Soon after Britain voted to leave the European Union (EU), its foreign affairs chief, Elmar Brok, urged the economic and political bloc to go ahead with plans to create an army.
The German politician told Die Welt that EU countries need to cooperate more closely on issues of defence, and suggested the EU needs a military headquarters. He said:
“We need a common (military) headquarters and a coalition (of EU countries) acting in accordance with the permanent structural cooperation of the EU Treaty. From such a group an EU army could eventually arise.”
Mr Brok suggested the forces be modeled on the Franco-German Brigade, a special military brigade of the Eurocorps of the European Union.
Stating that a united EU army would make European foreign policy much more effective, the foreign affairs head said such a force would: “strengthen the role of Europeans in [global] security and defense policy, make Europe able to better fulfill its responsibilities in the world and also achieve more synergies in defense spending.”
While the head of the union’s foreign affairs committee acknowledged there are legal restrictions on the creation of a joint EU army because of legal restraints, he noted that it would be possible with treaty change and if edits were made to the EU’s constitution.
The EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini, will present a new “global strategy” of foreign policy. The unveiling of these plans was delayed until after Britain’s referendum on June 23rd, for fears talk of an EU army would encourage more voters in the UK to vote for ‘Brexit’.
Last week Chancellor Angela Merkel announced her intent for Germany to increase its defense spending, despite the nation’s foreign minister warning against NATO “sabre-rattling” towards Russia.
A Pew poll from earlier this year showed that, in the European Union, only Poles and the Dutch favour an increase in defence spending. Respondents in other European countries were much more reluctant.