eu-defenceCollectively, EU member states spent $281 billion on defence last year. On the face of it, that’s a heck of a lot of money; particularly when you consider it’s almost twice the EU’s annual budget (and witness how bitterly governments have been squabbling over that right now). Nevertheless, European defence budgets are dwarfed by that of the United States, which spent over $711 billion on its military in 2011. This is, understandably, the cause of some friction within the NATO alliance.

Last year, outgoing US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates gave a speech in Brussels warning that the Cold War generation of US politicians was retiring, and their successors might be less misty-eyed about the importance of NATO. Speaking “bluntly”, he argued that “if you told the American taxpayer [that the US bears] 75% of the financial burden in NATO, it would raise eyebrows.”

Of course, not everybody agrees that Europeans should be spending more on defence. In the middle of the most serious economic crisis since the 1930s, there are those that would argue money would be better spent on education, infrastructure, research and innovation. An even more serious problem, though, is that Europe gets nowhere near the amount of “bang for its buck” as the US. Whilst European defence budgets amount to about 40% of total US spending, its effective deployment capabilities in terms of boots on the ground works out to just 25% of what the US can manage.

According to a recent report (PDF) from the Spanish think-tank FRIDE:

Collectively Europeans can barely deploy and sustain 100,000 soldiers for external operations; in contrast the US has a deployable capacity of around 400,000 troops (plus vast numbers of so-called ‘strategic assets’ and other technologies that Europeans lack, such as long-range transport planes and ships, air tankers, precision-guided-munitions etc.).

This has caused some of our commenters to argue that a single European army might help reduce inefficiency and cut costs. PJ, for example, left a comment saying that:

If [European governments are] really interested in the defence of Europe, I agree that logically an EU defence force should be established. That is a defence force and not an offence force.

At a recent Security & Defence Agenda event, we spoke to Ioan Mircea Pașcu, a Social Democrat MEP and former Romanian Minister of Defense, and asked him how he would respond to PJ’s suggestion:

What about those who think that European defence spending is already too high? Peter, for example, left a comment saying that:

By freeing up the defence budget the EU can easily dedicate 8 to 9% GDP to research and education.

What do YOU think? Does it make sense to have seperate armies, navies and air-forces in the EU, some of them with only a few thousands soldiers and a handful of aircraft and ships? Should we have a single European military? Or is defence an important part of national sovereignty, regardless of so-called inefficiencies? And are Europeans spending too much or too little on defence? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy-makers and experts for their reactions.

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – hdptcar

157 comments Post a commentComment


    • Andy

      I think you have to make a distinction between short-term and long-term goals. Our transatlantic partnership is very important, NATO offers a security umbrella for all of its members, including the majority of EU states. However, solely focusing upon NATO and giving attention only to it would be wrong. In the long-term, it is observable that the EU will furher integrate, until the point of launching an EU Army. But why should this be a danger to the NATO? In the long-term it is up to us Europeans to decide whether we want to remain the US’s little brother or slowly grow up. And it is not so much the USA who should be seen as the main competitor, but uprising powers such as China and India. Wouldn’t it also provide a suppor for the USA to know that they have an emancipated brother, who shares the same values and principles with it, and who is ready to cooperate with it. Thereby, sustaining the NATO would be possible. But at the same time, the EU needs an army if they plan to be taken serious on an international scene.
      The Brits will have only one chance: either accept or leave! And I don’t really understand why we should be afraid of “loosing” the uncooperative Brits? They are a pain in the ass anyway, so why being afraid of them leaving the EU? France and Germany are the major drive engines of the EU, the Brits have only thrown stones in our ways. Remember, De Gaulle never wanted them inside!
      Coming back to the question, do we need an EU army, the only true answer can be, YES! But not now, not in 2 or 3 years, but in the long-term. First, we need to integrate in other areas, such as education (for instance, from 1st class on children should learn English, to make Europe-wide communication an easy task); then we need to bring the European Project into the minds of the Europeans (introduce European history courses in schools around Europe); what is important is to make clear to the people that Europe will be a superpower in the future and will only build an EU army for defense purposes not for offense!!!!

    • Roy

      So you r saying kick the brits out and still speak english
      Thats IRONIC

    • Derpocritus

      In my opinion, the EU should unify its armed forces and reduce military spending. If the EU spent a mere 1% on its military, it would still have the second largest military budget in the world, which would be sufficient.

      Roy: “So you r saying kick the brits out and still speak english
      Thats IRONIC”

      Not really. The US-Americans, Indians and Pakistanis kicked the Brits out and still speak english. Moreover, the Irish wouldn’t be kicked out and the Scots could rejoin the EU.

    • José

      At the moment I can , how about arab radicalism in north of Africa and in south of Europe ?
      And we forgot that in former Yoguslavia , we needed to have US help .

      Bt before all of this , first we must have a common external policy .
      At this moment only France is figthing fundamentalist in Mali , this menace is for all Europe , in germany lives more than 5 million arabs , in London the major population is not english . and so on …

    • Ben

      In London 1/5 are immigrants.

      Please don’t say that most people in London aren’t English.

      Thank you.

    • Ross

      Well, now 2 years on.

      Russia.

    • Elijah

      Ross is right it 2014 and Russia is a huge threat

    • Samuel Tandorf

      Also, the way you put it, the individual member states woul not neet their armies as well which makes it even more important to have a EU Army. So clearly, the answer is yes in either case.

    • Joe Thorpe

      Nope they are a bunch of blind elephants in a china cabinet. They have no notion of how to run foreign policy with touchy external neighbours. the whole EEAS should be shut down.

  1. Davey Brown

    WHY? Only legitimate nation states have a monopoly on military force. The EU is neither. An EU army would be a tool of oppression and would be seen as an army of occupation by pro democracy activists. It is a VERY dangerous concept and would lead to serious political violence when the Eurocrats would inevitably turn such a force on the people to save their project. It would lead to armed struggle and a war of liberation. Any EU soldier would technically be a non state terrorist under international law and would be a legitimate target.

    • Francesco Montagnani

      that’s the point: only one nation can have one army. The question is not if europe needs an army: of course it does! The real question is: we, as europeans, really want to be a part of single, federal State? with one central government elected by people? Personally, I feel myself italian and european at the same time and I am strongly in favour of the creation of the United States of Europe.

    • José

      So do I . But all of Europe population must have that feeling . Constructing an political structure that do not reflect the people willing is not good for anyone. I believe northen people still have some prejudice regarding south Europe , they forgot that we are the menace frontier . THe people must change this sentiment regarding Europe but this is not any sentiment that imposes …All togheter we , Europeans are strong , separated even Germany is a diminuish country.

  2. Uğur Pektaş

    there are no threat to Europe for now. And the earth is getting smaller because of globalism. War is getting expensive too. Even russia doesn’t wanna make fight to any country in this capitalist economic order. in fact war has changed shape. in 20.th century war tools were weapons. But 21.th century war tools are economic growth, export rates and so on. So European union doesn’t need a army or such a thing

    • Elijah

      2014 it’s and Russia is a huge threat

  3. Davey Brown

    km, the enemy and the threat to our liberty IS the EU… and you want to give those idiots a military?

    • Nick Bagger

      How are they a threat to our liberty? They unite, and have ended war. Ask your grandparrents how nice ww2 where, and you will understand that rulling out the possibility of an armed confilict is gold worth.
      And how would european oppress? Thats the most stupid thing i have ever heard

  4. Cm Kocher Kocer

    Today even Nato cant promise or warranty peace! Still innocent peope are dying because of their mistakes.I do not think this army can provent better peace and security conditions towards to Eu.While they suffer economic crisis.Besides unless there is no such sharp treath except terrorism it would be just time and money wasting..

  5. Said Musayev

    Europe needs to organize together an force system between 27 membres states. But we know that, it Will be very dificulty.. In thé case of destablisment in the World, it’sn v

  6. Hasan Özdemir

    The Europe does not need any European Army except for NATO. But Europe should improve the military technologies and weapons, because weapon industry is a very important economical area and it supports science too.

  7. Christos Mouzeviris

    I think we should scrap NATO and rely on our combined forces to defend ourselves. If we rely for protection on others, then we must give back something to them..aka involvement in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan! This army should not replace our national forces, rather implement them in case of emergency. Only a small number of units from all countries that wish to contribute will make up this battalion and its role will be only for defense. Never for involvement in wars, unless it is for peace keeping, but always under the agreement and supervision of the UN and the European Parliament. For more please read: http://eblanademocraticmove.blogspot.ie/2010/10/eu-defence-policy-and-frontex.html

    • Elijah

      NATO should not be disbanded but so true about how the EU should an amry it needs to protects it self also

  8. Christos Mouzeviris

    Besides, has NATO secured peace within its own members? No! Just look at Greece and Turkey. Two “allied” nations, always at each others’ throats! What is the point then? NATO is just a military machine, to secure the West’s interests in other regions. And by meaning the West here, I am talking about the rich elites of the richer and powerful members of this “alliance”… The rest of us just get “protection” (well not Greece anyway) and we have to follow them in their wars for that. I say no to NATO, yes to a European defense (and only) force!!

