Retired General Ants Laaneots, recently elected to the Parliament, said the idea by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to create EU armed forces could get entangled in the different demands of the 28 member states.
Juncker said pan-European armed forces could react to threats to member states or to neighboring nations, but they could also help design a common foreign and security policy and cement Europe's place on the global stage.
“I believe this to be the only correct solution,” Estonian MEP Indrek Tarand said, adding that an EU army would not duplicate NATO, in which, of the EU countries, only the UK and France currently play an appreciable role; Germany does not want to participate, while Poland and other Eastern European nations are too small and weak to make much of a difference on their own. Tarand said European nations currently relay on the US taxpayer to fund deterrence against Russia and alone none of the EU nations could withstand a Russian aggression.
Laaneots said the idea raises a number of questions, such as duplication of NATO responsibilities and defense spending.
The former General said an EU army would also need a founding treaty, similar to the North Atlantic Treaty that created NATO.
“Afghanistan showed that many EU nations had different limits on military action and participation. Would that pose a problem if different nations have different demands and limits? Army heads will have a difficult time remembering all that when planning operations,” Laaneots said.
The idea has received mixed reactions, the United Kingdom saying it is against it, while German and Finnish politicians have backed the idea.
Editor: J.M. Laats