EU, founded as project of peace, plans military future

While initial steps may seem small, experts say they represent revolutionary change.

The mood in the European Union on military affairs is undergoing a seismic shift.

Policymakers across the Continent finally agree that hard power — long viewed as antithetical to the EU’s raison d’être — is now essential to the bloc’s survival.

The question is how, or sometimes if, the EU’s militaries should work together.

After decades of the EU viewing itself as a peace initiative and seeing defense as a matter of national sovereignty (made all the less urgent thanks to the EU’s existence) there is still no consensus on how to create, organize or wield joint military power. Few are eager to turn over authority to Brussels.

Trade wars might be fought better with collective muscle, but real wars? On that, EU leaders remain divided.

In Germany, under fire from U.S. President Donald Trump over military spending, there is renewed debate about becoming a nuclear power. In France, President Emmanuel Macron, citing a worrisome lack of joint EU military planning, has called for “a common intervention force, a common defense budget and a common doctrine for action.”

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