“Learn a trade in the European Army. Send your applications to the following email or postal address…” Such slogans do not yet appear on posters displayed in the metros of Berlin, Rome, Warsaw or Madrid. Yet, if the EU did have its own army, it would be the biggest recruiter on the continent and an important provider of jobs, both direct and indirect.
This is not a new idea, and the string of failures of the different attempts to implement it – beginning with the European Defence Community – should have discouraged all new projects.
Nonetheless, now that a new alert has been launched concerning Al Qaeda terrorist attacks, and with December’s European Council expected to be largely dedicated to European defence issues, the project is back on the agenda. Furthermore, the EU’s ally, the US, does not miss an opportunity to remind Europeans to assume their responsibilities, as recently noted in US weekly The Christian Science Monitor: “Washington has increasingly called on Europe to safeguard itself – and, more important, the nearby territory of the Sahel, North Africa, and parts of the Middle East,” writes the paper.
It is even essential, stresses Romanian daily Adevărul, in order to “define a European identity and credibility”, at a time when other countries “are putting up barriers everywhere” against terrorist attacks. It seems the European Parliament shared this view in 2009, when it called for the creation of a common defence force called the Synchronized Armed Forces Europe, or SAFE.
The introduction of a pan-European military service would, in addition, provide the opportunity to re-forge European ties stretched by the crisis. And should that also fail, there is always the idea of civilian service, as promoted by German sociologist Ulrich Beck in a recent interview with French monthly Philosophie Magazine:
A German who spends a year in a Greece struck by this tragic impoverishment caused by historically high unemployment and who, on returning to Germany, hears it said that Greeks are lazy, will have a different view of his country’s politics.
Article srource: Uncle Europe wants you! (Presseurop)