  9. Maro Kouris

    Conscription needs to be completely abolished across all of the European Union and replaced with a professional and well paid EU Defense Force, that can take form very fast through the “EU Enhanced Co-operation mechanism”, leaving euro-sceptic.s outside the EU Defense Force. Conscription is SLAVE LABOR , violates individual rights. and is completely pointless in this day and age when we have the European Union. EU Defense Force Military perssonel need to be paid annually from 50,000 euros and upwards. Bring on a 1 million size EU military force funded completely by the EU budget in Brussels, that matches the economic power of the European Union. Who objects to a professional EU wide Defense Force?

    • Christos Mouzeviris

      I agree…That is why we need to promote smaller national armies, abolish conscription and create a European defense mechanism and army that will implement and assist European nations in need or threat.

    • Matteo De Chaira

      I agree. I’m lucky, in Italy we don’t have the Conscription but only a professional army. I think that EU should have it’s own professional army and no conscription ( which, I agree is a kind of slavery ).

    • James

      I couldn’t agree more here in britain our army is just getting smaller and more reliant on the USA as a contenant we need to grow up from the big brother of the USA and fend for our selfs

  10. Joaquim Sérpa

    I agree that we should have a European army, that would strengthen the union of European countries or at least that we have basic military knowledge.

    • Joe Thorpe

      I believe we should have the ability to defend ourselves which we are more than capable of doing. If EU countries cant defend themselves (which they can’t) they should forge alliances instead of leeching of us & diminishing our capabilities to engage in our own interests because you can be sure EU countries will expect us to do their bidding but will be found wanting when & if we ever needed support from their direction

  11. eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    Sim deviamos ter uma força especial que protege-se as nossas fronteiras este irá ser um grande problema que os politicos europeus tem que tomar as suas decisões hoje os estados membros da UE tem que encontrar politicas novas de segurança das suas fronteiras e todos os europeus sabém disso

  12. Vicente Silva Tavares

    Yes, we would be better to have an European Army than each country have their own armies. It would be much cheaper for all States.

  13. Jérôme

    Ma réponse est “Oui mais…”

    Oui car la capacité de l’Union européenne à opérer sur des théâtres à travers le monde serait un avantage politique et stratégique sans commune mesure avec ce que l’aide au développement peut faire. Une armée européenne replacerait l’Union européenne comme une entité politique ayant une réalité concrète dans les affaires du monde.
    Mais (1) cette armée européenne doit être totalement dissociée de l’OTAN et ne pas avoir besoin des structures intégrées pour opérer. Sans quoi, le paradigme se résumera à “l’OTAN c’est l’Europe et inversement”.
    Mais (2) cette armée européenne ne doit pas signer la fin des armées nationales car les procédures d’engagement des forces armées sont très variables d’un état à l’autre. Aussi, chaque état devrait mobiliser un groupement interarmée (dans la mesure du possible), lequel pourrait être interchangeable entre eux.
    Mais (3) “Quid” de l’institution qui aura l’autorité légitime à engager les forces européennes ? Parlement européen, élu donc légitime mais sans la compétence nécessaire (à ce jour), le président de l’Union européenne (avec ou sans aval du conseil) enfin la commission européenne n’a pas les capacités.
    Mais (4) une mutualisation des forces ne doit pas être synonyme de réductions budgétaires car les récentes interventions militaires européennes au Proche Orient ont démontré l’incapacité des grands états européens à mener une opération de moyenne intensité à proximité immédiate du territoire de l’UE.

    En conclusion, Oui il faut une armée européenne mais elle ne doit pas être un instrument de parade politique mais bien un moyen d’intervention pouvant donner à l’UE la capacité stratégique qui lui fait défaut.

  14. Georgi Hrisstof

    Keeping the Army Corps of Member States of the European Union is meaningless and financially unreasonable for the time we live in and the challenges we are and will be. Nationalist sentiment and privileges are not sufficient grounds and pretexts for the armies of the parade type. When you build peace and social project, and its protection, it is a public event .. Rule is a European professional army to protect and control the peace processes in and out of the European Union, mobile and practical factors upgrade best practices and forms. Price of such an army would be much more bearable and Cheap maintenance of European tax. You will be proud to citizens of the European Sayuz.Shte left behind current “feudal” formations of nation-building general “Home” and at the same time to keep it from themselves.
    Of course this is a process of development and construction, but not negligible and mistrust …
    Greetings!

  15. Peter Schellinck

    It’s about time to start acting the way we teach our children: no more wars, no fighting, peace is the name of the game. Unfortunately reality forces us to admit to the unreliability of the human race and we seem still to like a fight. Europe needs one common defense mechanism and by doing so we can save billions on wasted national armies. This freed up money can be used to educate our youth not to fight and for SME’s to create wealth and services for the benefit of a peaceful and dignified life.

    • Féargus McDermott

      Well said Peter! I totally agree. There are no “hordes” at the gate, so to speak. Becoming prosperous and, in turn, slowly spreading the wealth so that other nations can become economically healthy is the only long-term solution to war and armies. People who have full bellies, comfortable homes, a livelihood and, if lucky, a life partner tend not to think about war one little bit. Aggression, whilst viewed by some as a negative part of human nature, need only be channeled in the right direction – into building, Why not say: Let the 21st century be the century we eradicate world poverty so that every child gets an education, food and a bed to sleep in at night. Wouldn’t the world truly advance if we had all 7 billion minds working together on the important problems? Global population increase and sustainability, and a solution to our energy problems.

    • Joe Thorpe

      If you want to ensure all children are educated equally you will need a war to eradicate Islam otherwise the girls will remain serfs then we have India with its class system which again would take a war to change then look at the African continent where people believe in the boogie man & the witch doctor still, again It would take a war to remove the dodgy dictators that filled the void left behind when colonial powers were forced out. Now more than ever each nation should have robust defenses in place because sure as night follows day a mad mullah will get his hands on WMD’s

    • jbob

      That won’t work though. If you spend so much money on education to teach kids not to fight, then why will they fight and join an EU army? The EU army will be filled with wimps who don’t and won’t fight. Just say an EU war occurs (i.e. a hypothetical war of the EU vs China) then how do they fairly distribute the amount of soldiers from each nation? What if it’s unfairly divided and 70% of the soldiers are British, German and French? Will these German, French and British soldiers, who are the ones sacrificing the most numbers of lives for other countries who aren’t contributing and doing their fair share, will they will inclined to continue fighting for these other nations? It raised many questions. Will the soldiers really be willing to fight and die for this EU entity?

  16. Davey Brown

    Scrap NATO? The organisation that has kept peace in Europe since WW2? You Europhile fanatics aren’t the brightest bunch are you? The one thing guaranteed to bring further violence to the continent is a rabble of EU storm troopers on the streets. You think the Middle East insurgencies have been bad? You haven’t seen anything compared to what will happen if you DARE to put your occupation army in my homeland. Idiots!

    • Christos Mouzeviris

      The idiot is you here my friend!! NATO and the Warsaw Pact were the reasons that Europe was divided for decades, and so many times we nearly had another war!! NATO is a remnant of the post war trauma… Time to move on!!! PS: You do not mind American troops in your country, do you? So why would you mind Swedish, Polish or German? Ah, and while we are at it, the Akrotiri and Dekeleia British Bases in Cyprus should be scrapped and be returned to the Cypriots, or in the best case scenario be transformed in bases for the European army! If you do not like foreign troops in your country, you should practice what you preach and get the hell out of other countries. It is disgraceful one EU nation to have military bases in another EU nation, if this is not for common pan-European defense scheme!!! Yes?

    • catherine benning

      Well put, Christos, you have my complete backing on that.

      NATO is a face card. It covers the war machine of the US as a con man covers his plans to cheat. Europe needs a defence force. And there is no need for conscription.

    • IgnoRantJack

      NATO is a useful alliance for us, the US pays 75% of the bill in any case and for a long time meant European countries didn’t have to pull their weight militarily speaking. An EU Defense Force could strengthen NATO by boosting the effectiveness of EU defense spending. The US would then have even less excuse to remain stationed in Europe and might then further draw down its military commitments in the EU, which they’re doing anyway as part of the ‘pivot’ towards the Pacific. A stronger more capable Europe would be good thing for the US when it comes to joint international (UN BLOODY MANDATED!) operations. And to be fair we’re already seeing EU members take a greater role in international affairs, such as in Libya.

