BERLIN/BRUSSELS (Own report) – European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, taking up an old German demand, calls for the creation of an EU Army. Having its own armed forces would give the EU greater influence in global politics, according to Juncker, and it would particularly help the EU demonstrate more determination in relationship to Moscow. The German chancellor had called for an EU Army already years ago. The German Social Democrats (SPD) have been repeating that the EU not only needs combat troops but also its own military academy and a permanent military headquarters. Berlin has already begun expanding the Bundeswehr’s cooperation with units from several other countries, including the Netherlands and Poland – quasi establishing an EU Army from the ground up. For Germany, the creation of a common military force would be highly advantageous, because Berlin could play a predominant role in military questions, as it has in the imposition of austerity dictates during the Euro crisis. An EU Army would also increase German influence in relationship to the USA and NATO.
In an interview last Sunday with a German newspaper, EU Commission President Jean Claude Juncker called for the creation an EU Army: “Europe’s image has suffered dramatically,” he asserted, “also in terms of foreign policy, we don’t seem to be taken entirely seriously.” EU Armed Forces “would help us design a common foreign and security policy.” The EU Commission President would like to see the EU play a more resolute role “in the world.” Such an army would allow the union to “react credibly to threats to peace in a member state or an EU neighbor,” says Juncker hinting at the current power struggle over Ukraine. “A common army among the Europeans would convey to Russia that we are serious about defending the values of the European Union.”
A New Thrust
For years, the creation of an EU army has been a standard demand of Germany’s EU policy. “We have to reach a common European army … in the EU,” Chancellor Angela Merkel declared already back in March 2007. “The creation of a European army must be a long-term goal,” confirmed Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle at the Munich Security Conference in February 2010. “The European project of a common security and defense policy will be a motor for Europe’s further integration.” With his proposal, the Laureat of the Federal Cross of Merit, Jean-Claude Juncker, is lavished with great sympathy across German party lines. Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen was quoted saying that the fusion of national armed forces to an EU army is “the future.” Norbert Röttgen (CDU), Chairman of the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee declared, “a common army is a European vision whose time has come.” Jucker’s initiative was “welcomed”, according to Hans-Peter Bartels (SPD), Chairman of the Bundestag’s Defense Committee: “The past ten years have provided little for Europe’s defense. A new thrust is needed.”
Advantageous for Germany
The creation of an EU army is highly advantageous for Germany. On the one hand, it consolidates the composite military power of the EU nations, and on the other, it guarantees Berlin’s decisive influence. At the latest, with Germany’s imposition of its austerity dictate during the Euro crisis, against, at times, hefty opposition of a group of EU member states, it has become clear that the Federal Republic of Germany is capable of comprehensively imposing its interests in Brussels. In this respect, Berlin need not worry about having to send larger quantities of German troops to fight wars in the interests of other countries – a situation that has long-since blocked military cooperation at EU-level because of the protracted conflict between Germany and France. Germany’s position is further facilitated by the current focus of the power struggle with Russia, because militarily this also orients the EU eastward, where Berlin has traditionally expanded, whereas Paris’ preference for interventions in France’s African spheres of influence have been slumbering in the background. The anti-Russian orientation of an EU Army can ultimately contribute not only toward breaking the resistance of Poland and especially Great Britain, which have been unwilling to relinquish their military competence to Brussels, while pursuing a highly aggressive anti-Russian foreign policy. The EU is, however, heading simultaneously toward a hard, protracted conflict, and possibly even a full-blown war with Russia.