The European Union needs its own army to deal with one of its biggest predicaments, namely that it is not “taken entirely seriously” as an international force, whereby such as move would in turn help it to persuade Russia that it was serious about defending its core values, Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission told a German newspaper on Sunday (8 March). Apart from helping it face up to Russia and other threats, the EU’s army would boost the block’s overall confidence and also restore its standing around the world.
Mr Juncker also pointed out that NATO helps only partially to address the EU’s security predicament because not all EU Member States are also members of the transatlantic defense alliance and vice versa. Arguing that a common EU army would send important signals to the world, Mr Juncker also told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that “A joint EU army would show the world that there would never again be a war between EU countries [and would also] help us to form common foreign and security policies and allow Europe to take on responsibility in the world.”
Designed as a deterrent, a common EU army would have been a useful tool during the Ukraine crisis simply because “Europe could react more credibly to the threat to peace in a member state or in a neighboring state,” Mr Juncker stressed. For the time being, the 28-nation block already has battle groups that are manned on a rotational basis and designed to be available as a rapid reaction force. However, his proposal drew an immediate negative response from the British government, which stated that there was “no prospect” of the UK giving a green light to the creation of a common EU army. Meanwhile, the German government appears to be much more supportive of Mr Juncker’s idea, with Norbert Röttgen, head of the German parliament’s foreign policy committee, declaring that an EU army was “a European vision whose time has come”.