      Oh, and as a side note, I wonder if there would even be a Greek Cypriot Republic at all if the UK wasn’t there? Who knows.

    • Matteo De Chaira

      Totally agree with you!

    • Elijah

      NATO must be shrunk down but it is still need but it must shrunk down to a smaller size

  17. David Fuzzey

    No…we do not mind American troops here :D…it it continental troops we do not want here :|

  18. David Fuzzey

    Mabey we should send the unemployed to then South Coast with digging gear….Chanel widening :)

  19. catherine benning

    If you want to read a good, up to date, book on the war games of the US get the book ‘America and the Imperialism of Ignorance.’ It is well written and researched. It’s by Andrew Alexander. It tells you where they have been what they intend and how they will do it. The author is a British journalist, who had unfettered access to Russian archives.

    It broadens the horizons enormously.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/America-Imperialism-Ignorance-Foreign-Policy/dp/1849542953

  20. Debating Europe

    Davey, Christos and David – please keep the debate civil or we’ll have to lock the thread (i.e. there is no reason to call anyone an idiot). Also: Davey, the suggestion that NATO might not survive did not come from the EU – it came from the former US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, who said that the generation of US politicians that remember NATO’s role in the Cold War is now retiring, and their successors may not be so happy with the US having to foot 75% of the bill for NATO. The argument (coming from the US, not from Europe) was that Europeans must start spending more on defence or NATO will be in trouble.

  21. Hasan Özdemir

    Debating Europe, You are creating very interesting and actual and intellectual debating subjects really. İ celebrate you for all of them. Please go on. Meanwhile US and Europe is a whole for defense. Doubt does not need. We should trust NATO.

  22. Bastian

    An EU army should be voluntary and for deployment out of EU area only. Any respective treaty should forbid actions of such an army against any of EU member states.

    In case, a robust defence of Europe is necessary, the national armed forces should remain the main pillar. For such a case structures for coordinate European defence are needed. For this a reorganization of NATO is necessary. European defence cannot remain at the mercy of the USA/Pentagon. Of course, the Transatlantic elements of the alliance can remain, but independent of the European structure.

    Unfortunately, the main obstacle for an independent European defence is Germany which is still living in the consciousness of a defeated nation. The sovereignty of Germany is still not compareable with that of the UK or France, not to speak about the neutrals in Europe (e.g. Switzerland, Finland). Further, its relatively weak armed forces are structurally and politically tightly bound to the Pentagon. On the other hand, Germany has the greatest potential in Europe when it comes to military actions and war, at least it is this what history tells us.

    My conviction is, that only with free, independent and self-responsible member states can the EU have a future. That holds for defence as well as for the common currency and other areas, and excludes the EU as a centralized super-state. Countries which cannot cooperate on such a level should not be even considered as members.

    • catherine benning

      @Bastian:

      Europe, if it wants to be an independent entity with a political ambition that is in tune with its people, has no choice but to have a united defence force.

      I agree, that those who do not feel they can commit solidly to a united Europe as an all encompassing way forward, then they should take steps to seriously debate their preferences.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUryRgQR0W8

      And from a financial point of view, there has to be a complete rethink about how Europe can protect itself from sabotage of its monetary system in order to ensure this downfall and duplicity never affects it again. Financial warfare is the modern form of battle.

      This following discussion was two years ago. Does any of it ring true?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXzJpi4E30U

    • Bastian

      Certainly, Cathrine, but it depends on what we understand under “united defene force”. Given the experiences with Brussels in the last two decades I increasingly come to the conclusion that taking more and more tasks from the nation states and “pooling” (centralizing) it in Brussels is the wrong way to make Europe strong. Brussels as a heterogenous supranational bureaucracy often only serves its own petit interests, detached from the interests of its member states.

      On the other hand, I do agree with those who say Europe needs common action in certain areas. Hence the idea of a kind of Rapid Reaction Force under a “pooled” EU command for external missions and only for this. The Brussels bureaucracy should never get an instrument to use coercion against its members.

      The main military capacity of Europe should remain with its nation states. For cases of serious threats on Europe structures should exist to bring the national forces together for common robust defence. This should not depend on NATO. The latter should only come into play when the West as a whole is attacked.

      Although I am strictly against US dominance and do agree with most of your criticism concerning the US, I believe Europe has a responsibility for the security of its historical overseas branches (both Americas, Australia and South Africa). This responsibility should be taken care of by NATO. Europe must be free of US tutelage but also show responsibility for the security of the West as a whole.

      I do not think, like the US obviously does, that the West is responsible for global security. This should be the responsibility of the UN.

    • catherine benning

      We had some very quiet news at a strange time of day here on the arms sales agreement with Arab countries Middle of the night. It told us the UK is uniting with some Arab nations on arms sales and defence issues. Of course it wasn’t clear. Never is.

      Read all about it.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/9655254/David-Cameron-defends-legitimate-arms-deals-during-Gulf-states-tour.html#

      And he tells us, Human Rights, are not an issue. And all countries have the right to defend themselves with our help. Except, of course, Iran, Cuba, Palestine. I could go on of course.

      What it means is, you have the right to defend yourself, unless we decide you could defend yourself against us.

      Then there is the US with the Japanese uniting in war games for the islands.

      http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/despite-tensions-u-s-and-japan-begin-a-new-set-of-war-games/

      Sounds as if that economist on the RT interview I put up recently knew what he was talking about.

      Europe needs its own ‘independent’ defence force.

  23. Jovan Ivosevic

    28 logisitical chains, 28 command and control centers, 28 increasingly redundant units working together is much more expensive as well as ineffective as one single army. You get a more effective fighting force for the same amount of money, or you can get the same level of effectiveness for a lot less with a single European Army. EU states are pledged to defend one another, and war between any of them in this day and age is unthinkable.

    A single army makes sense economically as well as militarily. The only thing that must happen prior to that is the democratization of the European Union so that its President, whether Mr. Van Rumpuy or whoever occupies the position of the EU Army’s civilian commander, is democratically accountable to the citizens of the Union.

  24. Hasan Özdemir

    Cheaper is not safer. A army is not interest only power. The History must educate our any more. We have seen two World Wars in Europe. 28 Commands are much better than single command, even Van Rompuy. Because the uncontrolled power is not a power.

  25. Omar Mateiro

    NATO and even ONU are overrated in which concerns global defense or nations organization, as we can very well see from the last flop about the situation on Syria. We should not rely on others to defend or organize us thus we should have an army of our own, even if it is just for economic reasons or to balance de scale of power and continue to offer our EU institucional support towards whoever needs or asks for it worldwide as we have been doing allready through treaties and agreenments.

  26. Hasan Özdemir

    The situation on Syria would have changed even if Europe had have owned the army of itself. Syria is a small bait but Europe is World and Europe can be able to ruin only by itself, not US, Russia or China.

  27. Christos Mouzeviris

    The solution is more investment OUTSIDE NATO by European nation states!!! We do not need a military alliance with the US anymore. Let them send their children to be slaughtered or become butchers in their own wars..

  28. Vicente Silva Tavares

    The British euroceptics still are dreaming about the old Empire. It is a pity for them they still did not convinced the Americans to join the Commonwealth. Why you just don’t go away?

  29. Vicente Silva Tavares

    To both Davids, why you far rights cannot convince the Brits to have a referendum? I am sure there is that option available in the democratic system of UK. And about Churchil, you probably do not know him very well. First he was an European Federalist. Second, he was not always right, just study the disaster of Gallipoli. Ask the Aussies and NZ. Last but not least, he was a guy always changing of party and once a high defender of the working class to move later to the Tories. What an amazing life!

  30. David Fuzzey

    oh so being against your union is far right….what a plonker!!!….Churchill did not think we should be in…it was for you continentals.

  31. David Fuzzey

    Davey…they can`t handle hose who have a different view….aparantly they have the `only` answer.

  32. Ozcan Ulusan

    Now even Albania joined the NATO, i think Europe should seriously consider its own sovereign army.

