IMI point of view 102 / in: Peace News, December 2003

A military constitution for the European Union?

Or: The EU too is geared towards war

von: Tobias Pflüger and Andreas Speck | Veröffentlicht am: 3. Dezember 2003

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In July 2003, the European Convention presented a draft European Constitution, consisting of 260 pages, divided into four chapters, plus several appendices and additional agreements, which will also have constitutional status. While this constitution puts all the different EU treaties (with the exception of Euratom) into one huge document, it is not just that. Even the European Commission had to admit that it „completely rewrites the originals“, as far as foreign actions and security are concerned. „[I]t develops the common security and defence policy and enables those Member States wishing to do so to enhance their capacity for action within a common framework.“ [1].

A military EU?
For the first time the EU will explicitly have the competence to „define and implement a common foreign and security policy, including the progressive framing of a common defence policy.“ (Art I-11 par 4) New is also a solidarity clause, demanding that EU member states „unreservedly support the Union’s common foreign and security policy in a spirit of loyalty and mu-tual solidarity“ (Art I-15 par 2). This can have serious consequences for those EU member states which are not (yet) mem-bers of NATO “ their neutrality is at stake here, and the EU constitution would turn them into de-facto NATO members with-out any rights within NATO. In addition, the military aspect of the EU constitution is one “ if not the “ central (new) element of this draft. Individual member states would no longer have the power to block a common EU military policy.

Constitutional commitment to armament
The constitution is unique in one point: it includes a constitutional commitment to armament: „Member States shall undertake progressively to improve their military capabilities.“ (Art I-40, par 3) A new European Armaments, Research and Military Capabilities Agency will be responsible to make sure that member states fulfil this commitment, and also for „strengthening the industrial and technological base of the defence sector“(Art III-212 par 1) “ the arms industry will in future be able to demand support as their constitutional right!

EU troops all over the world
The constitution not only establishes some form of EU military, made up of contingents made available by member states (Art I-40 par 3). It also “ again this is unique for a constitution “ establishes interventions all over the world as a EU task. EU troops will be used for „combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking and post-conflict stabilisation“ as part of the war on terrorism (Art III-210). All this will only be decided by the Council of Ministers, without involvement of any na-tional or the EU parliament (Articles I-40, III-198 par 1)! The EU parliament will only be „consulted“ and kept informed; it even may ask questions “ but that’s all there is of democracy (Art I-40 par 8, III-205 par 1 and 2).
This is not just theory. At the EU summit in Thessaloniki in June this year, the EU’s heads of government welcomed in princi-ple Javiar Solana’s EU military strategy [2]: „As a Union of 25 members, spending a total of 160 billion Euros on defence, we should, if required, be able to sustain several operations simultaneously. We need to develop a strategic culture that fosters early, rapid, and when necessary, robust intervention.“ „If we are serious about new threats and about creating more flexible mobile forces we need to increase defence resources.“ Mirroring the Bush doctrine on preventive wars, the Solana paper goes on saying that „[w]ith the new threats the first line of defence will often be abroad […] we should be ready to act before a crisis occurs.“ In future, the EU too wants to be able to intervene, whenever and wherever it suits European interests. There is no difference between the USA and the EU in terms of quality “ there is in terms of quantity “ regarding their far-reaching military policy.

With or without the USA “ the enemy is the South
„[…] Acting together, the European Union and the United States can be a formidable force for good in the world.“ The analy-sis which is behind the draft EU constitution and the Solana paper sees the problem in the South, in „failed states“, „interna-tional terrorism“, etc. The EU constitution and the Solana paper have to be seen as an attempt to develop the EU as the second super power, able to act with or without the United States, against those countries that pose a threat to the capitalist world order.
A military EU? It’s on us to prevent this from happening!

Tobias Pflüger works for the Informationsstelle Militarisierung in Tübingen, Germany, Andreas Speck is on the WRI staff in London.

Notes:
This article is based on a detailed briefing paper by Tobias Pflüger, which is available on WRI’s website at http://wri-irg.org/news/2003/eumil-en.htm.

European Constitution: www.european-convention.eu.int (in all EU languages)
[1] Opinion of the Commission, pursuant to Article 48 of the Treaty on European Union, on the Conference of representatives of the Member States“ governments convened to revise the Treaties, 17/09/03
[2] http://ue.eu.int/pressdata/EN/reports/76255.pdf

Original: http://www.peacenews.info/issues/2453/245310.html

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