Military Review

Europe decided on defense integration

Last Thursday, on the first day of the traditional two-day December summit of the EU heads of state, Brussels made the final decision on the launch of the European Permanent Structured Cooperation, PESCO program. This fateful decision was rather formal. He was accepted without discussion during the official dinner, since the PESCO program was already approved on December 11 at a meeting of EU foreign ministers. They agreed on all the details of the new interstate EU document.

Americans do not want to defend Europe only for their money

After the end of the evening meeting of the summit, the European Council President Donald Tusk came out to the journalists and solemnly announced: “Today dreams have become a reality. PESCO is a practical expression of our intention to build a European defense. It's good news for the EU and its allies, and bad news for our enemies. ”

Tusk did not say that the long-standing "dream" of Europeans to create their own defense structure and a unified army was largely due to the crisis in relations within the NATO North Atlantic Alliance, uniting most of the countries of Europe, the USA and Canada. This crisis has two reasons. One of them is the absence of real military threats. The second is the fatigue of the dominant role of the United States, in the framework of the alliance who prefer to solve their national problems.

The Americans, as best they could, restrained the rush of alliance partners to create a single European army. When President Donald Trump and his administration came to power in Washington, their differences with Europe received a new impetus. They were caused by Trump's demand for Europeans to increase NATO funding.

This his thesis sounded during the election campaign. In the spring, at the NATO summit in Brussels, Donald Trump repeated the criticism of Europeans for “failure to fulfill financial obligations” and stressed that such behavior is “dishonest” towards the United States. The European members of the alliance tried to dissuade with common words about the joint fight against terrorism and mutual defense, but this rhetoric did not make any impression on the overseas guest.

Trump insisted: NATO member countries must bear defense expenditures within two percent of their GDP and invest these funds in the overall tasks of the North Atlantic bloc and its budget. Trump was not the first to complain to Europeans about the lack of concern for his defense and its financing.

Americans have long said that after the end of the Cold War, the military contribution of Europe to NATO is constantly falling. Indeed, in the Old World in the absence of real military threats, they preferred to spend money on peace programs, developing their economies. There is nothing surprising. The military-strategic situation on the continent and the dangers associated with it are a thing of the past.

Experts are now joking: "The prospect of a large-scale clash with Russia looks as likely as the Martian invasion." The author of this irony is Doug Bendow of Forbes, a US financial and economic magazine. To the displeasure of the United States, its assessment is shared by politicians and businessmen of Europe. However, in 2014, the United States forced its European partners to make a commitment: by 2024, to raise the share of defense spending to two percent of GDP.

Time has shown that Europe is not in a hurry to fulfill its promise. According to the Forbes magazine, already mentioned, last year the share of defense expenditures of European NATO member countries amounted to only 1,47% of GDP, and in Belgium, the Czech Republic and Spain did not exceed even one percent. But under the umbrella of the Atlantic alliance, small European countries rushed, whose military contribution did not strengthen the organization.

An example of this is Montenegro, which joined NATO last summer. Its military costs do not exceed 50 million euros, and the army - two thousand soldiers. A similar situation in the Baltic countries. About the threat of Russia there are shouting loudly. But, for example, Estonia and Latvia put in operation only five thousand servicemen. All their defense hopes they associate exclusively with NATO.

PESCO Project May Lead Europe to New Internal Conflicts

The position of Donald Trump found support from his compatriots. Overseas, it began to spread the view that Europeans should bear the same burden as defense taxpayers with American taxpayers or independently provide for their defense. Partly in this vein, European political thought also began to develop.

Back in the distant 1954 year, at the start of European cooperation, the founding fathers of the current EU immediately took the idea of ​​the European Defense Community out of the framework of discussion. In post-war Europe, questions of protection against external threats were completely taken over by NATO, which, in fact, became the European branch of the US military.

This attitude, which has already become to some extent a political mentality, has continued for many years. Experts believe that it still influences decision making in European capitals. It is not by chance that the plans to create a single European army, implying a certain military competition on the continent, have not yet come out of the talk stage.