  33. Vicente Silva Tavares

    Hasan Ozdemir, I have to say that I am in a long term, in favour of an European Federalism. However, on a short term, I don’t think EU is that good for Southern countries. I think most of theses countries wanted to join EU for two main reasons: one, they were countries that had left dictatorships and the EU integration was a guaranty of Democracy would last. The second reason was the so called “integration funds” that Portugal, Spain and Greece benefited so much. We learned now, that the funds were not very well used and after the funds started being cut, these countries are in economic crisis and without the tools to fight back. With imposed EU custom duties between 3 and 6%, companies prefer to displace their industries to Asia and import back the manufactured goods. On the day Turkey have these customs duties even though you have low salaries, will be even cheaper in China or India. On the other hand, China, India or Brazil charge 40 to 100% custom duties to European goods. I still remember that with the entry of Portugal in the EU, our Steel Mill was closed down. Our major ship builder was destroyed and now only lives from ship maintenance. Our train wagons builder was bought by a foreign company and destroyed. The European funds paid to destroy olive trees (to not compete with the sunflower oil of the Northern countries), vineyards (to not compete with the French and German wine) and our fish fleet. In old times, 80% of our fish we ate was fished by Portuguese trawlers, now we import most of the fish from everywhere. The Northern economists and from Brussels convinced our politicians that we could live on tourism and an economy of services. However, look at Northern countries, they did not destroyed their industry. Germany is an industrial country. Holland, Sweden, Norway and Finland are all industrial countries. I am starting thinking that was not innocent their advices. We would become their clients, importing their goods of high value and export sun, wine, cork and things of low value added. Our trade deficit became paramount. They did not want us, the Southern countries investing in industry, because with our lower salaries we would become their competitors. Every time I speak with a German they always say the same: your country is very pretty, you can live on tourism. As if it was possible to live on a economic field that mostly has 3 months of major activity. That was the disgrace of Greece, Spain and Portugal, thinking that tourism would solve their economic problems. Beware Hasam, you may be better leading a West Asia/ Middle East block. And remember, industry is the basis of economic growth.

    • José

      Ágree with this vision. I also am Portuguese abd the feeling from our people is suberb described by Tavares . We , as Europeans , still have a long way to travel . First there will be hugely important that other people , like germans , try to understood our position and not just keep a blind with their political position. And with this I do not mean that we , as a people didn’t had some guilty , but as TAVARES told, in the past we have a shipyards , now we buy submarines from Germany , in the past we built tranis , now we buy from Germany or Netherlands , that’s the truth …

  34. Hasan Özdemir

    Mr. Tavares İ know theese very well and all of them is a fact. Besides İ understand that you have a deep knowledge about the economy of EU and probably the economy of World also. Meanwhile İ don’t agree with you, because if the problems are big, the structures which can be able to solute the economical crisis of World have to be big also. Therefore we need big structures how bigger than nation states and one of them is EU too. Capitalism is only a tool and actually it is neutral as individual.we know it works how for two centuries and History does not come back and technology can sublimate like the space technology of U.S.S.R. in past or like CERN for future. Nation States is inadeaquate for improvement of science and technology and circulatory of resulted goods. We have to be in solidarity for solution. You know we have a lot of nuclear states in our planet and therefore an army is odd and unnecessary any more for Europe. Turkey has a passion for Europe for two centuries and reason is not only economical. Actually reason is mostly political like you. A lot of cops were made in Turkey and we want to live a democracy like you whatever its costs for our.

  35. Vicente Silva Tavares

    Mr Hasam Ozdemir, accordingly to a report I read ( http://www.pewglobal.org/2010/09/07/turks-downbeat-about-their-institutions/ ) only 28% of Turks have a good opinion about EU and only 54% (2009) still wants their country to become a member of EU. As you know, there is a religious revivalism all over the Islamic world and no wonder the Turkish government is backed by a religious party. I do not believe Erdogan has its main aim the EU membership. I do think its strategic target is being a power in the Middle East. I can understand that the slice of the Turkish people who are not very religious favours the EU integration, but I also believe they are a minority without power to impose their views to most of the population. Kamal Ataturk was a modernizer while these religious parties want to go back to the past.

  36. Hasan Özdemir

    You are so right Mr. Tavares. But those are cyclical tendecies completely, not strategic. İf Eurozone overcomes the current crisis,please believe me 28 percent rate will change to 68 or 78 percent immediatly. Turcs are pragmatical and practical like Americans and they want to become richer than now. Mr. Erdoğan is so also. Consequently He is a politician and his target is not religious as basic, in contrast his reason is for markets which by Arab Spring will improve. Because if the economy of Turkey decrease any crisis, He can not elect as a President in 2014. Meanwhile Religious or Political Fundamentalism is a risk for Turkey always as natural. But theese are a danger even for EU or China. Mr. Erdoğan is not against Atatürk, in contrast He loves Atatürk actually. But as You know Politicians are variable

  37. Spyros Tsakos

    Yes a European Defense Force should exist, but first some requirements must be met:
    1)EU must develop a common external policy in defensive matters(the EU members may need to loose tights with NATO, we are not in cold war anymore, furthermore many millions of euro, pounds e.t.c. were spend by European countries to join USA in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan).
    2)The economic condition of EU must be improved and this is mandatory.
    3)Another problem is the disagreements and mistrust that are present these days against the EU and between it’s countries, we must strengthen and advance unity inside the EU(especially these days and from now on) before we take this step.
    4)Last but not least, the primary objective of this army must be defensive only, it should not replace the state armies and under no condition it should take any actions against any country or any citizen of the EU and Europe in general.

  38. Vicente Silva Tavares

    Religious fundamentalism in Europe is very unlikely. Europeans are very secular. In China? I don’t believe. Chinese are the most greedy people I know. If they could, they would work 24h a day.

  39. Hasan Özdemir

    İ mean political fundamentalism for China, not religious and it will realise during first economical crisis in my opinion.Because if you have not any job to work, you do not work like in 1929. Once upon a time Germany was the most intellectual society with Kant, Hegel, Nietche, Stirner, Bach, Bethoven, Wagner etc. But the wisdom of them could not prevent barbarianity. Breivik Case had exposed again posibility.Besides Vatican and Opus Dei might occur a religious fundamentalism like the last of Europe. İf Conditions change, World changes.

  40. Michael Tsikalakis

    Sure, European Army is necessary but first things first. Political Union is what we should look for. With Political Union, European sovereignty will be evolved and that will be the base for a common European Army.

  41. Bill Zafeiropoulos

    I think we are out of subject! The question is if we need a European army and answer is 100% YES. Armed with 100% European technology weapons . How else will we defend? “Ci vis pacem para bellum ” and if we think others will do this for us……

  42. Coro Cosimo

    La Nato non ha più ragione di esistere, non è igienico un sistema militare con una testa e 27 capacchioni. Meglio un esercito europeo

    NATO has no reason to exist, it is not hygienic a military system with a head and 27 capacchioni. Better a European army

  43. Kosimin

    NATO has no reason to exist, it is not hygienic a military system with a head and 27 capacchioni. Better a European army
    La Nato non ha più ragione di esistere, non è igienico un sistema militare con una testa e 27 capacchioni. Meglio un esercito europeo

  44. NIEMAND

    Quite frankly, no

    (1) Army is a tool of war. Carl Von Clausewitz said “War is an extension of foreign policy. There is no such thing as European foreign policy so there can’t be a European Army.

    It’s taken Europe half a century to transform (part of) its economic zone into an economic and monetary union and the way things look now, it has failed dramatically. So if 50 years later we’re still talking about the economics of the Union, how many years will it take to deepen integration so much that we can have one common government and common threats/interests?

    (2) Talking about threats. Who is this Army going to protect Europe from? British, Americans and Turks will probably say Russia. But is Russia a threat for Europe? No, it was actual Europe’s biggest opportunity to get an army and natural resources. Without these, you are nothing and your “Army” will only be good for parades. It is sad though that Russia is too big for Europe and a big Europe is too much for the US, so (although a big European state) it will be kept out.

    (3) What is the real threat? For me EMU/EU or whatever it may transform to, is (and should remain) an economic organization of countries that also share a common set of values and a common heritage. We do not need to transform into the U.S. of Europe, since (without Russia to provide military might and resources) we will be the laughing stock for the big players.

    What we really need is to safeguard the common heritage, traditions, religions, build on the values of democracy, freedom of speech, social welfare and improve our living standards through a sensible economic policy.

    Who is threatening our core values? Look no further than your own hometown. Some, in here, talk about a Christian Europe when, at the same time, Rotterdam is a Muslim city and Belgium is becoming African/Muslim country. There are more Moroccans in some Dutch neighborhoods than Dutch.

    If there is one threat, this is uncontrollable tolerance which is changing everything that Europe has been standing for. Altering populations, changing traditions, undermining education, healthcare and social welfare. Yes Europe can be a safe haven for the unfortunates of the world, but not all of them and not at any cost.

