Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the EU Commission, in an article in Germany’s Welt am Sonntag newspaper, recently confirmed what we all knew anyway: that the EU wants its own army. And the logical consequence of that is that the EU wants to become a state to which we feel loyalty. Naturally, execution of this idea would prove a disaster worse than the Euro.Juncker was right about one thing though: “Europe’s image has suffered dramatically and also in terms of foreign policy, we don’t seem to be taken entirely seriously.” Truer words are rarely spoken. The persistent belief that ‘soft-power’ can achieve things has been exposed by the pointless sanctions against Russia, which have led to Putin’s record approval ratings, difficulties for EU economies, and growing splits in Europe’s united front.
The Commission President went on to use the argument – as was foretold here five years ago – that an EU army would be more efficient and encourage integration. The EU dream would involve ‘European Champion’ defence players producing world-beating military technology within the EU for the EU’s armed forces, which would not be able to operate without the use of supply chains that stretched the continent, thus tying all different regions into one successful unit.
A forerunner to this is NATO, but NATO is in decline. Amid the hurrah of the Wales Summit in 2014, The European Journal pointed out how the actual agreement only served to weaken the alliance and push it into factional hands. Point 14 of that agreement urged NATO and the EU to cooperate and for the EU to integrate its efforts more. The European Defence Agency is already interfering in weapons purchases, attempting to harmonise EU assets and increase interoperability.
As widely reported, NATO spending is simply not enough. Meanwhile, the EU is already replicating NATO structures. When the US finally gets fed up of carrying and funding NATO, it will find all NATO’s structures have been replicated and rebranded with the EU badge. Out of NATO’s ashes, Europe is ready to rise. In 2010 The European Journal argued here that the EU would seek to evict the US from Europe. Not spending enough appears to be the way chosen.
The lack of desire in Europe to fund NATO, combined with the incredible example of how weak soft power is and how effective actual assets on the ground are (Russia’s abilities in Ukraine contrast unfavourably with Europe’s inabilities), shows those in Brussels seeking to centralise power the way to go.
Plans doomed to failure
The EU’s plans cannot work. For men and women to be willing to fight and die for their country, they have to have loyalty and attachment to it. Europe inspires none of these feelings. Large salaries paid to soldiers might help them march better, but when it comes to life-and-death matters, no one would willingly risk their life for Brussels.
Loyalty to one’s country comes from a common language; from the knowledge that your family, your blood, your ancestors and your heritage are in the very soils of the land you are defending; from your people’s common history – united and distinguished – from the history of others.
Incidentally, these are all reasons why mass immigration is dangerous to society, but here they show how an EU army can’t work. There is no common language by which orders can be given effectively, and there is no common history. Indeed, in 1900, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, to name just some, were all states that did not even ‘exist’ on the European map!
It is equally foolish to believe that an EU army could unite Europe politically. The Scottish independence referendum is evidence to that; common armed forces did little to stop 45% of the people from genuinely thinking it might be a good idea to vote for the SNP and deprive Scotland of defence as well as an economy.
The Common Foreign and Security Policy is supposed to push the political side of European defence, but it too is blatantly absurd. Despite the Treaty of Lisbon tying states closer together, Russia has found it incredibly easy to pick holes, enticing Greece, the Czech Republic and Hungary, among others, to break ranks. As Donald Tusk, President of the European Council has noted, getting any sort of agreement between the 28 states is nigh on impossible. To whom would Hungarian soldiers in a common EU army listen if deployed in Ukraine? To their government? Or to Brussels?
Europe has enough difficulty even holding the Euro together to be taken seriously as a military power. Brussels’ ambition for a state army is clear evidence of the Commission’s detachment from reality. Who else could be dreaming of a united European superstate when Greece is first in a line of states that might either have to, or choose to, leave the Euro or the Union?