EU Defense Agency
The US dominates NATO and opposes the creation of a European group which would
reduce that dominance The Pentagon must then have been displeased by the news
that the EU foreign ministers have approved plans for establishing a defense
agency, after last-minute changes in the wording have softened the provision
that would have given the most powerful EU nations a free hand to pursue defense
projects of their own within the agency. Defense ministers from the 25-nation
bloc will oversee the new agency, which will promote joint procurement, research,
and development a move the EU says could save European governments a total
of €5 billion annually by pooling defense spending. The European Defense
Agency will have a staff of 25 and a start-up budget of €2 million. Discussions
had stalled when Portugal objected to the wording of a provision for militarily
advanced countries such as Britain, France, and Germany to set up
arms projects within the agency that would be open to the bloc’s other
nations by special invitation only. Portugal withdrew its objections after the
wording on “closed projects” was softened with a guarantee that
all 25 defense ministers would have tight control over the agency’s spending.
France has long been pushing for a more ambitious EU defense agency one
independent of NATO. Britain, on the other hand, has envisioned an agency that
would serve more as a lobby group working in close cooperation with NATO. The
EU Defense Agency was written into the EU constitution just approved. The agency
is expected to be up and running in the coming months. The EU has a combined
defense budget of €160 million and 1.6 million troops making it the
world’s second largest military force. Still, the EU does not have the
ability to deploy troops quickly to hotspots, as it lacks the necessary resources
of real-time battle information and precision-guided munitions and is bogged
down by the duplicate and incompatible equipment of its member countries. The
bloc’s defense ministers approved plans for nine rapid reaction “battle
groups”, with 1,500 troops each, for deployment to international hotspots
by 2007. The battle groups would be ready to respond within 15 days to a UN
request anywhere in the world. The objective would be to secure an area for
up to 30 days, with the possibility of extending the stay for up to three months,
before the arrival of larger, longer-term forces (ISN 6/16/04).
This comes from Jon Kofas:"he EU Defense Agency has sparked a great deal of interest on both sides of the Atlantic and in Asia, in so far as it has implications for the European and world balance of power.
May I ask whether WAISers think that the EU Defense Agency mean that?
1. NATO would be restructured to reflect greater EU influence?
2. American neo-isolationists would use the EU Defense Agency as a pretext to demand that the Europeans pay entirely for their own defense?
3. The U.S. and EU would cooperate in managing the world militarily as they do the economy in the G-8?
4. Russia and the EU will be be more likely to compete or cooperate? And what implications does this have for China, which is determined to maintain its military strength as it modernizes economically?
Harry Papasotiriou answers a question posed by Jon Kofas: "Having followed EU defense developments fairly diligently, I would say that they do not amount to much thus far. The EU is likely somewhat to augment its capability to conduct peace-keeping and very limited peace-enforcing operations without American participation. But NATO's new Response Force is much more formidable than the EU's Rapid Reaction Force, since it is designed for war-fighting tasks. NATO is likely to remain Europe's main defense organization for many years to come. The European nations are simply unwilling to commit resources for defense on a scale that might permit them to become substantially more autonomous from the United States in military matters".
Ronald Hilton -