European Military Union as a response to Trump and Putin

Author : Georgiy Kuhaleyshvili

Source : 112 Ukraine

If the military alliance within the EU becomes a reality, then NATO will its the role of guarantor of European security
23:16, 29 November 2016

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The European Parliament adopted a resolution on the implementation of the Common Security and Defense Policy. Resolution was supported by 369 deputies, 255 were against, and 70 abstained. The main emphasis in the document is made to review the Common Security and Defense Policy towards the creation within the EU political and military structures to implement collective defense. It is proposed to increase defense spending of EU member states by 2%, a special fund to finance the defense of initiatives to upgrade the park military vehicles and combat helicopters continue to create a European multinational army. The military unit will target the EU response to crisis situations that threaten European security if NATO remains inactive. The resolution mainly focuses on deterring and timely response to hybrid threats of terrorism emanating from the south and east. A separate point is preventive policy to prevent radicalism and extremism both within the EU and beyond.

Challenging times for European security

Earlier, European officials treated the military and political integration within the EU without enthusiasm. The active opponents of EU military bloc are United Kingdom and Central and Eastern Europe that rely on ensuring security through close cooperation with the US and NATO. NATO provides collective defense of America and Europe against external threats. There was a stereotype that any defense initiative within the EU would duplicate NATO functions; that it would become unnecessary hole in the European budget.

Related: Stoltenberg: NATO’s enlargement is not ‘provocation’ as Moscow puts it

Create your own military bloc in the EU is a need of the time. US President Donald Trump believes that US funding of NATO is too expensive. He therefore advocates a redistribution of shares of member countries to cut US contributions to the strengthening of European security. Budget NATO is filled irregularly. In 2015, the share of US investment in Alliance budget (950 billion dollars) was more than half (650 billion USD) in comparison with the contributions of other Member States. Service of 150 nuclear warheads on air bases EU member states spend about US $ 100 million a year. It is possible that the US can minimize funding initiatives to strengthen the NATO military presence in the Baltic States, Poland, and Romania.

US Air Force A-10 attack planes
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US Air Force A-10 attack planes in Estonia

Behavior of Russia is unpredictable. Russian President Vladimir Putin highlighted the need to put in jeopardy the Russian missile sites that allegedly threaten Russia. The owner of Kremlin has promised to create new percussion systems, bases and missile defense system. Russia has deployed Task complexes "Iskander" in the Kaliningrad region. Moscow holds the militarization of Crimea. EU needs its own military counterweight to Russian military power in Eurasia. The nuclear potentials of Russia and the EU are unequal. Apart from the UK, the only European Member State that has nuclear weapons is France. The nuclear arsenal of Paris is 290 charges, while in possession of Moscow there are 1,796 nuclear warheads. Russia's defense spending (3.5% of GDP) and the US (3.61% of GDP) twice exceed the aggregate contributions of EU member states to their own military budget (1.63% of GDP).

Related: NATO Parliamentary Assembly recognized Russia as aggressor, - Head of Ukrainian delegation

An additional threat to European security is Islamic extremism and terrorism, which caused increasing flow of refugees and illegal migrants to the EU politically destabilized the Middle East and Africa. Private military alliance is necessary for the EU to conduct operations to enforce peace on the territory of third countries, where armed conflicts are raging and rampant anarchy, but where Europe has economic and political interests (including Syria and Libya).

The new is well forgotten old

The idea of political and military cooperation without US involvement has been discussed in Europe since the Second World War. In 1948, Belgium, UK, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and France signed the Brussels Pact of the Western European Union (existed until 2011), aimed at deterring and countering Soviet expansion. In 1950, French Prime Minister René Pleven proposed to establish a European Defense Community in a European army with the participation of Western Germany under supranational command. The idea of military-political integration and a common European response to the challenges of modernity was reflected in Helsinki and Petersberg tasks, which formed the basis for the Common Security and Defense Policy of the EU.

Related: It's not the time for US to question importance of NATO, - Stoltenberg

The legal basis for the establishment of the EU's own military bloc in the European legislation has been laying since 90 years. Under the Treaty of Amsterdam (1997), after the relevant decision of the European Council development within the EU common defense policy is possible. Member States may cooperate not only in the field of military planning, crisis response, peacekeeping operations, but also in joint production of armaments.

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Lisbon Treaty (2007) specifies the right of EU concerning Common Security and Defense Policy. The document stresses the possibility of forming a joint EU defense against external threats. According to the agreement, the EU may use civilian and military resources for missions outside Europe to peace, conflict prevention and strengthening international security. Member States should form multinational units of its armed forces and enhance its defensive capability. The cornerstone of the Lisbon Treaty in the area of defense is borrowing the principle of collective security of NATO, referring to Art. 51 of the Charter. If one of the members of the EU becomes a victim of military aggression on its territory, the other Member States will assist him in every possible way.