    So my humble opinion is that we could create some kind of European border control unit, possibly co-operate further in police work, but army? Absolutely no sense.

  45. Robert Fleming

    Some very sensible, and not so sensible responses above – remember, there is no need for name calling and insults – this is a sensible debate, all views and suggestions are valid and have a place in such a debate.

    For me the answer is yes, we should have a common European Defence Force – the amount of avoidable duplication and expenditure for old national forces in this time of economic austerity and budget cut-backs alone is justification.

    It is true that the European Union needs democratic reform and more accountability, and a legitimate elected presidency, but I think with that in place moves towards constitutionalised federation would be more palatable for many within the EU.
    What is the real argument against it? Preserving national sovereignty? Nationalism was a philosophical political construct that grew out of the American and French Revolutions but was refined in the mid-19th century to bring together the disperate peoples of Germany and Italy and forge those peoples into two into false-construct unified countries out of several smaller states, for the purpose of making them into European powers. Our entire notion of sovereignty and nationality and what is a ‘state’ or ‘country’ comes from that time. Linguistic similarity is not justification for maintaining a nation. Prior to this state or countries were merely the vassal properties which monarchs possessed, and although many subjects felt loyalty to their monarch, a great deal many also did not.

    Just as we see the people of Scotland and Catalonia moving for their independence so too communities in Southern and Northern Italy talk about separation. Corsica, Sardinia, the Basque Country, Gallicia, Andalusia, Brittany, Flanders, Wallonia, Cornwall, Wales, Trentino – they all seek to break their 19th century fictions and return to the local. And why not? You may say strength in numbers – that strength is an accountable and fully elected federal Europe with all people given the right to reset what their local state should be.

    It is true that no state growing smaller will increase its power, influence or economy, but with the growth to superpower status of India and China joining the US, the only way any Europeans can expect to enjoy that influence on geopolitics in as one state. The UK, France, even Germany cannot hope to compete economically, or politically with the new superpowers as individual nations. For Europe to maintain its wealth, standard of living and international influence we need to be one state.

    We generally have common cultural direction and foreign policy interests within the European community, and I think that the Bush-Blair aggression in Iraq has once and for all condemned the notion that nations have the right to act unilaterally with aggression towards other states – in future, all deployments and interventions must come with a consensus of the United Nations (although the Security Council needs reforming to prevent Security Council members vetoing to protect national interests and allies).

    In this situation you would have a European Defence Force capable of intervention to protect the common interests of the European Union, protect the borders and waterways of the Union, act as part of international UN backed peace-keeping or humanitarian operations, but also not ever be deployed in unilateral wars of aggression.

    Do not forget, as many of the posters above that raised the argument ‘who is a threat to Europe?’ and similar purpose based objections – war-fighting is only one small part of what Defence Forces do – much more of their activity is centred on responding to natural disasters and other emergencies – don’t forget Europe is home to several dangerous faults and earthquake zones, as well as three potential supervolcanoes (Etna, Vesuvius & Santorini), Europe is prone to severe flooding in many areas, and the Mediterranean suffers summer wildfires. Defence Forces provide sea and mountain rescue services, distribute aid, and also ensure transportation, water and energy supplies are maintained in the face of disaster or strikes.

    Having said that, whilst there is no obvious state based aggressors likely to threaten the European Union, there are several political and fundamental groups that still pose security risks to the safety of Europeans.

    Note also, I use the title ‘Defence Force’ instead of Army, because I do think it should have constitutional limitations on its usage. For example, the Australian Army has constitutional limitations on the Government’s ability to deploy it against Australian citizens in even of strikes, riots or civil disobedience – that is civilian police responsibility, and I think such limitations on use, as well as limitations on use in unilateral aggression would go along way to appease some of the doubters.

    But returning to the main argument – it is most easily justified on the argument of cost alone. Whilst the $281 billion currently expended separately by all 27 nations of the EU would still not put it in the league of the US ($711 billion, 2011) having this pool of money spent wisely out of one budget would get you more bang for your buck than spending separately. There is also the fact that a unified Defence Force could see a massive reduction in duplication, meaning that 200 billion could be stretched even further. Why does Europe need 20+ alpine warfare regiments, when it could have 2 or 3. Why 20+ airforces when it could have one? Better procurement and expenditure could even see more money dedicated towards a re-balancing of the US-EU commitment to the trans-Atlantic alliance.

    Still the creation and implementation of a European Army does have several hurdles to overcome – Britain’s insistence on maintaining an independent nuclear deterrent, Europe’s relationship with NATO, the United States and the United Nations. The need for constitutions limits, checks and balances and a need for more democratic accountability within the European Union.

    There is some interesting articles on the subject here:
    http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/09/19/an_all_europe_army
    http://www.thinkdefence.co.uk/2012/11/more-eu-defence/
    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/nilegardiner/100180784/eu-proposals-for-a-european-army-would-destroy-nato-and-threaten-the-transatlantic-alliance/
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/18/eu-foreign-defence-policy-overhaul

    • catherine benning

      @Robert Fleming:

      As you have probably noted in your scan of this thread, I’m already a convert to the notion of a European Defence Force.

      However, what a well written and researched post you have put up. A great read. And in the main 98% I agree.

      My doubts lie with being glued to NATO and the US war machine. What we need is freedom from that enslavement as quickly as we can muster. The UK is tied to their war practice because the top brass there make a great deal of money out of the sales of arms in cahoots with their US allies.

    • Robert Fleming

      Well I would certainly say ‘glued’ to NATO and the US war machine is wrong, and you are right to say so. But the US does share many common cultural, moral and philosophical interests with most Europeans, even though there are many within the US that abuse foreign policy for capital purpose, but even so when moderate regimes prevail in Washington we are better off having them as friends than rivals. Therefore I would argue NATO, or at least a new re-imagining of the trans-Atlantic alliances, is still something for us to consider. But perhaps we need to ensure the Americans realise it is a re-imagined 1 to 1 relationship between two superpowers acting in mutual interest, rather than the US doing several small European states a favour by protecting them from Soviet communism – as I think many in the US still perceive NATO to be. Whilst I agree that the capitalistic approach to having a profitable military-industrial complex as an economic provider – which has heavily influenced foreign policy hawks in both the UK and US in the late 20th century and early 21st century -needs to be addressed, I do not think this is the only facet to NATO. We do need a re-balancing of power, authority, and sovereignty, and ensure the democratic voice returns to a more influential position than it has become under the ‘war on terror’ scare-mongering of the 2000s, a unified Europe and an allied, but responsibly checked US could truly become the force for good the original founders of NATO imagined in 1949 before military-industrial hawks and ‘reds under the beds ‘MacCarthyists’ turned the cold war into a profit turning industry.

  46. Dennis F.

    I think it would be a godd idea to establish european defence forces, along the administrative lines of an advanced common security an defence policy. But I guess before it comes to this point, a democraticly legitimated federation becomes necessary (indipendently from the question whether to found common armed forces or not). More sovereignty and the possibility to save money in order to have e.g. fewer defence programs can lead to a serious motivation to move towards such a european army.

  47. James Taylor

    “Another reason an EU force is a bad idea is intelligence sharing. We and our true allies in the US just cannot trust EU members with sensitive material.” This Europhobe comment made me chuckle, why? One word ‘WIKILEAKS’. The single greatest intelligence blunder in history is unfortunately an American one. Allowing one lowly grunt with psychological problems access to such a wealth of sensitive material that include private diplomatic cables (why does anyone in the US Army need to see those?) does not suggest to me a high level of competence.

  48. Matt Reynolds

    I’d like David Cameron to bring this up with Angela Merkel and get the French onside. It would give Europe a huge boost financially if we pulled our resources together it would not only be an extremely powerful political weapon but we would save money. For example each nation gives 7.5-12.5% of there military to a united Europe defense force which could be used in Mali right now. then you could cut another 7.5-12.5% of the military.

    • Joe Thorpe

      7.5 to 12.5% of nothing is still nothing & 7.5 to 12.5% of a lot is still a lot so the countries that are doing the heavy lifting will end up on the hook for most of the EU that will get away scot free from any obligation to the first priority of any government which is to protect its people. The UK has a large budget as it has many diverse priorities & dependants that rely on it for their security & that doesnt extend to contributing more to an EU defense for than the likes of Bulgaria or Finland.

  49. EuroBrit

    Europe is not independent as long as it relies on the US for defense. The Cold War is over – NATO is obsolete. American taxpayers should not be paying for our defense, especially while they lack so many things we take for granted like universal healthcare. Nor should our soldiers be deployed in support of American interests and foreign policy.

