A Sight on European Defence

The German federal ministry of Defence has made available on its website several key documents, which can help for a better understanding of what the future Bundeswehr will look like in the next years.

Of course, this new development is not initiated by a open-minded approach linked to the previous German statements aiming at setting up in a far future a European army. By the way, one comment: Germany, well known all over the world for its capability to create consensus (at least inside its borders), has reached a consensus on this topic. All political parties aiming to seat sooner or later at the government’s table support the objective of a European army.

Indeed the main reason for which the Federal Republic of Germany is accelerating its will to create the embryo of a European Army is to be found in the documents available on the ministerial Website. Those documents are:

Tagesbefehl des Bundesministers der Verteidigung (here)

Leitlinien zur Ausplanung der neuen Bundeswehr (here)

As usual, for those who cannot read German yet, I will develop my post on the basis of both documents.

Well, the reasons which have lead the German government to this defence review are the following ones:

-Adapt Bundewehr to the operations and the reduced budgets. Indeed we meet here the direct impact of Afghanistan and the financial crisis on the German Defence model. I mean that due the History, the Bundeswehr could not renounce in its organization to the “Landesverteidigung” (defence of national territory), as this is the cornerstone of the alliance between the Army and the Nation. However, the reality of Afghanistan forces Germany to review the principles of Bundeswehr as the expeditionary warfare will dominate the next years.

-The financial crisis is driving the events and the decisions. At the time the Euro was introduced, Germany was extremely reluctant and finally joined at its conditions. The seat of the European Central Bank being in Frankfurt was the sign of its strong will to dominate the Euro-zone. However the governance model of the Euro failed with Greece. Focussed on social stability through economical development, Germany could not accept jeopardize its social pact. Strong and painful decisions are necessary, among which a drastic reduction of the defence budgets.

In this framework, Germany is preparing a complete review of its defence system, including the first steps towards a German Army. Most important points are:

-In the future the only German national operations will be: evacuation of non-combatants, release of hostages and rescue German citizens. In fact, this is not new. I already met this concept in the early 2000s.

-Quite new is that Germany is ready to renounce to some capacities. In the guidance to the committee in charge of studying the structure reform, the Bundeswehr will have to find cooperation cooperation in education, logistics and structures for daily business and commitments, without creating political constraints or mutual obstacles. As well it will evaluate what tasks could be performed in common, abandoned to the allies, or taken over on behalf of the allies.

This is the core issue: one of Europe’s main countries seems ready to renounce to some elements of sovereignty as abandoning some capacities could mean a loss in autonomy of decision.

Isn’t it the first step towards a European Army?

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