CMV: The EU needs its own, independent armed forces

Sun Jul 01 2018 12:30:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)


Cecile Fabre

Oxford University

Senior Research Fellow, All Souls College, Oxford

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The EU should turn its existing (though never deployed) armed battlegroups into fully operational and deployable armed forces:

• this would help promote regional stability and help promote humanitarian military action without having to do so either within NATO structures or within the constraints of UN peacekeeping operations
• the EU should be able to deploy its armed forces without authorization by the UN Security Council
• decisions to deploy those armed forces should be subject to a supra-majority vote in Council.
• Command over these forces should be exercised by a EU-joint command
• Soldiers who enlist into the EU armed forces should be able to do so on a voluntary basis; while serving, they should not be subject to their member state’s military chain of command.
• this would also deepen political integration
• The EU should develop its own code of military justice, compatible with humanitarian international law and the laws of war.
• Soldiers who commit war crimes while serving in the EU armed forces should be subject to the jurisdiction of the ICC or of an especially designed EU criminal court.

Background Information

  • ​After the failure to establish a European Defense Community in the 1950s, discussions around a joint European army initially faded. However, a number of policy measures were over the years, which improved security and military cooperation within the EU  

    • In 1993 the Maastricht Treaty introduced the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CSDP), aimed at allowing European governments to take joint action in foreign policy

    • In 2004 the European Defence Agency was founded to help EU governments develop their military capabilities

  • The most recent and influential step towards creating an independent EU armed force was taken in 2017 with the creation of a defense cooperation pact known as the “Permanent Structured Cooperation” (PESCO) . The agreement was signed by 23 member states and is supposed to …

    • …present an “ambitious, binding and inclusive European legal framework for investments in the security and defence of the EU's territory and its citizens”

Read more

EU Security and Defense Strategies - Timeline

PESCO Factsheet

Debate Summary

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