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Security and Defense. "The most important project for the future" says Von Wogau

(B2 – archives) The opportunity was too good to pass up. It is therefore in front of a selected audience, security and defense specialists, gathered for the first European security conference (, that the president of the defense subcommittee in the European Parliament, Karl Von Wogau, and Guy Teissier, his counterpart in the French National Assembly, launched their European Security and Defense Foundation at the baptismal font on November 20.

The Foundation, whose founders include former Belgian Prime Minister Leo Tindemans (PPE/CD&V), Spanish MEP Inigo Mendez de Vigo (PPE-DE), and lawyer Barbara Rapp-Jung, will be based in Brussels. The first constituent meeting will take place in the representation of Baden-Würtenberg – the region from which Von Wogau originates – next week. And the first “plenary” will take place next February.

War and peace too important...

« The broad concept of "security and defence" is the most important project for the coming years “commented, in front of the press, Karl Von Wogau. " War and peace are such important things that they cannot be left to the generals alone, nor to the executive alone, for that matter. There is also an important role for parliamentarians, at both national and European level. We have acquired the right to be informed and must also authorize the budget. It is therefore important for us to have close cooperation between national parliaments and the European Parliament " first of all. And given the current situation, with on one side the Council with J. Solana, on the other the Commission with G. Verheugen and then NATO, which we can't say they talk to each other a lot, we will have a small role to connect all the world. Our foundation will be a place, neutral, to meet »

Be the initiators of a new St Malo de la Défense

« If the Franco-British Treaty of St Malo was the high point of defense policy, (in its time), today after (certain) delays, we must be the initiators of a new St Malo of the Defense adds the chairman of the defense committee of the French Assembly, Guy Teissier. The task is difficult. There is " national selfishness, the weight of history and traditions (but also) significant differences in defense investment ". Now we have to move up a gear. The question is not to know “whether it is NATO or Europe, the two are complementary. But we have to define what should be attributed to Europe, and what should be attributed to NATO. This exercise has been talked about for years. Now we have to do it. »

A multi-speed Europe

In this context, the Treaty of Lisbon is, in itself, " a new advance », Considers Guy Teissier, even if he only repeats the text of the European Constitution. In particular, it defends enhanced cooperation and other forms of differentiation. " It is utopian that Europe can move forward at a steady pace. There is a mosaic of countries. We must allow those who want to move forward to do so.. » « I have the feeling that it can work » specifies Karl Von Wogau. " It is obvious that we will have a multi-speed Europe. This is how Schengen or the Euro was created."

Utopias that come true

The two deputies thus refuse any defeatism. From Saint-Malo, look at the road traveled Considers Karl Von Wogau. " The European Defense Agency was set up without the European Constitution. Cooperation is underway in several areas (Airbus A400M) even if it is not obvious every day. And there are now several military operations on difficult terrain, such as in Ituri or Bosnia... “More than twenty currently. " If I had said a few years ago that there would be today, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, soldiers with the European crest, under the command of Brussels, I would have taken for a sweet utopian…” quipped the German MEP.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Article published in Europolitique on 22 November 2007

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).