at short notice.

    In fact over recent years the UK has also stepped up defence co-operation with France - a natural partner, given the scale of their military ambitions.

    Indeed, defence was the sector in which the UK was perhaps the strongest EU player, in part to compensate for Britain's absence from other core issues of European business - the common currency, the project for ever greater political union and so on.

    But Britain's view was that EU defence co-operation should only go so far. Nothing should be done to reduce the primacy of Nato and money should not be wasted on duplicating things that the transatlantic alliance was already doing.

    This - broadly speaking - is the US view too.

    What matters in Washington is European defence spending and capability. The willingness (or as he would see it unwillingness) of America's European partners to pay more for defence is a key element in the Republican candidate Donald Trump's critique of Nato.

    But now, with the UK in the departure lounge for EU exit, a number of European leaders are reviving the idea of a stronger EU defence identity - summed up in the phrase, "a European army".

    Creating an EU army may be a way to improve the EU's image, battered by the migrant crisis

    This has long been the ambition of the most ardent eurocrats. Back in March 2015, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker declared that a common European army was needed to address the problem that the EU, as an international player, was not "taken entirely seriously" in the world - not least in Moscow.

    The Brexit vote has opened the floodgates to the idea. The prime ministers of Hungary and the Czech Republic have urged the EU to build its own army. Only this week, German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who was visiting Lithuania, declared that "it's time to move forward to a European defence union which is basically a 'Schengen of defence'."

    This reference to "Schengen", the EU's open borders agreement, prompted one defence expert I know to comment wryly that it was pretty rich to talk about a "Schengen of defence" when Schengen had effectively allowed thousands of refugees to "invade" EU territory.

    But an EU army is back on the agenda and it is unlikely to go away.

    Nato fears fast-moving Russian troops

    Is the West losing its edge on defence?

    EU setbacks

    The UK's Brexit vote was a blow to the EU's sense of itself.

    The EU has already been battered by its failures to deal adequately with a series of crises: from the Greek bailout to the wave of refugees heading for Europe's shores. It is perhaps understandable that the EU's advocates are looking to bolster its standing by moving ahead in other areas.

    But it is crucial to realise that there is more politics here than strategic thought. What exactly does "a European army" mean? Sending soldiers into harm's way is perhaps the ultimate sovereign decision a government can take.

    Countries enter into alliances like Nato (or indeed the EU itself) because pooling resources provides greater capability and thus security.

    But there is no Nato army as such, just national forces integrated into a common command structure. They only become Nato forces in the event of a conflict.

    Sections of the British press that hyperventilate whenever the idea of an EU army comes up miss this essential point: that the term "EU army" is largely meaningless.

    But more European defence there will be. There is already a patchwork of defence arrangements - some bilateral, some multilateral, some in the EU and many involving Nato as a whole.

    If this leads to more defence and better defence it is probably a good thing. If it leads to political posturing and duplication then the sceptics may be right - and the only person who may be happy is Russian President Vladimir Putin, watching it all from the Kremlin.
    Last edited by TopHatter; 21 Nov 16,, 23:33.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

  • #2
    These extreme Eurocrats are morons. It's like their car is on fire and they are saying: drive faster, the wind will put it out!


    • #3
      Germany and France today issued a joint declaration of intent for revamping the Common Security and Defense of the European Union. It's only six pages though, nothing concrete, and the only interesting line is "under the premise of the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the union the 27 of us should now step forward together".

      There's apparently a more detailed roadmap that both are offering to present at an informal gathering of defense ministers end of september to line up a positive decision on the next official meeting in November for confirmation by the European council in December.

      Items/calls in the six-page paper:
      • call: regular meetings of the European Council dedicated to matters of defense
      • urge: keep current structure of control over military forces at EU level; medium-term goal: Joint European Military HQ for operations
      • proposal: use Eurocorps as a nucleus for supporting the EU in running military operations; medium-term goal: "appropriate" tactical-operational means at disposal of EU for operations
      • call: form a joint European Medical Command (target: support EU missions with medical forces and use it as a focus for interoperability concerns)
      • call: joint strategic transport coordination at European level, based around existing models like EATC
      • offer: support planned EU maritime control through German and French space-based strategic reconnaissance assets
      • idea: establish a European staff-level officer course (and further cooperation through the European Officer Network)
      • urge: increase funding of joint missions, financial proposal will be on table by December
      • reiterate: further cooperation between European and African military forces as declared in April 2014.
      • call: full implementation of EU CBSD financing instrument for security-related pilot projects
      • call: introduce a military/security-related R&D budget with the next EU budget (i.e. from 2021) plus preparation funding until then (about 90 million till 2019)
      • call: intensify EU/NATO cooperation in cyber defense and hybrid defense in support of the joint EU/NATO declaration of July 8th
      • call: improve initial entry combat capability of EU battlegroups (something lacking with some groups, in particular from Eastern Europe)
      • call: improve "troop generation" process, i.e. contributor collecting, for EU missions
      • call: spend 20% of military budget on investment (which save for a handful about no one does in the EU)
      • call: introduce incentments for cooperation through the European Defense Agency for procurement
      • reiterate: Germany and France will continue developing key flagship projects through EDA (air-to-air refuelling, SATCOM, cyber defense and RPAS Eurodrone)
      • proposal: more coordination and transparency of military budgets between members on voluntary basis

      As said, it's a bit short.

      Don't know if there's an English version available, i've only seen the German one (there should be a French one).


      • #4
        Originally posted by citanon View Post
        These extreme Eurocrats are morons. It's like their car is on fire and they are saying: drive faster, the wind will put it out!
        Sums it up for me .


        • #5
          Europe's security is "NATO" the end!
          Some drunk Bureaucrats in Brussels playing with toy soldiers is not my idea of a safe Europe.