Crisis in the European Union: Brussels Sees Its Salvation in the Militarisation of the EU

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Crisis in the European Union: Brussels Sees Its Salvation in the Militarisation of the EU

Written by Natalia Eremina; Originally appeared at Eurasia.Expert, translated by AlexD exclusively for SouthFront

Spring and summer of 2017 was hot in terms of disputes about the fate of the European Union. At the beginning of September the future of the EU became even more unclear. The Franco-German alliance is rocked because of the loss of popularity of E. Macron and A. Merkel. Disputes on the restructuring of the EU continue. Brussels identified five problems from decisions on which depends the future of the EU: “the migration question”, “the Polish question”, “the British question”, “the economic prospects”, and “the European leadership”. However time works against Brussels: trust in its proposals is constantly diminishing in citizens of member states. Eastern European members of the EU fear that Paris and Berlin will solve the core problems of the EU in their own favour. In this situation, a universal remedy remains the pedaling of a security issue for the cohesion of the Union. Berlin and Paris, judging by the decisions in the last few months, are aiming precisely for this. The European defence fund is already established, funding for which will amount to 5.5 billion Euros per year starting in 2020. The money will go mainly for orders for the military-industrial complex. Does this mean the EU is turning towards militarisation?

The problem of leadership has become most acute in the EU, because its decision ultimately depends on the course of reforms and generally the strategy of development. Germany’s Angela Merkel offers to unite under the leadership of Germany and strictly carry out the budget. Countries such as Poland and Hungary are wary of any suggestions from Germany, and Poland generally, in fact, adopted the British idea of “exclusivity” in the EU. Britain in the Brexit context seeks to reach a new agreement with the Eu on its own terms, and in relations to the economic strategy (the Greek crisis cannot be considered as solved) and the checks of the flow of migration in general, there is no consensus.

In these conditions Brussels found one approach to solve the complex problem through the security doctrine, around which the EU has a consensus. In August there were many statements on this matter. What does this approach mean in practice? We can highlight a number of central components:

  • Rigid adherence to rules and regulations of the EU, compliance with all EU criteria, which would create conditions for solving security issues and put in front of all the participants the common tasks.
  • The rejection of expansion at the expense of countries that under different aspects cannot be called European (for example, Turkey, which was directly given to understand about the complete closure of the question of possible accession to the EU), which will allow to strengthen the unity of the closest countries and to prevent the erosion of the current “European values”.

Thus, arguing that in the short term the EU will not expand, Brussels admits that the idea of EU accession in as an EU instrument to influence its neighbours, which consequently is possible to persuade for something.

  • To prevent the strengthening of ideas of state sovereignty (this position is expressed in relation to Poland and Hungary, which Brussels accuses of undermining the legitimacy of the EU as a whole. Brussels now treats these countries as if they create “systemic risks” to the security in the management of the EU).
  • The strengthening of the legitimacy of the EU and the unity of citizens, which requires the improvement of the parliamentary dimension and are expected to increase the cohesion within the EU, essential to address the security challenges.
  • The strengthening of the Eurozone taking into account the coordination of the national and supranational levels that solve the issues of financial and economic security of the EU.
  • The intensification of the EU foreign policy and general safety and security (and in the long term the discussion may even go about their own EU army).

In reality the work in this regard started already in 2016. Thus, in the spring of 2016, the announcement was made about the programme of structural reforms until 2020, whose realisation requires 142.8 million Euros. The goal of the programme is the institutional, administrative and structural reforms of member states. The programme is funded jointly by the EU budget and national states and aims at strengthening the interaction between different levels of government.

The Bratislava Declaration already in 2016 identified the need for common approaches and set a number of tasks related to the formation of the image of the EU as a security space that needs to be implemented by 2025 (among them, the strengthening of the single market and the emphasis on investments in the digital, transport and energy infrastructure).

However, the level of anxiety of European experts for the future grew during the spring and summer of 2017. They felt that by 2060 the population of the EU would only represent 5% of the population. With that the average age of the citizens by 2020 will be 45 years. Moreover, the economic forecasts point to the reduction of up to 20% in the share of EU of the world GDP. Based on these forecasts goals were set for the EU development up to 2025:

1) maintain maximum unity within the EU;

2) centralised management through a single market, especially for the security field;

3) encourage cooperation between EU member countries in specific areas, particularly in the area of security and defence;

4) concentration on certain directions, priority being defence, security, innovation;

5) joint work of all members of the EU in the international arena (among the areas of priority again is security).

