The EU’s army plans have been cranked up as Brussels’ concerns over the Afghanistan fiasco have grown.
After a leading eurocrat admitted that the EU had “learned the hard way” from the Afghanistan crisis, the group is working on plans to strengthen its collective military capabilities.
Thierry Breton, the EU’s single market commissioner in charge of defence sector matters, stated that a common defense is “no longer optional” and that Brussels must be able to launch military missions with “complete autonomy.” The US-led withdrawal from Afghanistan has reignited concerns in Europe about how reliant the bloc is on Washington to maintain member nations’ domestic and international security. After the United States withdrew its soldiers from Kabul’s international airport, EU states were helpless to continue their evacuation attempts.
This has generated discussions inside EU institutions about what the organization might do to ensure that its 27 countries can operate as a military power on their own.
Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy leader, has even proposed the development of an EU rapid response force as a first step toward the creation of a true Brussels-led army.
This week, EU defense ministers will meet in Slovenia to debate the so-called “strategic compass” document, which will lay out the bloc’s military challenges and goals for the future years.
The goal is to complete a draft dossier by November and release the final version at the start of next year.
14 EU countries, including Germany and France, reintroduced the concept of 5,000-person brigades earlier this year.
“The EU must be able to act to preserve our interests when the Americans refuse to participate,” Mr Borrell told an Italian daily.
“If there is no unanimity, a group of countries will decide to push ahead on their own sooner or later because they will not accept being stopped.”
Actual changes to EU foreign policy require the assent of all 27 member states, making the formation of a genuine military unfeasible.
Some eastern countries feel the union will be unable to form a defense coalition that will not jeopardize the Nato alliance led by the United States.
President of the European Council, Charles Michel, stated last week that expanding the EU’s military capabilities is “of the utmost importance for Europe’s future.”
In addition, the EU’s top official stated Wednesday that EU states must take steps to be better prepared for military evacuations if events similar to Afghanistan arise in the future.
“We don’t need another, in my opinion.”Brinkwire Summary News”.