Blog AnalysisEU Defense (Doctrine)

Europe in retreat?

(B2) In quick succession, several political leaders spoke out in the media – the Italian Franco Frattini yesterday in the evening, the Belgian Hervé Morin today in the Point – where we feel a certain weariness emerging.

These comments are certainly not devoid of political ulterior motives: one is a candidate for the post of Secretary General of NATO, the other is positioning himself on the French political spectrum. But they come from people who have a “real” European streak and know the European machine. Their comments deserve all the more attention as they are found in the mouths of many people currently working in the European system and other officials.

No will as usual

« The Europeans have resigned. This resignation concerns as much the funds allocated to defense, in constant decline, as the lack of desire to build a European security policy. Today we are talking about the painful implementation of a training mission in Mali. I experienced the same thing, in other theaters ! » explains the former French Minister of Defense, Hervé Morin. “ We found in this operation all the faults of Europeans: Mrs Ashton is absent, as usual. The Germans refuse to intervene, as usual. The Europeans show no will, as usual! »

Europe in retreat

“We need to commit a lot more. Europe is a bit behind. We need a much stronger political impetus. » explained Franco Frattini yesterday. For Berlusconi's former Minister of Foreign Affairs, and former European Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs, what has been missing so far is " European strength and leadership. (...) Frankly, we have been talking for several years about a European defence, about having if necessary structured cooperation between a certain number of European countries if all the countries are not ready to do so. Unfortunately, we did not move! ».

Nb: this position illustrates continuity in action. Italy had twice asked for defense to be addressed at the highest level, at a European summit. The European summit planned for the end of 2013 is a good thing according to him. He does not say it. But this comes a little late.

In Mali, this is the typical example of this absence according to Franco Frattini. “ I would have preferred a European decision before the decisions taken at national level » for logistical assistance to the French operation Serval. “ When Europe decided to send a Malian army training mission, the EU should have adopted a logistical support mission. »

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

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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).

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