Thus, the plan consists of strengthening the EU core through the strengthening of the Eurozone, the single currency and cooperation, which are considered through the prism of security.

These ideas are supported mainly by France and Germany, and the Visegard group consistently oppose them, whose members through the summer, have developed a variety of reasons with their statements and conflicts with Brussels.

Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron in fact are talking about the beginning of the reform of the EU after the fall 2017 elections in Germany. These are the two most important politicians within the EU who feel more confident after the victories over the Eurosceptic parties in France and the Netherlands. In addition, they still rely on the support of the EU citizens. According to the August opinion polls, citizens in general trust the EU (more than 2/3 call themselves European citizens, 56% are optimistic about the EU).

Nevertheless, the situation remains precarious for many reasons. First, Greece has not cleared all the dangers, because the markets of southern Europe in general are unstable. The economic situation in southern Eurozone is not improving. Second, the problem of migration streams into Europe through the Middle East and Africa is still unresolved. And in the context of the current confrontations with Turkey it is generally quite difficult to solve. Third, it is difficult to speak about leadership in the EU if many leaders of their member states are unpopular, although often uncontested. Thus, only security issues remain as the only instrument to really binds the EU.

In this context, the EU needs to “appoint an enemy” as a more serious enemy, otherwise it will not be able to keep the rhetoric of security on a daily basis. Unfortunately, instead of DAESH Brussels, following the US, strives to designate Russia for this role. This is convenient in many aspects, and the main one, which is that Russia in fact, is just not representing a real military threat to the EU. The infamous invasions of the Baltic States or Eastern Europe are not rational explanations.

This choice is unfortunate in the context of disputes about the anti-sanctions between the EU and the US and the growing terrorist threat, the resolution of which really requires the cooperation of the EU with Russia, which they refuse. However, Brussels’s published plans are further evidence that the EU tries to consolidate at the expense of pedaling a security issue.

Natalia Eremina, D. Polit. N., Associate Professor of European Studies, St. Petersburg State University.

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  • MeMadMax

    There’s no saving the EU…
    It will collapse purely by design…

    This EU “military” isn’t really for the EU… It’s for bullying/threatening minor EU countries into NOT leaving or punishing them if they do leave, or in other words: germany will “legally” threaten/”invade” the other countries…

    • Florian N

      Germany isn’t allowed to do so said in its constitution.(Invade) I think the EU isn’t going to collapse. May some states leave the “inner circle” so they only go in economic cooperation but the EU won’t collapse from it. It is like Brexit… a lot of media about it but the world hasn’t ended like all prophesized.
      Also, Germany cannot thread a minor EU nation if it wants to leave. There will be economic trouble for that country but that’s not because of anyone it’s because of its a minor nation so it has a minor economy.
      If we look at history we can see that enough time has passed for new reforms in the EU, let’s see what happens after the German election. Merkel is going to stay in power so probably Marcon and Merkel can work together. But as all bigger decisions, in the EU every state has to say yes to new plans if they are for all of them. If only middle Europe wants to cooperate more than we probably have three stages in the EU.
      1. Middle EU with one economic sector and ministry, maybe also the army.
      2. The whole EU with cooperating army and economic cooperation
      3. States like Norway with only economic cooperation.

      • MeMadMax

        We all know its bullcrap: germany is in charge of the EU… And would be, by association, in charge of that army…

        We also know all about the economic collapse within the EU and the fallings of its structure. It’s doomed.

        • Florian N

          Germany is the most powerful player in the EU, but it is just a part of it.
          And still there is no economic collapse, I don’t know why everyone here is in this doomsday feeling.

        • matt

          Florian is right

      • Brother Ma

        Sorry Florian.Germany can and will invade.constitutions can be changed just as it was to allow germany to rearm and send troops on so- called peace missions overseas.

        • Florian N

          These missions are part of NATO, and in Germany, we need 2/3 majority in parliament and in-country parliament just to change the constitution so. Also our military just sucks.

