I naively thought that the reading of the Reflection paper on the future of European Defence published by the European Commission would keep me busy during my entire fly between Paris and Berlin. And I had the bad surprise to reach the end of this publication only few minutes after having left Paris… Bitter taste of a bad joke… And I have to confess I started the reading very positively, admiring the rapidity of the Commission work only few weeks after the Rome declaration. Well, to deliver such a void document, no wonder. It would have been even better not to write anything… Once again the Commission discredits itself.
Let us be fair the second part of the document is short but extremely interesting, it focuses on a useful comparison between the US, the EU, China and Russia. Very clear, the EU could be a military super power just better utilising the huge money it dedicates to defence, and make Russia or any threat around ridiculous small. Convincing.
Let’s be a second time fair, the idea of the European Defence Fund is a good idea.
But the compliments stop here. All the more because even this good idea of having a European Defence Fund is poorly presented. And OK let us just want to better manage the current means that we dedicate to Defence. Let us just do it, as responsible people. Very useful. But the rest of the publication, the first part dedicated to the context, and the third part dedicated to the three proposed scenario, are totally useless, and even make me nervous. The differences between the 2nd and 3rd scenario are not clear. All these concepts are vey much theoretical. How we go there? What is the governance of all this? Is it a true, efficient, legitimate governance? I.e. a federal and democratic one? Is it really realistic to achieve that at a 2025 horizon? Are we conscious that without any proper governance a European Defence is simply useless, worse, it could become very dangerous, because let us without any proper efficient defence.
Let us be rude, because this poor paper deserves our anger, this is pure non-sense, a pure administrative paper published just to have something published on the subject. Very much disappointing.
Defence is not a joke. Defence should not be a gadget offered to communication teams. Then better not to give up our defence to this very poor performing EU. Don’t misunderstand me, I am a federalist, a European fanatic. But once again Defence is key, it is so much a strategic topic that it would be simply a crime to allow us here the right for error that we so much generously allowed us in economical or financial European matters. Errors which are far for being resolved yet… It is way time to put an end to this Europe which just does as if it would really exist, and hide behind void words and brings us to costly disasters.
Then better proceed as we did for Mali: France jumps ahead and follows who wants. And since this is not enough, and naturally not satisfying, let us build a true Defence cooperation among very few states, France, Germany, Spain, Italy for instance, on procurement, on few active strategies on some current acute threats (terrorism, hybrid war, cyber security, …) and follows who wants. But with no right to slow down the front-runners, and with no right to watershed the pioneers group decisions. The non-followers still rely on NATO, than no harm. The front-runners act as responsible states, and do not repeat it, but doing so they transform NATO as a good transatlantic cooperation tool which becomes progressively less important, because the responsible defence policy of the front-runners is in fact enough to ensure progressively their defence.
There is no freedom, there is no sovereignty without willingness, without capacity to assume it, to defence it. Let us build a true European sovereignty, without lying to ourselves, but being simply consequent and serious.