    European countries face the same threats and have the same global interests; it makes perfect sense to have one European military. It would be cheaper, more cohesive and effective than a coalition of national armies, and would ensure self reliance with regards to security. We cannot entrust our security to a foreign power, and we cannot ensure it individually.

    Defense is probably the most obvious area for more integration, since there and many pros and few cons besides nationalistic military nostalgia. Of course A European military can only be considered legitimate with a unified European federal state, and I think that is the real question: one army, one currency, one border, one flag, one Europe. Are you for it or not?

    I am. It doesn’t make me feel any less British; just as I am an Englishman living in a United Kingdom, so too am I a British man living in a European Union. Unity is a good thing, we all benefit from working together.

    • Amadeus

      I agree. I am American and I’m used to living in a megalith. Pros and cons. You ask any American where they’re from and the will say Texas or wherever. Your identity doesn’t change. United we stand; divided we fall.

      As far as NATO is concerned and as far as some above stated. It doesn’t really matter. In case of attack from outside, the US, Europe, Australia and Canada all have a basic common core.

      I see a United EU US alliance being the best for all

    • jbob

      I am an Earthian living in Earth and I think we need an Earth Army to kill aliens with. Obviously there will be lots of corruption in this one Earth Army / Government, and lots of infighting between different cultural and religious beliefs, but we need it to make a federal earth for our gal-axial interests. Earth faces the same threats and has the same deep space interests as other planets; it makes perfect sense to have one Earth Military. It would be cheaper, more cohesive and effective than a coalition of national armies, and would ensure self reliance with regards to security. North Korea can be in charge of the nuclear ballistics, US in charge of the Navy, EU in charge of footmen, Iraq in charge of logistics etc etc. A unified Earth military can only be legitimate with a unified Earth federal state, called Coke presents Earth, and I think that is the real question here boy1!1!!

  50. Mario Fernandes

    Well, it is clear that some current EU member cannot be part of the EU Army otherwise we can take serious risks of beying exposed in case of combat depending if this would comprise this particular state interests. In any case the Defense mechanism should be driven by all states Defense Ministers and People, in case of an EU member be attacked by any “outsider” then the Defense would be put in action authomatically, however go to war would attack would require a People’s referendum to avoid past mistakes. NATO should be desmantled and EU has to modernise and increment their equipment substancially if we expect a fully operative Defense forces.

  51. Olly

    I think we should because It would be one of the strongest armies and we won’t have to worry

  52. Grant

    I say yes. I see myself as British and Europain. I see us going this way already as time goes on more and more laws and rules are being passed by the EU gov, witch all the EU countries go by. So as the years go bye it will become easier and easier to become one state and have one army.

  53. Barry Curtis

    Fellow Europeans,
    European Defence has always been a major challenge, in bringing nations together in mutal support of each other.
    The ecconomic downturn has shown that budgets are tight, with the existing resources that all the European armed forces have currently. Future defence needs in Europe would require all Countries to reduce static defence and build a highly mobile joint force structure and forces. That Non-EU Countries can join without feeling intimidated.
    With America moving away from Europe and concentrating on Asia, especially on China and North Korea. Europe needs to take charge of its own security and base future defence on the current Nato structure, and to be neutral in not being part of the European Union. The trouble with Europe, is that all the time America has been supporting our interests, the mindset has been too casual in expecting America to dig us out of any problems that we have found difficult to solve.
    Any future structure needs to be 90% European and 10% American, not the other way around.

  54. Barry Curtis

    Following my previous viewpoints:
    I believe contingency thinking needs to be organised now, just in case Europe ends up having to supply military formations to far off lands that may come under a UN resolution.
    Good example being North Korea, their Leader Kim Jong-un is pushing his Country into the abyss of war, similar to what happened back in 1950.
    If the unfortunate set of circumstances do happen, how would Europe react. Because it may set a path for closer links or it may drive a wedge between European Countries, in future thinking about a European Army forever.
    Thank-you for taking the time to read my input, we will all see what the future brings. May it be a positive move towards what we wish for in the future.

  55. Alex Wood

    Personal opinion, in a world clouded by bad judgement and racism of people the SAME RACE, just because they speak a different language doesn’t make them a difference race! The only option for the survival of the independent cultures in Europe is to band together into not just a single entity but a conglomeration of states supporting and aiding each other in all matters and this includes our defense!
    One state language to become the modern equivalent of Latin would be English seeing as how many states have it as their second language already, I know this will upset the French but it’s simply a fact of life. Much blood has been spilt between the different nations of Europe in the past but that does not mean enemies are forever forced against one another! The future is brighter than it has ever been, the age of technological advances that surpass the industrial revolution that started in Britain are soon to occur again.
    If any German, Frenchman or Englishman etc wishes to retain the glories of old then they must unite towards one goal, the strength of Europe economically, strategically and technologically relies upon this. By all means keep cultural differences, speak your mother-tongues, keep your rituals and traditions and pride in your individual nations and their histories, but remember that the future is not in one nation it is in all of us. It is too much to ask in this current world order to ask for the unification of the human races towards a unified order because of racism and nationalism but Europe is predominantly of the white race. If America can unite country formed of various races into the most powerful force in the world why can’t Europe do it when most of its nation states are over 95% of the same race?
    An Army of the European Union would need not be wholly in the power of a foreign power, it would be united with equal numbers of troops from the various countries relieving the strain that the British are now feeling to reduce the size of our armed forces in this modern age. Without the individual whims of politicians such as Tony Blair to force our armed forces to go to war illegally, the army would be controlled by joint coalition we will not have any more Iraq’s.

    Europe’s reputation as a whole will be vastly improved internationally as our power will become more respected than it ever was, the Falklands becoming a base for European power will prevent Argentina from claims to it with the backing of 28 Nation States and the influence they represent! We may be a failing Imperial Power but through our friends, and they ARE friends regardless of your petty racism in the European Union that have helped bail out our banks, have given millions in funds to boost development in our towns and cities as well as the protection of internationally recognised SSSI’s in our land.

    By getting rid of this arrogance that we the British seem to have about the past, remember that the British aren’t as populous as a percentage of the worlds population back then now, we don’t have the numbers we once did. Europe’s birthrates are falling consistantly throughout Europe how we deal with this must be resolved together because it is WHITE nations that are slowly deteriorating not any others. Call me a racist if you will but I see not problem with marriage between various races and mixed races as it shows integration, but I DO have a problem with areas of my country and others morphing through mass immigration into colonies of other countries, and this includes the British colonies in Spain this has to end. We’re watching the slow death of a civilisation, the Roman Republic turned into an Empire before it collapsed due to lower birth rates compared to the barbarians enabling them to overrun vast areas of land as Rome didn’t produce enough soldiers to defend it.

  56. matthew

    A european army would include Russia. Nato is dividing europeans, and turning europeans against each other. Nato is a world war 2 relic preventing european harmony and unity.

    • Johannes

      I completely agree. Russians are Europeans in all aspects. NATO is just an american instrument to control us and get our soldiers killed for their own oil.

    • Amadeus

      I agree. I am American and I’m used to living in a megalith. Pros and cons. You ask any American where they’re from and the will say Texas or wherever. Your identity doesn’t change. United we stand; divided we fall.

      As far as NATO is concerned and as far as some above stated. It doesn’t really matter. In case of attack from outside, the US, Europe, Australia and Canada all have a basic common core.

      I see a United EU US alliance being the best for all

  57. AKMA Khan

    Yes, we should have common European Army to save money in the long run and spend more on people education, housing and other social benefits.

  58. Duckman

    No, Really there shouldnt be a centralised european army. Especially with the incompetent buffoons in Brussels being at its head.

    Each member nation should keep its own army for obvious reasons, You all say “We shouldnt send our boys to fight in Americas wars” Why the hell should we send our lads off to fight in a war for Europe ? There is no difference between the two, NATO kept Europe alive for 5 decades, Now you just want to discard it? What happens when we do that and lose that little thing called Americas nuclear deterrant? the UK France and Germany dont have the capabilities to deter nuclear strikes on a strategic scale.

    The european union was only meant to be a financial institution yet now they try and take more rights away from domestic governments. Europe is a dead fish, ITs failing badly and when one country decides to leave, it will cause a ripple and that ripple will tear Germany apart seeing as they are the most entwined with this mistake.

  59. Joe Thorpe

    The same few countries would do all the heavy lifting while the subsidy loving junkies in the EU would sit back & enjoy the benefits. We wont be joining it anyway we will sign multilateral agreements with countries that have a genuine capacity to share the burden & will work with the EU not for the EU should any allies be threatened by a bullying neighbour. If the 27 other members of the EU wish to have a military pact outside of the structures of the EU as was achieved with the Financial transaction arrangement so be it.