      • Strange Quark

        “Germany isn’t allowed to do so said in its constitution.(Invade)”

        Why then Germany participated in NATO aggression on Serbia (Yugoslavia) in 1999 if that was forbidden by German constitution? That German aggression on Serbia was only 5 (that is FIVE) years after last Russian troops left German soil (former GDR).

        That aggression was not only forbidden by German laws but also international laws too and the UN Charter, since Serbia did not threaten any NATO country and there was no approval of the UN Security Council (the only body in the world which according to the international law can approve use of military force against a UN member) for the use of military force against Serbia.

        I also want to remind you that present day German Chancellor Angela Merkel also publicly supported US aggression on Iraq in 2003! However the only reason why that support was not the German official support was the fact that Merkel and her CDU were in opposition back then, while German Chancellor G. Schroeder (SPD) opposed US aggression on Iraq.

        Merkel also again undermined international laws and UN Charter in 2008 when she recognized illegal secession of NATO occupied Kosovo from Serbia despite OBLIGATORY resolution of UN SC no. 1244 which affirms Serbia’s territorial integrity in Kosovo. She was Chancellor back then so this was German official position.

        We all know what German and international laws forbid or allow but as we saw many times since German unification in 1990. German politicians cannot be trusted…

        • Florian N

          To your first paragraph:
          As I remember the first task already started 1991 so one year after the reunion. But these tasks were really hard discussed in the parliament. 1994 the national court said that task’s within NATO or UN are legitime.
          Also in Germany, the Parliament has to approve a military aid. So Merkel could not only say let’s attack them.
          To your second paragraph:
          Yes, that war is a constitutionally and international law controversial war but Germany did it as a part of NATO support.
          3. paragraph:
          Sure, I know this position as well and I am glad that she wasn’t counselor at that time. But the CDU always had a more “West-friendly” position than the SPD.
          4. paragraph:
          There you’re wrong the resolution 1244 did not especially say that Kosovo is a part of Serbia or not. That’s because the UN is not allowed to say stuff like that about the integrity of a state. So the UN said the status of Kosovo is unclear. The resolution was one for both sides to discuss. (That’s what not happened)
          That Kosovo declared itself independent and the NATO units within it didn’t do anything about it is something else. Internationally Germany supports this independence.

          But to come back to the topic with is WAR. All these tasks were just NATO or UN and had its legitimacy(even if discussed). But what you were talking about is, if a Nation leaves EU then Germany will declare war. Which is not allowed by Germany and will never happen because of that. These missions weren’t an act of aggression. WAR is an act of aggression. You have to divide this.

          But probably as always, we will have a weird discussion because some people still think the West is all bad and Russia is all good because the world is black and white instead of seeing that every side has its pro and con. But no diversity is not possible on the internet anymore.

          • Strange Quark

            “Yes, that war is a constitutionally and international law controversial war but Germany did it as a part of NATO support. ”

            So if NATO does today what Hitler did 75 years ago (violating international laws and waging wars of aggression on false pretexts) Germany just follows “as part of NATO support”??? Is that what you are saying?

            Just because Germany is part of NATO it does not have right to violate international laws! International laws are OBLIGATORY for all UN members just like resolutions of UN Security council are also OBLIGATORY for all UN members! Before Western countries recognized illegal unilaterally declared secession of Kosovo from Serbia they tried to make UN SC resolution 1244 void and invalid in UN Security Council since they knew the resolution does not allow illegal secession but the body rejected this western proposal so the OBLIGATORY resolution is still valid.

            “There you’re wrong the resolution 1244 did not especially say that Kosovo is a part of Serbia or not. ”

            That is not true! The following quotation is from Wikipedia:
            United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Security_Council_Resolution_1244

            “The main features of Resolution 1244 were to:
            Reaffirm the commitment of UN member states to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the other States of the region, as set out in the Helsinki Final Act and annex 2 of UNSCR 1244 (an annex that both affirms the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and envisions, inter alia, a Kosovo status process);”

            Serbia is legal successor of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

            Conclusion: When Russia is strong Germany behaves well and decently. But when Russia is sick (has a flu) Germany suddenly shows her true aggressive, violent, unfair face. This is what we have seen for the last 25 years.

