Germany cautious as France leads European defence initiative

ER Editor: this news report is being published in the spirit of what, where and why. Deutsche Welle is definitely a part of the MSM and isn’t likely to present a more nuanced, alternative perspective.

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Germany cautious as France leads European defense initiative

France is leading a 10-country defense initiative in a bid to “face new threats” outside existing structures. Germany is wary that the project could entangle its military in foreign interventions and undermine the EU.

DW

Defense ministers from 10 European countries gathered in Paris on Wednesday to set the agenda for the European Intervention Initiative (EI2), a defense coalition spearheaded by French President Emmanuel Macron.

“To face new threats, Europe needs a strong defense,” the French Defense Ministry said in a tweet after the meeting. “With the European Intervention Initiative, 10 European countries are committed to its protection.”

EI2’s goal is to create a results-based common strategic culture that allows for rapid response joint military operations, including in humanitarian efforts. As such, it is not aimed at establishing a supranational European army.  [ER: really??]

However, as an initiative outside EU and NATO frameworks, the French Defense Ministry has tried to alleviate concerns that it would undermine defense structures in the bloc and alliance.

“With the European Intervention Initiative, the whole European Union and the European pillar in NATO will also be strengthened,” it added.

“For the Germans, making a deliberate attempt to setting up something meaningful outside the EU’s structures — and outside NATO — is not seen as a positive move but rather as undermining the EU,” Major said.“In the end, Germany felt pressured to agree and engage in the initiative, because otherwise all the talk about France and Germany being the engine of Europe and the heart of Europe, and driving European integration and cooperation forward, would look cheap, wouldn’t it?”

A French soldier straps a helmet on President Emmanuel MacronFrance’s Emmanuel Macron has pushed for less European reliance on US defense

Fear of ‘military adventures’

Observers have suggested the initiative poses other challenges for Germany, especially in terms of possible military interventions abroad. Others have even highlighted that the French-led initiative could be used as a means to reinforce Paris’ foreign policy objectives.

“Berlin has watered down every French proposal for fear of being drawn into ill-considered military adventures in Africa,” Philipp Rotmann, associate director of the Global Public Policy Institute, told DW.

“But I haven’t heard any ambitious, practical proposals from Paris, either — so either the French were too timid in the face of German opposition, or they just hoped that everyone would sign up to taking over the French way of when and how to use military force.”

Due to Germany’s wartime past, the country’s armed forces, known as the Bundeswehr, must receive parliamentary approval for military operations on foreign soil. German officials are worried this could be muddied by elements of the initiative.

Bundeswehr sources have also pointed to France’s decision to disengage militarily in other areas, including Afghanistan and Kosovo, as a cautionary sign of the initiative’s purpose, according to the Reuters news agency.

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