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Common European Army Essay

The UK and France have been willing to follow the USA’s example of military force and shown support for the idea of an EU army. Other nations have clearly rejected this approach on the basis of pacifist arguments and because they are reluctant to commit to the high level of military spending this would imply. While the EU does like to see itself as the diplomat of the world and flaunt its achievements with the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), it still ponders the possibility of a middle-of-the-road strategy of militarization and securitization.

There is no necessity as regards the creation of European Union Army because member states already cooperate sufficiently with each other. Creating an EU army would prove to be unnecessary because most European states are already members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. For several decades NATO has been defending the military interests of Europe. It is hard to see a problem that NATO cannot solve, which the European Defence Force could instead.

NATO exists to deal with situations of such magnitude that the nations of Western Europe are likely to adopt a common defence policy. In contrast, the EDF is targeted at smaller geopolitical incidents which would otherwise be ‘beneath’ the notice of NATO. Unfortunately smaller incidents by their nature do not have uniform effects on all EU member-nations, and are therefore unlikely to generate a consensus of policy among EU nations. The EU has as much power as it has, regardless of whether they have a single military or each nation cooperates accordingly with its own forces.

A single military may give the appearance of more power, but nothing more unless great policy changes went along with its creation. It can be concluded, therefore, that there is no urgent necessity for creating a common European army at this moment and for now NATO is sufficient for the EU defence policy. Creating a common European Army would not be in accordance with the EU policy and would undermine the sovereignty of member states. Even if we assume that the massive costs of a standing military force can be borne by the EU and ts members, the key barriers to establishing a standing defence force are often political.

Creating a European Defence Force de novo would require to decide on several questions, namely the command structure, whether the role should be merely defensive or include peacekeeping, the choice of equipment and supplier, creating a common defence policy, and choosing a language of communication. All of these questions involve political considerations or economic vested interests, all of which are likely to result in ongoing wrangling that will yield an ineffective EDF.

The Treaty of Lisbon foresees that Member States can make available civilian and military resources to the Union for the implementation of its Common Security and Defence operations. However, any Member State has the right to oppose such operations and all contributions to them will be always on a voluntary basis. There is little or no will amongst EU governments to increase defence spending to the sort of levels required to make an EU based defence and security credible. Indeed, only the Dutch government has designated a specific part of their defence budget for the ESDP.

A group of Member States who are willing and have the necessary capability will be able to undertake disarmament operations, humanitarian and rescue tasks, military advice and peace-keeping tasks. No Member State can be forced to participate in such operations. In conclusion it is reasonable to say that, although the creation of a common European army might bring more unity it will be an unfair act, since the interest of member-nations in the area of defense policy are very divergent. Therefore, in order to preserve sovereignty and financial stability military capabilities in the EU should remain in national hands.

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