  60. Arnold van Troost

    I´m from The Netherlands and I think we defiantly should have an EU army, navy and air force but also an strong and capable EU intelligence service for several reasons.

    1) We lean too heavily on the Americans for our security. Don´t get me wrong, I love the Americans (my girlfriend is American) and they did a lot for us before and after WO II. But in the end the USA will always choose for their own interest first (which is logical) which aren’t always in our best interest.

    2) Europe is the biggest economic block in the world, so it also should have an army and intelligence service to match.

    3) Besides the threat of terrorism we also should be able to counter upcoming heavy weights like China and Brazil and even Russia and India if they are able to overcome certain obstacles.

    Unfortuanly in The Netherlands a lot of people aren´t up for it, most of them think security is an “far from their bed show” and don`t really care about defense because they think nothing can or will happen. On the other side the paradox is that people want to do more peace keeping and short quick interventions. The reason why I find this a paradox is because of the way how my country has been cutting down on our defense forces in the last decade. It´s shocking since we don´t even live up anymore to the agreed percentage we should spent on defense for NATO. So if you want to focus on these two things you still should have a capable army.

    People think that as a nation that we are to small to matter, it´s hard to explain but a lot of people here are too naïve. They are thinking too much in a “old war” mindset. Like countries invading each other. For some reason they ignore the dangers of rogue states, cyber warfare, terrorism, but also future conflicts that can develop out economical interest, shipping lanes (for example a northern shipping lane) and/or conflicts about raw materials and water. I guess it´s mainly because our politicians aren’t capable enough to really explain why we as Europeans need better security. Although in the case of The Netherlands I also think people don´t care because Brussels decides a lot but never really informs the European citizens what they are doing. There for a lot of people don´t trust Brussels and basically say “no” to everything more out of a protest.

    I really hope one day that we will have a EU army and intelligence agency, besides it´s not like we have to start from scratch. We could reform the European side of NATO and perhaps reform “Interpol” or add the intelligence branch. If Europe decides to do this we also should invest more into our defense industry, to make sure we keep an technological advantage, but also increasing the quality of Europeans weapon systems/platforms. We also should stop than with buying military material that´s not European. Plus, I think it also would be a good thing for the job market in the European Union. I know what I´m saying is far far far away in the future but hopefully one day it will happen. The dangers in this world are very real and we need to protect ourselves against it as good as we can.

  61. Alex

    I think we could introduce a defensive only part-army with let s say 800k troops,which are only for the defence and not allowed to get involved out of area.This way it would be possible to respect the constitutions of the memberstates as defending a treaty should be covered by any constitution of the memberstates.The national parlaments could still maintain there offensive capacities if they want to.So French and British could keep like 30-50k troops for deployment as this countries seem to get an inferiority complex if they don t have air carft carriers and staff.
    A complete european army would fail,as the Germans would never allow deployment of troops without a bundestag mandate,so the group of troops germans are involved would have been for defence only.Imo the EU-troops would need nuclear capacities also to be emancipated from other entities(russian can only act in this” we do it our way” because they have nuclear backup.
    The benefits of a european army would be that it would be cheaper and stronger as everything would be planed by a single authority.the most important benefit would be most likely that europe could be independent of the usa and wouldn t be forced into “the evil imperialistic west” as it is seen in many countries.In Russia and China they still see us as “the others”.it s always we and the others,so it would give us the capacities to defend europe on our own and we wouldn t be seen as the us little vassals.this way we could have closer partnerships with the us but also with russia,china and india also as that countries would see us as a part of the “enemy block” but a neutral block in the middle,between the usa and the 3 other countries

  62. Joe Thorpe

    So are you prepared to wait for an intercontinental ballistic missile to be heading your way before you take action to try & take it down or do you think that maybe it would be better to take it down before it takes off? remember that very few countries in the world have the capability to take out a missile travelling at say twice the speed of sound & if half a dozen are coming at once how can you be sure one wont get through? The UK’s type 45 destroyers can take multiples of missiles the size of footballs travelling at several times the speed of sound. These ships cost us over a Billion pounds each & we only have 6 of them which isn’t enough to protect the UK let alone the rest of Europe & they will be deployed to defend our new aircraft carriers when they are ready so its not even certain they will even be in European waters if a rogue state launched at attack at a European Union state. We would be left with just one course of action & that would be to return an attack by Iran or North Korea with a reciprocal attack launched from a Trident Submarine. With that scenario I think its better to have expeditionary forces rather than reactionary forces don’t you? Be sure France would do the same although I think they would be delivering their forces from planes rather than surprising someone with a seaborne response

  63. Alex

    That s why i said a european state has to have nuclears as most potential enemystates have them.northkorea wouldn t attack a nuclear armed european federation neither would iran as they know that a single nuclear would probably bring their whole country under the surface of the see.I mean they have dictatorships there.the only thing a dictator wants is secure his power.none of them would use nuclear on europe,us,russia,china etc as this would most likely cause the loss of his power.that s why i don t believe that assad used chemical weapons.he ain t an idiot.he would have know that this action would lead to an intervention and make him lose his power.dictators are cruel but not stupid.I also said that the countries who have offensive potential should be able to keep those,but all countries should put up contingents for this defensive force.to make it clear.u could still have your royal navy,army etc ,but additional troops for the european forces.could name them continental defense forces or something.those 2 could be independent of each other.cdf would be for defense only and could be lead be europe directly.royal navy,army would be still let by the countries parlament.

    • Joe Thorpe

      Do you realise how much a Nuclear Weapons system costs? Our replacement for Trident will cost around £100 Billion pounds over its lifetime. I cant imagine too many of the whingers in Europe will want to cough up for that do you? & you cant rely on our deterrent or the French to come to anyone’s rescue because these are weapons of last resort, we would only use them if we were attacked or our interests were attacked, we aren’t likely to fire them off at Iran, China, North Korea or Russia because they rolled tanks into Belgium, Finland or Greece, that’s not how it works, they know we wont & they know we know that they know we wont. Europe has to get real & do something about its security. Europe doesn’t need expeditionary forces it is only required by treaty to act in a defensive mode. If member states want to act outside of their national borders to defend their territories & interests & they have the means to do this then that is an issue for them & those alone.

  64. Duckyyy

    So You want a centralised European Army with the Nuclear capacity to destroy any threat ? Isnt that the reason we are arguing with multiple states over there nuclear programmes. Europe isn’t like the US, We have 10x the barriers to get passed number 1 being language. Europe doesn’t need an army, We need allies. We could wipe Iran out , North Korea too, But why don’t we? Because they have allies. Nukes solve nothing and they certainly aren’t an answer. The UK can defend herself, France can defend herself Germany too, All the countries that would vote in a European army are the countries to lean too heavily on NATO and European countries able to project force. They should have there own armies funded by there own tax payers and maintained by their own companies before any form of EU bloc army is even considered.

    • Joe Thorpe

      We dont have ten times the barriers, we all have one each to look after, most EU countries would sooner spend money on social issues & getting re-elected than do the unpopular things like spend money on something the public can’t see like defense, intelligence gathering & cyber capabilities. GCHQ wasnt given to us, we didnt find it under a mushroom no one pays for our global network of embassies & consuls that keep the country informed & those countries as a consequence know our agenda too. Its called diplomacy. The EU is too diverse to share intelligence with most would end up in the hands of the Russians or Chinese within 10 minutes of a meeting on intelligence being concluded

  65. Samuel Tandorf

    Every country needs an Army. That does not mean we have to deploy it on the slightes threat. Since the member states all have armies anyway, this is not new. We’re just combing forces to be strong and efficient and to support our views. The Americans do it big time and laugh at us at the same time.

  66. Duckyyy

    They laugh at us so we need a powerful army? Great logic there matey. Might aswel just compare genital size while your at it.

  67. Pietrko

    Imagine a world with more than 7 000 000 000 people, where resources are consumed faster than earth can provide them.
    Futhermore, assume that you live in world’s most wealthy region, together with 8% of earth population and you are consuming 22% world resources.
    Oh.. did I mention you have no army, your region is one of the greatest importer of raw materials and the rest of world population is increasing and strugling for better life?

    Certainly in that kind of world there will be no threats at all! – beacuse everyone know that humans are the most peace-loving beings on the planet

    Huh, thanks to God that we live in instead EU…

  68. Barry Curtis

    Fellow Europeans,
    The European Defence debate will always stir national interests in staying independent, its only natural. The economic downturn has shown that budgets will always be tight, Europe needs to cooperate with each other better. I know NATO is not the image that Europe wants for the future, the only way this could change is to form the European Defence Treaty Organisation (EDTO) and to take over the existing structures that comes under NATO command. Its not a matter of how many intercontinental ballistic missiles Europe has, its being able to collectively defend our self s against any potential aggressors. And to promote peace through diplomacy rather than armed force, without feeling intimidated the world would be a better place.