          • Florian N

            These wars weren’t to be aggressive. The reason for the intervention of NATO in Yugoslavia was “human aid”.
            And Hitler attacked a country because of aggressive expansion. Germany supports a military pact with its allies. NATO didn’t try to expand in Yugoslavia.
            Also, you have to read the whole summary:
            Authorize the United Nations to facilitate a political process to determine Kosovo’s future status. Kosovo’s future status would take into consideration the Rambouillet Agreement which Serbia refused to sign in 1998, and which calls for the “will of the people of Kosovo” to be one of the guiding principles in defining Kosovo’s status, another being the respective compliance of the disputing parties to the Agreement. The resolution reaffirms calls for “substantial autonomy and meaningful self-administration for Kosovo”.
            And to your “aggression of NATO”:
            Authorize a NATO-led peacekeeping force in Kosovo (currently performed by the Kosovo Force, KFOR);
            Don’t just read the parts that sound good.

            So to sum up, we have a confirmed state (Yugoslavia) with an autonomous region which declared itself independent. So these processes led to the “Kosovo status process”. And hopefully, you also read this one on Wikipedia.
            “Supported by the United States and some European countries, Kosovo’s government declared independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008.[1] Kosovo’s current political status is uncertain. The International Court of Justice ruled that the declaration did not violate international law. As of 27 February 2017, 111 UN member states have recognized Kosovo’s independence. Of the international organizations, Kosovo has been granted full membership in the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.”
            And this is the current political status. No “evil” Germans, no “aggressive NATO”. Just a normal political way things keep going.
            Please never compare something like that to what Hitler did. Because this is so wrong I can not even describe it.
            And when was Germany aggressive in the last 25 Years? By making a smaller army? By abolishing compulsory military service?
            You need to distinguish between aggressive warfare and just support in a country torn by civil war and war crimes which is a huge difference.
            And sure the NATO expands to the borders of Russia what was not allowed, but they did not threaten those states into the NATO, no these states wanted to be part of NATO and not under Russian influence.

            And now be scared of the great German army, their modern weapons which they have no ammunition for and the sea helicopters which are not allowed to fly over the sea. (Just some German jokes about their army.)

    • Solomon Krupacek

      EU will be not collapsed :) sooner russia. :P

    • Brother Ma

      Yes siree. This us all code for building an army for germany just like ww2. Nazis had spanish romanian hungarian etc armies incorporated into its own.

  • Moussa Saab

    If the EU collapses the U.S empire will collapse too. This is because that the U.S will no longer have strong influence in Europe and different European countries will be on opposite terms, which may result to war in Europe and back to the Middle Ages. The U.S then will have no partner to project power to the Middle East for oil and other resources. Just my guess

    • MeMadMax

      Not really…
      The US “empire” was around BEFORE the EU… It will be around afterwards as well…

      “project power to the Middle East” > We do that on our own anyways, at the behest of germany/france(who are the biggest middle east customers(NOT the US, we get our oil from canada))…

      If not the US, then it would be germany/france “projecting power” in the middle east…

      … and you would be complaining about a “Fourth Reich” and/or a new “napoleon” instead of a US “empire”….

      Either way, ur gonna complain… but there’s nothing you can do about it…

      Buh Bye…

      • Terra Cotta Woolpuller

        The US is the Fourth Reich and it’s eventual demise will come it’s not if ,but when. These things can never be changed from happening they are all trying to consolidate power , but none of that will matter.

        Besides the oil comes from Venezuela also other than Canada and both deeply discount thinner lighter crude so the US can use it domestically and they sell their dirtier thick crude to other countries.

        Thing is they are curtailing production in both countries and they should sell it to other markets would make a larger profit anyways.

      • Fred

        Pulling the plug on the US petro dollar will deflate US hegemony very quickly, but if virtue and traditional values can be restored, doing away with CIA instigated foreign and domestic corruption and military exploitation, the Americans will no doubt once again utilize their self determination, ingenuity, industriousness, and tremendous energy to successfully compete and prosper in the future. If they could only clean up their act they would be far more influential and successful.