The PESCO project, which became a political reality last Thursday, is viewed by officials in Brussels primarily as a structure that complements the "NATO military efforts to prevent threats from the East." Similarly, the representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini expressed her promise that the parties to the agreement "will not duplicate the functions of the North Atlantic military bloc."

Meanwhile, Euro-optimists (like French President Emmanuel Macron) view PESCO as a step towards creating a unified European army. Speaking not so long ago to the students of Sorbonne University with a program speech on EU reform, Macron said that today the European Union needs a common defense budget and a joint army.

According to Macron, Europe is faced with a double test - the “gradual and inevitable” alienation of the United States and the threat of terrorism. Now she must take care of her own safety. PESCO is only the first step in this direction. On its basis, a pan-European army should appear by the end of 2020 "in addition to the NATO armed forces".

In the meantime, Europe is focused on the full implementation of the agreement on Permanent Structured Defense Cooperation. At this stage it corresponds to the plans of the Atlantic alliance. The agreement defines the mandatory rules for increasing defense spending in Europe and coordinating them.

The document is serious. It included 50 separate cooperation agreements on the development and purchase of new military systems and weapons. Provides, for example, the unification of military equipment. Europeans decided it was wasteful for them to have, like today, 17 types tanks, 29 types of frigates and destroyers and 20 types of combat aircraft.

The PESCO Agreement provides for a different approach, which, in turn, will entail a reduction in the cost of repair and maintenance of equipment. The changes will concern logistical issues (civilian transport infrastructure is adapted to the tasks of the military), industrial cooperation, etc. The treaty provides assistance to PESCO member states in the event of a military threat or attack on them.

Non-EU countries may be invited to participate in the agreement. This will be done only exceptionally and for “significant value added to the project”. It is possible that there will be hunters. Although some members of the EU ignored PESCO. Denmark, Ireland, Malta and Portugal refused to participate in this contract.

The final communique of the meeting of EU foreign ministers, which approved the final parameters of the agreement, states that these four countries can join PESCO at any time if they "meet its requirements." Local media did not develop the topic. They wrote more about the "surprise" that was presented by Hungary and especially Poland.

Both countries for two years oppose European integration, and here they have shown enviable solidarity with the EU plans in the field of defense. The experts considered this a good sign, reflecting the good prospects of the new agreement on defense. However, not everyone in Europe agrees with this assessment.

The scientific director of the German-Russian forum, political analyst Alexander Rahr, on the contrary, is convinced that in reality Europeans do not need to coordinate defense spending and their own army, but “in the new powerful, militarized police structure in order to protect the EU borders primarily from refugees and migrants from Asia and Africa. "

Rahr believes that the PESCO agreement should help "create a common center for combating terrorism: data exchange, coordination of intelligence work." In fact, this may not be possible, since some of the EU countries that have signed the agreement (for example, the Baltic States and Poland) are not yet ready for their security to depend on Germany and France, and not on the United States of America.

The Agreement on Permanent Structured Cooperation in the Field of Security and Defense is perhaps the first sign of the new initiatives for the further integration of the European Union. This process frankly stalled. The contradictions between the EU countries are only growing. This affected the implementation of the agenda of the last summit in Brussels. Without problems, we could only agree on the extension of anti-Russian sanctions.

Apparently, the PESCO project will have a difficult fate. It is only German Leopard to crush the tank projects of neighbors, as the quarrels of Europeans break out with a new force. They again will need an arbitrator in disputes. As always, it will be America. For real independence, Europe must go a very long way ...
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    HEATHER 18 December 2017 14: 04
    But Vanka listens and builds ships, rockets, and icebreakers for the most part. For our own sake. We don’t need someone else’s shore. Although, who knows ... wassat
    1. the most important
      the most important 18 December 2017 14: 21
      Quote: VERESK
      We do not need someone else's shore

      Eccentrics with the letter M over the past 25 years have pierced almost half of the territory, their own would be returned ..
      1. Chertt
        Chertt 18 December 2017 16: 01
        Quote: the most important
        to return his own ..

