PARIS/BERLIN (Own report) – Germany is participating in a new European military formation that was launched yesterday. Originally a French proposal, the European Intervention Initiative (EII) will be open to EU and Non-EU member countries to join. Expanding the existing EU military cooperation (“PESCO”) with a new operational component, the EII should facilitate rapid decisions on joint military interventions. A first meeting of military commanders from the hitherto nine participant states is set for September. The EII includes Great Britain, which plans to continue its military cooperation with the continent, even after Brexit, as well as Denmark. Since the coordination of military interventions is now officially set outside of the EU framework, Denmark can sidestep the opt-out from EU military policy, it had once granted its population. Referred to by experts as a European “coalition of the willing,” it goes hand in hand with the EU Commission’s militarization plans worth billions and the high-cost German-French arms projects.
France’s Intervention Initiative
Independent of Alliances
Following final negotiations between President Macron and Chancellor Merkel last week, the European Intervention Initiative (EII) was officially launched on Monday. Formally independent of the EU, it is not dependent on lengthy concertations within the Union. It also facilitates the UK’s post-Brexit inclusion. London, which, since 2010, had already concluded special military agreements with Paris – which had also served as the basis for the joint aggression against Libya, – is part of the Initiative’s inner circle. Denmark is also involved. Because the Initiative is not a formal EU project, its inclusion does not formally contradict the Danish opt-out from EU military policy clause. The EII includes the initiator France, along with Germany, Spain, Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands – as well as Estonia, quasi as a representative of the anti-Russian oriented East European countries. Finland explicitly reserves the right to join later. The EII’s future expansion to include NATO-member Norway, for example, is considered feasible.
The Military as Normative Force
Under German pressure, the EII has been somewhat downgraded and coupled with PESCO. Berlin considers that French-inspired interventions that run counter to German interests can be more easily obstructed within an EU framework. The initiative, at least for the time being, is not aimed at creating its own troop formations, but merely a regular coordination at the military command level. The participating countries will dispatch a liaison officer to the French operation headquarters. Top commanders of their militaries will hold a meeting in Paris in mid September to elaborate their first work plan. A situation analysis and a joint development of intervention plans are among the items on the agenda. The French government is expressly focusing on the creation of a single “strategic culture,” wherein military practice will develop to have a normative effect. In fact, until now, as the DGAP explains, “the perception had predominated that jointly elaborated strategy documents, such as a European white paper, must be the first step for a European approach.” Such an approach would have given the EU’s leading power, Germany, an advantage, however with stronger accent on military practice, particularly in Africa, an experienced France can hope for prevalence. This explains Berlin’s somewhat remaining hesitation.
Russia in the Sights
The creation of the new EII goes hand in hand with the expansion of PESCO and the EU Commission’s new plans to upgrade the infrastructure of the EU countries – particularly their roads, rails and bridges – to meet military standards. 6.5 billion euros over the next decade have been earmarked for this project alone. Berlin and Paris are also energetically promoting billions in arms projects. On the sidelines of last week’s Franco-German Ministerial Council meeting, Defense Minister von der Leyen and her French counterpart, Parly agreed on the next steps toward the development of a modern German-French jet fighter, destined to succeed the Eurofighter in 2040, and the development of a German-French successor to the Leopard – 2 battle tank. Paris will direct the project of the jet fighter production, developed jointly by Airbus and France’s Dassault group (“Rafale”), while Berlin will be in charge of the battle tank, produced by KNDS – the merger of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann with the French company Nexter. The tank is explicitly supposed to be equipped to meet the challenge of the highly modernized Russian T-14 Armata. The jet fighter is said to be conceived to operate in coordination with drones and swarms of drones and must be able to overcome Russia’s most modern S400 air defense systems. A possible adversary of the EU’s future wars is thereby already clearly in the sights of the German-French arms production.
Full article: Coalition of Those Willing to Go to War (German Foreign Policy)