Leading Nation of a Belligerent Europe

BERLIN/PARIS (Own report) – German government advisors are pleading for the creation of a joint German-French air force. In light of an alleged “deterioration of EU military efficiency,” the “two major nations” in Europe are “required to take the leadership,” according to a position paper published by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). “Clear signals” must finally be given and “concrete proposals for security policy cooperation” presented, rather than non-binding declarations of intent. For example, a fusion of the air forces of Germany and France would provide a good opportunity for promoting military as well as arms industry cooperation. Experts in Berlin have been complaining since some time that the desperately needed cooperation of the arms industries throughout the EU still has not really materialized, despite persistent political appeals. Aside from the advantages for the arms industry, this plea for the creation of a German-French air force is aimed at the recent French-British military cooperation, considered in Berlin as a means for preventing a German predominance of the EU’s war policy. Practical measures have now been taken to split the British-French alliance.

Declarations of Intent Only

The SWP’s proposal to establish a German-French air force aims also at the EU’s armaments policy. For some time now, experts in Berlin have been complaining that the armaments cooperation between EU member countries was not really advancing. Alexander Weis, for example, who headed the European Defense Agency and works today in the German defense ministry, is quoted with his sober assessment: “despite all the consultations and agreements” armaments cooperation did not really progress.[5] The same can be said for company mergers, which do not take place – as recently happened with EADS and BAE. This is also the case with EU declarations of intent for “pooling and sharing” or the NATO avowal of a “smart defense.” The plans for sharing/apportionment of military equipment among NATO or EU member countries respectively, are in fact simply “political titles, whose contents are still largely ambiguous,” says Weis. The EU, for example, classified “summarily, all projects” as components of “pooling and sharing” projects, in which “it has already been engaged in cross-border” cooperation for years. Beyond this, nothing significant has happened. No progress has been made, where it is most important, particularly in the domain of joint “development of weaponry and equipment” and the “distribution of military capabilities” among the armed forces of the respective member countries. Not even the Eurofighter is a success in genuine arms cooperation. After all, France withdrew already early, and the Eurofighter-Rafale competition continues.

Full article: Leading Nation of a Belligerent Europe (German Foreign Policy)

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