  69. Joe Thorpe

    One nations enemy is another nations friend :-( This will never get off the ground

  70. Osman

    Not like if anyone ever is going to try attacking Europe. Why Europeans still have army anyway. Do British still see France as a threat or maybe Italians think Germany is a threat or maybe all Europeans think America is a threat. This is ridiculous unless Europeans are expecting terrorists from Middle East, Cacausians or Asia to army up and come invade their land European people are just wasting their money on some useless war machines. You’re spending money to gain power but power doesn’t mean happiness. Maybe this is why Europea is getting smaller every year.

    • Michael Lingard

      You think like a British person before the battle of Britain. Just because there is no threat now does not mean there will not be any in the future. “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.

  71. Michael Lingard

    Lets face it, the U.S.A. is falling fast. In order to protect the people of the European Union you should increase your military as a whole. NATO will slowly disappear as the U.S. drops. Don’t do what the U.S. did when they cut military funding, it ended with them getting sneak attacked by the Japs on pearl harbor. It’s better to very slowly increase funding each year to make sure you’re ready for whatever comes at you. U.S.A. is getting very corrupted and they won’t be around forever. Before it’s too late or something happens that dangers many EU citizens, you should increase the overall funding of the military. Not by a whole lot but slowly increase the amount each year.

  72. Edmund Farrell

    The UK should make a choice. Either stay in and cooperate with an EU military (and the many other EU hopes and plans) or leave the EU altogether. The UK tactic of staying in the EU and undermining it from within is not sustainable long term.

    • kermit

      UK should leave….. and form a Union with the US, Canada, Aus and NZ. Oh wait, they already have a military union between them? Well, I guess they should just form an economic one too!

  73. Barry Curtis

    Fellow Europeans,
    Following previous viewpoints that have been mentioned!
    With a NATO that is considered surplus to future requirements, a replacement organisation still needs to be considered that will maintain defence membership for all European nations who operate outside the European Union, good example Norway who is a NATO member only. It would be unfair to concentrate future defence around the European Union, it would leave Norway out in the cold.
    In regards to the UK having to make a choice over EU membership, that would be a future decision that would require a referendum. In the meantime UK thinking has always been about protecting Europe from the dark clouds of war, that will never change in our commitment, because peace in Europe is essential for UK security, now and in the future.

  74. Pietrko

    What is the opinion of European Parliament groups in that matter (having a common army)?
    I would like to ask the members of parliamentary groups to express their opinion
    ( assuming that the respective party has a one, common view on that topic).

  75. Joe Thorpe

    Definitely not. There is no way our armed services should be doing the bidding of the EU. They are for our security & for those we sign bilateral treaties with.

  76. Ed Farrell

    The UK (more perhaps more accurately England) is close to America and other English speaking countries and should perhaps create united Anglosphere armed forces.

    It also makes very good sense for the European Union to develop is own pan European military. Both measures will strengthen western security and both armed forces work be in alliance to defend freedom and democracy.

    Eventually Brazil and the rest of Latin America should pool their military strenght.

    All three armed and allied superpowers would be very good indeed for the safety of the West.

  77. Ed Farrell

    ps – sorry about the typos

    • Joe Thorpe

      Oh we do have such an arrangement already, have you never heard of the “Five Eyes”? you should google it sometime. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK & USA

  78. Ed Farrell

    Hi Joe and thanks. I will check it out.

  79. Dean

    I think every nation should have there own way of life , we should not need an army to kill each other thats a bit daft . Every nation on the planet should contribute to universal dominance by working as a team. Its ok to have soldiers that have training with the equiptment that they need to use that should be it though. Some contries should not need a army but focus more on education and technological developement to assist other contries in universal dominance . Do we even have one language that everyone one earth can speak . Lets try starting with the basics its only been what 60 odd million years and we can understand each other lol were no getting very far .

    • Joe Thorpe

      Are you about 9 years old? Russia doesnt share western sensibilities, Its their way or the highway, the same with Islam which is why the Ruskies & the Islamists are at each others throats. Both have no regard to the loss of life to achive their end games. The Problem is that we in the west have been politically correct so much that we have allowed their foot soldiers with their agenda to infest our lives.

    • rphb

      just so you know, the modern man is only 50’000 years old. 60 million years ago our ancestors were barely rats.

  80. stefan

    Yes EU should have a united army to serve as a deterrent for possible enemies.

  81. Elijah

    Yes it probably should not a large army but with the threat of Russia and Putin it should have a lest a medium sized army that is composed of all the members.

  82. Elijah

    Yes it probably should not a large army, but with the threat of Russia and Putin it should have a lest a medium sized army that is composed of all the members.

  83. rphb

    This is a complicated question, first and foremost because it is the ultimate loss of sovereignty. The moment a nation gives up its military to a supernational body, it surrenders its monopoly of violence, and thereby its last claim to the title of sovereign.

    Of course it is problematic that the EU only spend 25% of the money on military that the USA does, despite the fact that its economy is larger then the US and it could easily sustain an army to rival or surpass that of the US.

    But there are essential differences between Europe and America. America was a colony, a place no people called home (apologies to the native Americans). But the fact remains that America is a melting pot of cultures. It is a nature in the terms that it have a unified history, and a unified language.
    Europe on the other hand is not a nation, and it will never be one nation. We were united, more or less under the roman empire, but never since. We have dreamed of unification since the fall of Rome, but unification means hegemony, and which hegemony should that be?

    Certainly not the USA, they are not a part of the Union, and the main reason to have a strong EU is to have a strong Europe as a counterpoint to the USA, but then who?

    The strongest nation in Europe are Germany, then comes Britain and France, and none of them would ever want to submit to the other.

    You may think it is not necessary, but in some level it is.
    Language, we have to have a common language.

    For a union to function properly it needs a single government language, but for an army it is absolutely essential.

    We could declare, in the name of diplomacy, that France becomes the official parliamentary language, and German becomes the official military language. German is natural commanding, and France excel in the high halls of government.

    It’s the best compromise I can think of, but not the only one we would have to make, and it will be pretty dam hard to get it passed. What will French soldiers say to be commanded by a German speaking officer, or greeks or polish? There are many bad memories in that.

    We could of course just make English the official language in both instances. But I don’t think neither France nor Germany would accept that, because why should English be the official language? Doesn’t Britain and its former colonies dominate enough? Posses enogh influence.

    Of course there are many practical reasons for why the EU should have an army, but these aren’t really important here, what is important is the emotions of the people of Europe. The Roman empire was able to unite Europe though conquest, but since its fall no singular entity have grown powerful enough to assert hegemony on Europe.
    And when I think about Europe and the EU, I can’t help but thinking about Scandinavia and the British isle.
    Britain were able to be united under one state due to the fact that England naturally dominates, both in terms of population, square kilometres and economy is it stronger then the rest of the nations in Britain, even combined.

    In Scandinavia, Denmark had the same dream of unifying the nation as England had, but while Norway and Finland was smaller, they weren’t that much smaller, and Sweden was equal to Denmark in power. The history of Scandinavia, is one of constant war between Denmark and Sweden, I would almost call it civil war, because both states wanted to dominate Scandinavia to create a single nation, but they never could. The result is clear, we have a united kingdom, but not a united Scandinavia.
    And the same goes for Europe, we cannot have unification, without hegemony, and who should be the suzerain overlord? Well if the British nationalist, and Marie Le Pen’s dream becomes true and they both redraw from the union, we would be left with a single dominant power in EU. Then and only then could the EU get its army, and the Holy Roman Empire would be reborn.

    The crown, resting in a museum in Vienna since the empires final desolution, but who should wear it? Because we will have an emperor before we get an army.

    • James

      I don’t agree with your assertion that unity can only be achieved by hegemony. In the modern world with an elected parliament running the eu the thing to hold us together is an acceptance that we share a common fate from external threats not internal domination from a single country.
      By external threats I don’t necessarily mean invasion from other countries (though with Russia nowadays who knows), I mean threats like climate change, economic crisis/warfare and global fuel/food shortages.
      The language barrier is defiantly a problem but so was the range of currencies a few years ago. Language will be harder to unify but it’s defiantly doable

  84. Giacomo

    We should, that would save billions. Move forward with it, thanks

  85. Val

    we definitely should have European federation state with one army and police forces

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