Europe’s Push Toward a Unified Military

The official flag of Eurocorps military contingent (FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

 

As global threats increase, many nations support the idea of an independent and united European military. Here is why we expect it to happen, and where we expect it to lead.

The 100 years between 1815 and when World War i started in 1914 were one of Europe’s greatest periods of peace ever. But that isn’t to say it was peaceful.

Consider what happened during those years: France invaded Spain; Russia fought Turkey; various German states fought with Denmark, Austria and France; Britain and Turkey fought Russia; and Greece fought Turkey. Those are just the “highlights”—and they don’t include the numerous internal conflicts, uprisings, declarations of independence and other political unrest that occurred. Even Switzerland had a civil war.

That is what “peace” in Europe looked like before the latter half of the 20th century.

The states of Europe spent 75 percent of the 17th century at war with each other, 50 percent of the 18th century, and 25 percent of the 19th. The periods of war became shorter—but more than made up for it with devastatingly more effective weapons.

This is why many are skeptical of the creation of a “European army.” How can a continent with such a long history of war and division form a united military force? Continue reading

EU ministers agree to create joint military command center in NATO footsteps

FILE PHOTO. Soldiers of a Eurocorps. © AFP

The European Union is to create a special military command center for operating foreign missions, the German defense minister announced amid criticism from some bloc members that the initiative is financially unreasonable and merely copies NATO’s steps.

EU foreign ministers “founded, or put in motion, today a European command center for foreign missions,” German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said at a meeting in Brussels on Monday, according to AP.

Meanwhile, Britain has long criticized the bloc’s aspirations to launch its own army, saying the EU should not waste money on creating structures that match those set up by NATO. British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon, who was also present at the meeting, called on other EU ministers “to cooperate more closely with NATO to avoid unnecessary duplication and structures.”

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New German Paper Signals Dramatic Military Shift

Germany officially casts off postwar military restraint and promises to help ‘in shaping the global order.’

Germany has gone through a radical transformation in how it views its military. In May 2010, German President Horst Köhler said that “a country of our size needs to be aware that … military deployment, too, is necessary if we are to protect our interests such as ensuring free-trade routes or preventing regional instabilities.” At that time, the idea that Germany would use its army to protect economic interests was so controversial that he was forced to resign.

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