Western European Union coming to its end. Was it really opportune?
On 31st March O. Kempf, wrote on his blog (here), that the WEU was coming to its end.
Of course, the author expressed his strong regrets and in his analysis assessed that this decision was not totally opportune.
I fully support his assessment, firstly because he is very competent in all geopolitical issues, secondly because the press statements of WEU member nations do not match.
As a first approach I do not see this as a major decision of our governments: most of the WEU had been already since a while handed over to the EU Council, as the Secretary General of the EU was double hatted SecGen of the WEU. Torrejon is the best example of this transfer of authority. The only remains of the WEU was the parliamentary assembly, renamed lately ESDA.
1. Statement of the French Government (here)
France and its partners have decided to withdraw from the WEU as a consequence of the Lisbon Treaty and the progress of the European construction, as the EU has taken over all the functions of WEU.
2. Statement of the German Government (here)
The German federal cabinet has decided to withdraw from the WEU. Continuing with the WEU would create duplication with the EU structures. Dissolving the WEU means that the place to discuss about European security is the EU.
3. Statement of the Spanish Government (here)
Firstly Spain speaks on behalf of all the contracting parties.
NATO and the Lisbon Treaty are the basis for collective defence. Spain will make sure that the discussions between the national Parliaments will go on, based on the protocol n°1 of the Lisbon Treaty.
I suppose that the Spanish Government refers to the article 9 (page 203 of the Lisbon Treaty).
4. Statement of the British Government (here)
The WEU role was essentially symbolic referring to collective defence. The current work of the parliamentary assembly is not the cost of 2 millions Euros a year for UK alone worth. And the most important: “Given the inter-governmental nature of CSDP, we believe, however, that this remains fundamentally a matter for national parliaments. There is no reason and no case for the European Parliament to expand its competence in this area”.
An easy conclusion is that Germany has a very federalist approach, while the UK relies on the inter-governmental relations, agreeing with Spain, only on the role of the NATO, while France and Germany simply ignore it.
Obviously the role of forum that the Parliamentary Assembly of the WEU was playing was not that stupid, as it could help our nations getting a common approach on defence matters. Indeed, for the time being, the European Parliament, in accordance with the Lisbon Treaty plays no role in the issue as Defence and its budgets (of course) remain purely in the national field of competence.
Therefore, I join O. Kempf: we know what we loose, not what we gain. Having met Robert Walter several times, I really think that he will strive maintaining an inter-governmental parliamentary structure. Isn’t he a UK –conservative member of the House of Commons? In any case, the UK will never (at least in the next decade) support the German federalist approach.