The European Union (EU) is making plans to build a united army after the Franch President Emmanuel Macron made the call last November to start creating the defense system.
“Europe’s army is already taking shape,” wrote Ursula von der Leyen, Germany’s defense minister for Handelsblatt. “Germany and France are the driving forces in defense.”
The army coined the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) has 25 armies that have agreed to join the united force.
European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker pushed for the United defense force in 2017 and set a goal of having the army fully functional by 2025.
“Jean-Claude Juncker already said that a common European army would show the world that there would never again be war in Europe,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel last year. “The times when we could rely on others are over. This means nothing less than for us Europeans to take our destiny in our own hands if we want to survive as a Union.”
Late last year, Macron said that the EU needed a “real European army” as a precaution to defend itself from threats from China, Russia, and even the U.S.
Germany’s Von der Leyen said that the countries decided to join “not because we’re following requirements from Brussels but voluntarily because the benefits are obvious and because it’s in Europe’s security interests”.
She also said that this shared objective, which is part of the recent Elysèe Treaty, has made the partnership between France and Germany closer.
“We’re moving even further ahead with our close partner France,” said von der Leyen.
This also appears to be a move to convey strength in the wake of Britain making official moves to exit the EU.
“We are making good progress. Despite Brexit, and the controversial debates us Europeans have among ourselves, Europe remains a unique creation, uniting half a billion citizens in the name of freedom and prosperity,” said Von der Leyen.
Brexit supporters often pointed to the EU army as a “dangerous fantasy” and expensive venture that Britain would be forced to support.
Many also argue that it’s impossible to have so many separate nations, even if they are allies, agree on matters in times of war.
“Norway and Greece might have different ideas of what’s an issue worth fighting for. If it’s a non-political body like the EU civil service, then there will be complaints that unelected bureaucrats are making decisions about war and peace. If a European army ends up being mainly France and Germany, then how European is it?” writes The National Interest.
Not to mention, how will it be funded? Only 4 out of the 29 NATO members met the stipulation that 2 percent of their GDP spending be on defense. Also, NATO’s budget is funded 70 percent by the U.S.
Author’s note: This is a good idea in theory except that the EU isn’t like the U.S. and made of states. It’s made of countries with different customs, policies, etc. This makes it complicated to build a completely united force. So could it just be a front to appear powerful to Russia and China?