The European Union’s stillborn army

EU High Commissioner Federica Mogherini speaks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker
Federica Mogherini (L) was the only senior EU official with a plan after Brexit, so European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (R) was quick to adopt it (source: dpa)
  • The EU’s new defense initiatives only underline its military dependence on NATO
  • Stress on “enhanced” bilateral ties could strengthen role of Germany, national armies
  • The UK may become even more indispensable to European defense after Brexit

Historians may wonder why High Representative Federica Mogherini was the only senior official in the European Union who had a plan in the week after Brexit. Apparently, no one but the EU foreign policy chief realized that the next six months would belong to whomever could propose a course of action that would make the bloc look decisive rather than dumbstruck following the United Kingdom’s decision to leave.

Ms. Mogherini’s security strategy for the EU was a thoroughly unremarkable document, except for its timing. Her ideas, dropping as they did into a policy vacuum, set the agenda for Europe’s attempted comeback after Brexit. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker thus announced that “member states must build a Europe that protects” in his State of the Union speech on September 14 in Strasbourg, which was followed two days later by a meeting of the heads of state and government in Bratislava.

In the Bratislava Roadmap, the European agenda is defined in terms of internal and external security. Youth unemployment was added to the document almost as an afterthought. On a continent where 20 percent of people under the age of 25 are unemployed, anything that comes before providing jobs for young people must rate very high on the scale of political priorities.

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