Can Europe Make It?

What would be the point of a strengthened EU army?

Karl Littlejohn
5 March 2014

It is very hard for any parent to see his children go to war in another country, even if he or she is doing it to safeguard his or her country’s security and other interests. I cannot envision a scenario where a parent will want to see their children going to war not for their country, nor their continent, but for an institution. Just to put things into perspective if an EU army has to be strengthened.

Today the EU army has a limited role and it is not a tactical army. However, after the Lisbon treaty many European policy makers made suggestions for a stronger EU army to protect its values. Here again, the question of what type of values we are talking about pops up. The European army today has a presence in areas which are considered sensitive such as Kosovo and Gaza. Having said this, in the past the EU army under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) was also involved in operations in three different continents ranging from Indonesia to Libya, and from FYROM to South Sudan.

Current High Representative for EU Foreign affairs and security policy Catherine Ashton has already faced this issue when an “Operational HQ” was proposed. Countries like France, Germany and Spain believed that the proposal was to be implemented even if the UK used its veto. The proposed “military HQ” was to unite major European militaries and employ around 300 people.

One possible successor for Catherine Ashton is Radek Sikorski. The Polish diplomat claimed that once the USA ceases to be interested in securing the EU’s borders, then everything must be done for Europe to have its own armed military. But in reality, for what purpose would this army have to be strengthened?

In the past, most militaries were strengthened for expansionist aims, such as Nazi Germany. I see no reason for an EU army to go fighting into other territories or expanding the army for the sake of Europe’s borders. It is not about defending Europe or its borders. I mean, for whom are our soldiers going to fight and die? Are they going to do it for the President of the European Council, Mr. Von Rompuy and/or the President of the European Commission Mr. Barroso? Or are they going to do it to save the Euro currency? It just cannot get anymore ridiculous than this.

Instead of building a Europe based on its own core values of prosperity and freedom, we are doing everything to build a Europe made out of heavily bureaucratized institutions and unnecessary armies. As Europeans, we already have a bitter taste of what armies and wars are all about. Let’s not send any Europeans to fight elsewhere and leave their families in grief. One thing that the EU must be given credit for is that it managed to secure peace between European countries for the last 60 years, despite recently losing sight of its aims. Therefore, let’s keep Europe’s aims as they were after the devastation of the Second World War, i.e for peace.

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