We are on the way towards the creation of a European army. Karl von Wogau MEP
On 12 December 2003 the European Council adopted the European Security Strategy, which contains an excellent analysis of the threats to the modern world and states the fundamental principles of the European Union's foreign policy. The chairman of the subcommittee on security and defence in the European Parliament, the German MEP Karl von Wogau (CDU), is currently preparing a report on the implementation of the European Security Strategy in the context of the European Security and Defence Policy.
Von Wogau states in the draft report that the European Union is currently building a Security and Defence Union, which covers both external security and different aspects of internal security, but also crisis management with regard to natural catastrophes. At the same time von Wogau points out that the present decision-making system in the field of the European Security and Defence Policy is inappropriate with respect to the importance of the development in this domain: “We are on the way to a European army, but our decision making structures are often anonymous and inappropriate. We need more transparent structures in this field."
In the field of security and defence the European Union is developing its capacity to act faster than in every other policy area. The Member States committed themselves to be able to deploy 60 000 soldiers within 60 days and sustain them for one year for peacekeeping and peacemaking operations and to build up 13 battle groups deployable at short-notice. They also agreed to develop capabilities for civilian crisis management in the areas of police operations, the rule of law, civilian administration and civil protection.
Another element of the developing Security and Defence Union is the newly created European command structure, including the Political and Security Committee (PSC), a Military Committee, a Military Staff and a Civilian and Military Cell with an Operations Centre. Under European command, soldiers of the European Union were deployed in Macedonia, Bunia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. At present, a peace-keeping operation under European guidance is taking place in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This operation is for the first time of a clearly visible European character.
The setting up of the „European Gendarmerie Force“, of the European Defence Agency (EDA) and of Europol, the establishment of a European arrest warrant, common rules for arms procurement, arms exports and the European security research within the 7th Research Programme prove that the European Union is determined to further develop their civilian and military abilities in order to combat common security challenges.
The German MEP is convinced that in today's international security environment the European countries need a cooperative and comprehensive approach to common security risks: "For some challenges as for example the protection of the outside borders of the European Union, the fight against organized crime and the disruption of terrorist financing networks, it is the European Union that possesses the suitable instruments and capabilities."
Von Wogau calls in his report for the completion of the Security and Defence Union through various elements. On the institutional side, a European Union Minister responsible for foreign affairs, who is supported by a deputy responsible for security and defence, and a Council of Defence Ministers should strengthen the European Union's capacity to take decisions and act effectively. He also proposes technical improvements such as a common system for airborne and satellite surveillance and common European standards for telecommunications which would allow police, military and disaster emergency services to communicate if necessary. Von Wogau also calls for a common European market for defence equipment and for a more efficient and cooperative armament policy in order to stop the tremendous loss of money by unnecessary duplications in the different member states.
The MEP stresses that the rapid development of the European Security and Defence Policy may not develop without an effective parliamentary control: “We need an appropriate parliamentary control of the European Security and Defence Policy both by the national parliaments and by the European Parliament. The financing of European Security and Defence Policy by shadow budgets and ad-hoc mechanisms which cannot be effectively supervised neither by national parliaments or by the European Parliament must end."
Von Wogau refers to Euro barometer inquiries which show that the citizens in Europe wish themselves a common European approach to security and defence issues: "A large majority of the citizens in Europe supports a close European cooperation in the field of security and defence. We need an appropriate parliamentary control of the European Security and Defence Policy in order to develop a political debate about its principles and goals on European level."
For further information:
Karl von Wogau, MEP, tel.: +32 2 2847301
Knut Goelz, EPP-ED-Press Service, tel.: +32 479 972144