Enough words have been exchanged... By Jörn Thiessen
Jörn Thiessen’s essay is a plea for an increasing integration of European armed forces, with the goal of a military union and common army. Since transatlantic relations have become completely unpredictable, and given the extraordinary success story of the European project, the author believes that the time has come for the EU to take care of its own protection “for its own motives and needs.” Especially with such a relevant strategic goal, citizens could be retaught the sense and meaning of the EU project. This is all the more important at a time when the construct based on cooperation and moderation is being undermined on all sides by nationalism, populism and euroskepticism (culminating in Brexit).
Back in 1954, the idea of a European army failed. But now, according to Thiessen, there are numerous military and security initiatives in place that do not run contrary to the fundamental peace-orientation of the EU. Permanent Structured Cooperation, for example, has now been brought into being and is also targeted at greater interoperability. Why should this now be suddenly shelved? Ultimately, the EU is responding to the same needs and economic necessities that exist within NATO.
Moreover, the EU has long been involved in peacekeeping and crisis prevention missions. The new-found energy should now be used to create and jointly finance, from the bottom up, the required structures for a reality that has existed for a long time – while of course ensuring functional oversight by the European Parliament. Thiessen concludes his essay with a concrete proposal: to set up a “European Peace Corps.”