No lessor official than European Commission President (and liar-when-it’s-serious) Jean-Claude Juncker has called for the creation of an EU army… in order to show Russia “that [The EU is] serious about defending European values.” Juncker explained an EU army would “help us fulfil Europe’s responsibilities in the world,” arguing that NATO was not enough since not all EU members are part of the alliance. As one stunned euro-skeptic exclaimed, “we have all seen the utter mess the EU has made of the economy, so how can we even think of trusting them with its defence.”
The EU is divided on how to deal with an increasingly forthright Russia, but as The FT reports,
The president of the European Commission has called for the creation of an EU army in order to show Russia “that we are serious about defending European values”.
In an interview with German newspaper Die Welt, Jean-Claude Juncker, who leads the EU’s executive arm, said an EU army would let the continent “react credibly to threats to peace in a member state or a neighbour of the EU”.
Mr Juncker said an EU army would “help us to develop a common foreign and security policy, and to fulfil Europe’s responsibilities in the world”. Nato was not a sufficient protection for the EU as not all EU members are part of the alliance, according to Mr Juncker.
Some member states, including the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, are calling for the bloc to take a much stricter line on its eastern neighbour. Large member states are also split over the idea of an EU army, with the proposals being cautiously welcomed by many senior German politicians but repeatedly dismissed outright by a succession of British governments.
The Brits are out…
British prime minister David Cameron – who argued against Juncker’s appointment, claiming that Mr Juncker was too much of a federalist for the position – has repeatedly reassured eurosceptic MPs in his own party that Britain would “never support” any form of EU army.
Responding to Mr Juncker’s comments on Sunday, a government spokeswoman said: “Our position is crystal clear that defence is a national, not an EU responsibility and that there is no prospect of that position changing and no prospect of a European army.”
The Germans are in…
“I support Juncker in building an EU army, if it means the termination of all EU member states’ armies and is controlled by the European Parliament,” tweeted Jan Philipp Albrecht, a German Green MEP.
Furthermore, German Defense Minister von der Leyen went so far as to note, “I think what is most important, it shows up in Europe, 70 years after the Second World War – and 70 years ago we were mortal enemies – that today the peace in Europe, in the European Union stands on firm footing, and we Step by step, more and more firmly establish our alliances, especially in the security policy. This interweaving of armies with a view to provide also have a European army one day, in my opinion, is the future.”
Well of course the Germans would prefer this as it is a move towards federalization. But we leave it to a euroskeptic to conclude…
Mike Hookem, a defence spokesman for the anti-EU UK Independence Party, said: “A European army would be a tragedy for the UK. We have all seen the utter mess the EU has made of the eurozone economy, so how can we even think of trusting them with this island’s defence.”
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Finally, one quick question – what happens to the ‘unified EU army’ if Greece gets kicked out (or decides to leave) the EU? Do the Greek ‘conscripts’ get to leave the looming battlefield with Russia?