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Germany takes up the torch of European defense

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(BRUSSELS2) Germany, which in recent years has been rather timid on defense Europe (1), tends to want to take up the torch of the CSDP in a more ambitious way. The remarks of Guido Westerwelle, the German Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the Munich Security Conference on February 6 deserve attention.

Indeed, Westerwelle not only puts forward important objectives for defense: sharing and distribution and sharing of tasks, independent crisis management capacity. It sets a long-term objective: the European army. And above all it defines defense as a political objective of a Europe more powerful internationally and more integrated internally. Listening to him, the CSDP project could be, a bit like the Single Market, a driving project that would allow Europe to move forward. He also refutes any criticism of possible duplication with NATO, believing that the contribution of European defense is, precisely, a contribution to the Euro-Atlantic partnership. Finally, he considers it necessary to reflect on the Russian proposal for a new European security framework.
After UK Green Book, which is of another content (but not without interest), here is the second major European state to position itself, in a few days, on European defense. Very interesting.

L'Europe must rise to the challenges. " The German government wants to move forward on this path (of common defense). The long-term objective is the establishment of a European army under full parliamentary control. The European Union must live up to its political role as a global actor. This means that she is able to manage crises independently. This also means being available to respond quickly, flexibly and from a single position. To achieve this, however, (the EU) must be able to pool its resources, set priorities and distribute its responsibilities, even in times when resources are increasingly scarce.».

Defense a European integration project. " The “permanent structured cooperation” envisaged by the Lisbon Treaty provides an opportunity to move forward together with different Member States in order to continue developing a vision of Europe. The draft EU Common Defense and Security Policy will act as a driving force for greater European integration”.

European defense is not directed against NATO. " We want European crisis management. The intention is not to replace other security structures (NB: NATO). More Europe is not a strategy aimed at anyone in particular. There is no reason to fear Europe. But everyone should be able to count on Europe. The CSDP is Europe's response to globalization. This is our contribution to the Euro-Atlantic security partnership. » explains the Minister. And to add: “NATO, too, is seeking new responses to globalization. We support his work on a new strategic concept that sees security in a global political context. This, too, will support the Euro-Atlantic security partnership »

An agreement must be made with Russia. Incidentally, the German minister shows his difference with the American position on the Russian security project. " The strategic partnership with Russia is not only one of the keys to European security, it is also vital to solving global problems. We want a partnership and we want to continue to develop it in areas where we have common interests. This includes a substantive discussion on the European security proposals presented by President Medvedev ". A position substantially different from the Hillary Clinton's position, the American Secretary of State who, in Paris at the end of January, did not hide her skepticism about this proposal (to be polite :-)).

Extract from the intervention (in German) on the European army:

(1) Even if the previous government denied it, read: F.-J. Jung: Germany no less enthusiastic than before

(photo credit: Munich Security Conference, Kai Moerk)

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).

One thought on “Germany takes up the torch of European defense"

  • Westerwelle's speech, as well as that of the Secretary General of NATO, is in line with the strategy described by Thomas Barnett in his second book “Blueprint for Action”.

    One remark, however, on the co-operation invoked – and applauded – between NATO and the United Nations. As long as the United Nations takes refuge behind the inalienable and inviolable sovereignty of states, this organization will always remain far below a mandate that has become almost obsolete.

    C. de Hennin

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