EU military capabilities

At present, the EU operates a number of multinational troops. Since 1993, the EU there is a rapid response unit "Eurocorps," based on the Franco-German Brigade (5 thousand people). If necessary, personnel "Eurocorps" can be increased to 60 thousand by military forces of the participating countries (France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain). This unit is designed to participate in the short- and medium-term military conflicts and peacekeeping operations. Soldiers "Eurocorps" participated in peacekeeping missions in the Balkans and Afghanistan. Since 2005, the EU operates militant group numbering 1,5-2,5 thousand people. This unit can survive without support for 30 days during the military operations. There are also integrated naval force EU rapid reaction involving Navy France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. They are designed to patrol the Mediterranean and the fight against Somali pirates in the Red Sea. Multinational troops have EU experience in 10 peacekeeping operations and missions.

Related: London to encourage NATO to increase defense spending because of Trump's rhetoric

Within the EU there are also bodies responsible for military and strategic planning, project development of military-technical cooperation, taking into account the security situation and the needs of member countries in strengthening defense (European Defence Agency, the Committee for Policy and Security, EU Military Committee , the EU Military Staff).

EU is developing integration in the military-industrial complex (MIC) and the development of weapons. Since 1995, there is an organization OCCAR, whose aim is to provide efficient solutions in the management of current and future development programs of weapons. In 1998, the EU member states that make up the backbone of the European military-industrial complex (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and UK) signed the Protocol "On measures to promote the restructuring of the European defense industry".

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Twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole Eurofighter Typhoon

According to the European Parliament in the EU there are about 40 large MIC companies. In 2011, they produced weapons worth 75 billion euros. About 80% of the EU defense industry facilities are located in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the UK, and Poland. Tanks and other armored German, French and Polish production almost equal to Russian counterparts. Shipbuilding production in France, Italy, and Spain does not yield warships and aircraft carrier cruisers of Russian production.

Related: NATO announced special equipment purchase funded by Trust Fund Ukraine

During the 1995-2012 biennium, Member States have jointly developed various types of conventional weapons, including multipurpose fighter 4th generation Gripen (Sweden), Eurofighter (EU), Rafale (France), multipurpose helicopter NH-90 (France / Germany) transport aircraft A-400 M (EU), multipurpose wheeled armored vehicles Puma (Germany), Boxer (Germany / Netherlands), multipurpose frigates FREMM (France / Italy), F-125 (Germany), diesel boat type U-212 (Germany) , satellite navigation system Galileo. Defensive EU program for 2013-2030 years envisage the development of new generations of weapons, including drones, light trucks, helicopters, armored infantry VBCM (France) nuclear submarines Barracuda (France), frigates MKS-180 Corvette (Germany) systems missile defense (NMD) system at the national MUSIS satellite platforms.

Spoon of tar

Most European units (not counting the French Foreign Legion) inferior in terms of training and experience fighting American and British colleagues. American and British troops have experience in military conflicts around the world. British SAS (Special Aviation Service) is the best in the world, whose tactics was borrowed by US special forces. Participation in European units of armed conflicts took place in cooperation with American and British troops. It is difficult to judge how effective the EU are multinational divisions in a collision with a hypothetical enemy without the support of the US and UK. The military operation in Afghanistan the role of first violin was played by the United States, leader of military operations in Libya was UK. The exception is the military operation in Mali, where the main role played in combating Tuareg armed forces of France.

Related: Stoltenberg: NATO stands with Ukraine

Despite the advanced defense industry, European gunsmiths depend on cooperation with foreign partners. US present on the European market guided bombs, anti-tank and anti-ship missiles, rockets "air-air". US to supply engines for EU warships involved in the joint development of stealth fighter / bombers 5th generation JSF F-35. In 2013, some Member States have bought the US arms worth more than 1.8 billion USD. And in the 2007-09 biennium - 10.6 billion dollars. The share of American arms to the European market is 18%.

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Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier

Ex UK EU is fly in the ointment for the future of the military unit. The British developed nuclear submarines type Astute, until 2030, they had to strengthen the naval forces of the EU class aircraft carriers Elisabeth, multipurpose warships Type 26 Destroyer, ground forces - infantry fighting vehicle FRES. British company BAE Systems has 40% of turnover manufacture weapons for the Army in Europe.

Related: Ukraine is security factor in Europe, - Turchynov

Attitude of European society to take part in military conflicts abroad negatively affects the prospects of military execution unit EU. Death of European soldiers in military conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq in the 2000's demonstrated insensitivity of Europeans even the minimum military casualties. Death of European soldiers has become a pretext for anti-government demonstrations in EU countries. Governments were forced to return to Europe armed contingents under pressure from society.

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The EU intends to create its own military unit, regardless of the change of government in some European countries. Even if Euro-optimists change skeptics, the course of the development of military-political integration of the EU will remain a priority. The European Parliament adopted resolution, it means that the EU has won the view of France and Germany on the future of European security. These states traditionally support the creation of a military-political bloc within the EU in order to reduce dependence on US military aid and to position themselves as an independent power center. This week, the issue will be discussed at the level of Defense Ministers of European countries. In mid-December, a draft military block EU plans to approve at the level of EU member states. If the military bloc the EU will become a reality, then NATO would lose the role of guarantor of European security. Military European Union will enter into ad hoc alliances with the United States or Russia, depending on interest. Washington will lose effective lever for influencing policy in Brussels.

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