Germany and thie idea of a European Army
Guido Westerwelle’s statement on European Army
On 6th February 2010, Mr Gido Westerwelle, the German Minister of foreign affairs, stated that « the long term goal is the establishment of a European army under full parliamentary control » (source: euobserver.com). Indeed this statement made a lot of fuzz.
However this is not exactly a surprise. German top political parties have already expressed the same views in the past. For instance, SPD (the social-democrat party) published on 5th May 2008, a position paper named « towards a European Army ». This German party wrote at that time: « in the long term we want a European Army whose deployment must be legitimated parliamentarily ». Already during the campaign for the parliamentary elections of 2009, Mr Westerwelle’s political programm stated clearly: « Langfristiges Ziel bleibt für die FDP der Aufbau europäischer Streitkräfte unter gemeinsamem Oberbefehl und voller parlamentarischer Kontrolle », which means exactly « the long term objective of FDP remains the set up of european armed forces under common command and full parliamentary control ». On their side, Mrs Angela Merkel’s party, the CDU, wrote in their program for the European elections that « Wir setzen uns weiterhin für gemeinsame europäische Streitkräfte als Fernziel ein », that is « moreover, we commit ourselves for common European armed forces as a long term objective ».
For the time being, this project goes against the German constitution. All right. Nevertheless, everybody knows in Europe that when Germans have an idea, they stick to it, as it is the result of long, and sometimes very boring debates and discussions, which aim at creating a consensus, giving a guideline that everybody in the party will accept.
For this reason, I would strongly recommend our Nations not to neglect those statements. Expressed by the three parties, which usually rule Europe’s most powerful country, these words, extremely clear, express a real goal to reach within the next twenty years. Obviously this common statement is the result of a sound analysis of the situation:
-Germany is the largest contributor to European Union.
-Germany is fed up of paying without playing the role it deserves.
-Germany wants its role on the international scene to be at the level of its economic power.
-However it can and want no more operate on its own on the different crisis.
Currently, two pillars Germany can rely on to exert its influence are: Europe and NATO. The only alliance which offers a global approach able to respond to the German ambition, and in which this country can really play a leading role is the EU.
As for the role of the parliament refers, I would add that it is a prerequisite to make the idea of European Army acceptable to the German population, as it is the guarantee that their country will not be committed in adventurous conflicts like the former colonial powers that are France or the UK, as this is how Germans still perceive us, at least in the public opinion.