By: Ivan Baric
The European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, proposed an interesting idea on Sunday – the idea for the creation of an “EU joint army” that would “react credibly” to any external threat and defend the bloc’s “values.”
In his interview for Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper he stated the following: „An army like this would help us to better coordinate our foreign and defense policies, and to collectively take on Europe’s responsibilities in the world“. He seems to believe that the EU needs to show that they mean serious business as far as the new security challenges that had arrived recently are concerned. “A joint EU army would show the world that there would never again be a war between EU countries,” Juncker said.
He emphasized that this army would not be used immediately, but rather to show to Russia and everyone else that the EU is serious in defending its core values.
Germany not only supported the initiative, but its Minister of Defense stated that the joint army is „the future“. Chairman of the Bundestag’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Norbert Rottgen stated that the „European countries spend enormous sums on the military, many times more in total when compared to Russia. Yet our military capabilities remain unsatisfactory from a security standpoint. And they will for as long as we’re talking about national mini-armies, which are often doing and purchasing the same things in their minor formats.”
However, it is important to note that not everyone has taken this idea with approval – the UK and France are wary of granting a bigger military role to the EU as it could undermine NATO. However, NATO Secretary General Javier Solana thinks that it is needed to create the joint army and to establish an EU military HQ in Brussels.
On the other hand, senior Russian lawmaker Leonid Slutsky said the EU is paranoid about Russia.
“The European version of paranoia: declaring the establishment of a unified army to counterbalance Russia, which does not intend to go to war with anyone,” he tweeted on his Twitter account.
Nevertheless it is quite interesting to see this initiative being formed right now, almost immediately after the Minsk meeting took place. Hopefully, this shows that the EU has got some teeth to show when faced with the aggressive Russian politics.
Photo courtesy of express.co.uk