An all-Europe army?

A report produced by a group of 11 E.U. foreign ministers this week on the future of Europe focused, understandably, on how greater integration – or "more Europe" – could help resolve the ongoing debt crises, through greater oversight of member states’ budgets, centralized bank supervision, etc. But further down, the 8-page document also lays ...

Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images
Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images
Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images

A report produced by a group of 11 E.U. foreign ministers this week on the future of Europe focused, understandably, on how greater integration - or "more Europe" - could help resolve the ongoing debt crises, through greater oversight of member states' budgets, centralized bank supervision, etc.

But further down, the 8-page document also lays out a plan for how more federalism could boost the region's overall global clout -- and includes the possibility of a Pan-European Army.

"To make the EU into a real actor on the global scene we believe that we should in the long term... aim for a European Defence Policy with joint efforts regarding the defence industry (e.g. the creation of a single market for armament projects); for some members of the Group this could eventually involve a European army."

A report produced by a group of 11 E.U. foreign ministers this week on the future of Europe focused, understandably, on how greater integration – or "more Europe" – could help resolve the ongoing debt crises, through greater oversight of member states’ budgets, centralized bank supervision, etc.

But further down, the 8-page document also lays out a plan for how more federalism could boost the region’s overall global clout — and includes the possibility of a Pan-European Army.

"To make the EU into a real actor on the global scene we believe that we should in the long term… aim for a European Defence Policy with joint efforts regarding the defence industry (e.g. the creation of a single market for armament projects); for some members of the Group this could eventually involve a European army."

The report makes clear that an all-Europe fighting force is only supported by some of the countries who helped produce the document; however, it also argues for a policy of more majority voting on security and foreign policy questions, meaning single states would no longer be able to veto defense policies they aren’t in favor of. Alongside the European Army proposal, the report calls for an overall strengthening of the European External Action Service, the E.U.’s foreign policy arm.

The document has the backing of foreign ministers from Germany and France, as well as Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and other major European actors, but not Britain, where news of the report has met with some alarm.  The UK has opposed greater European military integration in the past, and the Daily Telegraph speculates that the new report could fuel current calls for a referendum on the E.U.

Alicia P.Q. Wittmeyer is the Europe editor at Foreign Policy. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and Forbes, among other places. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and master’s degrees from Peking University and the London School of Economics. The P.Q. stands for Ping-Quon. Twitter: @APQW

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