  • Daniel Martin

    So in other words, the EU in lack of any meaningful cultural, social or economic vision for the future, the same is turning towards radicalization and militarism to quell the rising miss content from the people, with the so called political elites, or should i say, the elites are preparing us for a manufactured crises which they will use to distract us from the very cause of the problem which is in fact the same corrupted elites, and to do this they will probably use the millions of migrants that they have let in Europe from the very same countries they have destroyed with illegal military aggression together with the U.S and NATO. Now with the problem put in place and waiting to be activated, and later when the shit hits the fan in a war domestic population against foreigners, they will step in (the elites) and offer is a solution to the problem they’ve created. Wow it works every time and the stupid still buy it …

    • Florian N

      The Elites of what nation haven’t done that? It’s common sense all over the world and practiced all over the world.

    • so

      When I want to see the future it looks like “Children of Men” the movie. Kind of what you described.

    • JPH

      The rejection of the EU constitution in 2005 by both the French and Dutch electorate (all planned referendums in other member states were subsequently cancelled because the required unanimity was now out of reach anyway) has ensured that the EU (though pretending to be democratically mandated) has no mandate for any further integration and also lacks any

      constitutionally enshrined safeguards.

      So the electorate has actually closed the path to a fully integrated democratic supranational EU.

      The EU is actually limited to intergovernmental cooperation only as expressed by any ultimate decision still remains with the council of ministers of member states.

  • Real Anti-Racist Action

    The EU is 1,000 times more militarized then National Socialism ever was.
    In fact the UK was more militarized before the war and the USSR had every single person under close watch.
    It is time to free the natives. Let the tribes of Europe be with their indigenous tribal peoples and prevent the racist from invading flooding in.
    http://ihr.org/

    • Solomon Krupacek

      russia is 18000x more militarized then National Socialism ever was

  • Lumen

    If you want Peace, prepare for War.

    EU Militarization is long overdue.

    • Brother Ma

      War against whom ,Lumen?

  • Solomon Krupacek

    there is no militarization. unfortunately. the EU should have own, 2 million troops large army, 30000 nuclear warheads, large fleet, ISMBs, etc.

    the reality is the oppiste way. macrontold, he will not give lot of money for army. herefore abdicted the minister of defense. also germany will not give 2% of GDP, which is their obligation.

    i like SF, but i never read truthful article about EU.

    • RichardD

      Is this what you suffer from, or are you just a two faced hypocrite:

      “Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by abnormal social behavior and failure to understand what is real.[2] Common symptoms include false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking, hearing voices that others do not hear, …”

      Wikipedia

      Are you on psychiatric medication:

      “you little shitty nazi, you should be ban on russian site.”

      “you fascist redundantly blame me. i am not jew, i dont support neither israel nor fascists.

      • Solomon Krupacek

        go to tje hell with your jew-lies :)))

        • RichardD

          You can’t disprove what I’ve written, so you don’t even try. You’re a liar, hypocrite, idiot, Jew supporter and head case who is constantly spewing nonsense, vulgarity, false accusations and stupidity.

  • JPH

    Germany’s foreign policy aims to exploit the EU for its own ‘Third Reich” delusions again.
    https://www.swp-berlin.org/projekte/neue-macht-neue-verantwortung/das-papier/

    The wording of that document sounds so innocent, but it represents a conscious choice for power geo-politics. The manner countries are categorized in either “Allies” or “Challengers” and “Spoilers” projects an implicit divide on the world just like Bush’s “You are either with us or against us”. Germany aims to exploit the EU for leveraging its influence on the world stage. This may well be the “elephant in the room nobody wants to talk about” underlying the Tory support of the Brexit. Guess the Tories still under the delusion of that phyrric victory of WWII are very unwilling to be subservient to Germany within the EU.

  • LOL! Who will the EU military consider as the target of their military? They only use military force against their own citizens. Soon there will be Religious Police enforcing Sharia in Paris, Brussels, Berlin and Malmo. What a sick joke EU is!

    • matt

      A sick joke is your stupid comment

      • Fuhrerin Merkel is pleased with you, Slave.

        • Terra Cotta Woolpuller

          That’s Jihadi Julian he has several accounts he writes for Bild and editor of some rag in Berlin.

          • LOL! Thanks. I guessed he was some sort of paid troll!…Fuhrerin Merkel permits no opposition media. Few sites in the Reich permit comment posting. The few that do delete any comment that doesn’t kiss the Fuhrerin’s /$$.