EU approves common defense plan — Analysis

Although it creates an EU-wide fighting force, the armies that European leaders desire are not there.

On Monday, the European Union approved Strategic Compass – a bloc-wide common defense strategy that will create an EU deployment force of 5,000 troops. While such a move is a historic first for the bloc, it is substantially more modest than the EU army proposed by France’s Emmanuel Macron.

It “European Union just approved Strategic Compass,” Latvian FM Edgars Rinkēvičs announced, following a meeting of European defense and foreign ministers in Brussels earlier in the day. It provides for a “necessary toolbox for the EU to become a real geopolitical defense and security player together with NATO,”He said that he was only the “beginning of the journey” for the bloc’s military future. 

Since 2020 when the European Council proposed it, this plan has existed. It has come under fire from the Eastern European countries who prefer to depend on NATO and the US for their defense, as well as commentators in neutral Ireland. They sought assurances that no peacekeeping missions would be carried out by the bloc and that the UN should have a major role in the decision-making process.

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However, the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine has hastened the plan’s adoption. Strategic Compass’ current version aims to enhance cooperation between European militaries. It also bolsters cooperation with NATO. 

But it allows the creation of a force of 5,000. “rapid deployment capacity”The first step in the creation of a single military by the EU was the deployment of EU troops. This step toward militarization is significant, especially as it comes less than a month after the European Commission announced it would supply Ukraine with €450 million ($497 million) worth of arms and ammunition.

An EU strategic assessment identified “regional instability, conflict, state fragility, inter-state tensions, external influences, [and the] destabilising impact of non-state actors”The plan was drawn with the intention of indicating that the bloc could, at one point or in some capacity intervene in any future conflict similar to the one in Ukraine. 

Although this would represent a significant step forward for the union’s unity, Strategic Compass remains far short of the unification military that many leaders are urging. Macron has long been a proponent of creating an EU army and lessening the bloc’s dependence on NATO, an alliance he called “brain dead” back in 2019.

Macron renewed his push for an EU fighting force independent of NATO earlier this month, stating that the conflict in Ukraine had “changed the era” for the European Union. However, the Eastern Europeans are still content to rely on NATO for their defense needs, with Polish Deputy Prime Minister Piotr Glinski telling The Telegraph on Saturday that the EU was not ready for conflict, and that Macron’s comments risk “destabilizing Europe.”

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