        So, kind of working in this direction
    2. 210ox
      210ox 18 December 2017 14: 43
      This is bad news for NATO (read patrons) .. Not for us. hi
    3. siberalt
      siberalt 18 December 2017 16: 50
      Merkel already has a candidacy for the commander-in-chief of a united Europe - his own minister of defense, a gynecologist by profession. This is what European tolerant soldiers need. lol
  2. Knowing
    Knowing 18 December 2017 14: 24
    Generally tear and reeling in the old woman-Europe. In her address to GDP, Le Nen hinted that it was time to destroy the EU from the inside ... repeat
    1. HEATHER
      HEATHER 18 December 2017 14: 32
      Le Pan hinted, but not at all.
  3. NF68
    NF68 18 December 2017 14: 52
    Until the EU begins to do something real, it will not be known how much time. Not so long ago, there were reports in the German media that the basis of the future EU army would be the armed isles of Germany, France and Spain. Apparently, the rest of the EU countries can also join over time, but again it is not known how long it will take.
    1. cannabis
      cannabis 18 December 2017 16: 45
      And how long does it take to drag all the tanks and artillery from the states to Europe? If they will spend 0,5 ammunition per day on a war with us, then at least 30 - 40 artillery ammunition must be dragged and stored. The task is simple - the performance of European ports and the throughput of railways is expensive. Quiet glanders for the year to cope.
      1. NF68
        NF68 21 December 2017 20: 21
        Quote: cunning
        And how long does it take to drag all the tanks and artillery from the states to Europe? If they will spend 0,5 ammunition per day on a war with us, then at least 30 - 40 artillery ammunition must be dragged and stored. The task is simple - the performance of European ports and the throughput of railways is expensive. Quiet glanders for the year to cope.

        And who really needs it in the EU really needs to seriously prepare for war in order for the United States to again rake in its hands all that is possible? The Germans and French in both world wars were already stepping on a rake and, as far as I understand, no one wants to step on a rake for the 3 time. , It is possible that this process in the EU will stretch not even for years, but for decades. The leading EU countries, except Britain, have no real contradictions with Russia. And in terms of the US economy, the EU is a much more dangerous competitor. It is possible that the EU knows a little more about the US plans than they report it to the media. So, just in case, we decided to play it safe.
  4. Slon_on
    Slon_on 18 December 2017 16: 40
    The project is not new. It was already like that. The invasion of “twelve languages” - the Patriotic War of 1812. How it all ended is known and where too. They ventured to repeat in 1941, they collected every Euro-hooker. The result is known.
  5. belarusik
    belarusik 18 December 2017 16: 51
    It needs a strong political will. It is unlikely that the French will agree to the Leopards or Challengers, and those to Leclerc. Most likely, you will have to choose one of the tanks as the main one, which will lead to heated debate, and will require the complete transfer of documentation and technology. As an option, the development of a new machine is still, but, this is a less likely option. And there will be hundreds of such situations, because you will have to coordinate a large number of weapons, and they are usually produced by one manufacturer in one separate country and often by private enterprises that will take their throats for such orders - in fact, create the same machines for all of Europe. Nevertheless, the unification of armaments is a very important and crucial stage, which is difficult to accomplish, but really needed. It will probably be easier further. Indeed, starting in 2018, the creation of new weapons will go on in a centralized system.
    1. cannabis
      cannabis 18 December 2017 18: 00
      There is such a Russian dish - vinaigrette. The Wehrmacht was armed with more than 100 makes and types of cars, Soviet French, English, American, Czech, Italian armored vehicles and tanks, and aircraft from Maki Caproni to Russian plywood.
    2. Doliva63
      Doliva63 18 December 2017 19: 48
      There are united forces, but there are united. They have the first option. Unification is not particularly needed. Everyone is responsible for the production and repair. Ammunition unified. It remains to solve the logistics, and all.
  6. 21 December 2017 20: 39
    I recall that in the spring, Merkel hinted that it would be time for the European Union to begin to move away from the influence of the United States in the political (primarily) and in the economic sphere. There, a good uncle flew from overseas and, as a student, scolded European leaders for they don’t invest too much in their defense spending budgets. I even remember their faces when Trump pushed his speech. Everyone immediately forgot about their independence from the United States.
    As for PESCO ... It is commendable that Europe again began to take steps to free itself from the yoke of the United States, but, as if the same uncle had again flown over the ocean ...