“Europe has to build an army,” Wolfgang Clement wrote in yesterday’s issue of this paper. Given the global environment, Europe needs to improve its ability to act on behalf of its own security. He’s right! But he unfortunately failed to mention the progress we Europeans have made in the last few years. Europe’s army is already taking shape.
Reforms over the past months and years have brought our armed forces closer together. We’re working quickly. But let’s not forget that achievements that are now taken for granted, such as the internal EU market or freedom of movement didn’t happen overnight. They came about thanks to careful, measured progress, and member states pursing clear goals, one step after another.
Among European nations, Germany and France are the driving forces defense. But the German army’s close cooperation with other European partners, especially with Dutch forces, has proven effective in so many missions and illustrates how to do it properly.
Now 25 countries have joined forces in a security initiative we call Pesco. And not because we’re following requirements from Brussels but voluntarily because the benefits are obvious and because it’s in Europe’s security interests.
We’re moving even further ahead with our close partner, France. Yesterday, that the cabinet agreed on a new Elysèe Treaty shows that we want to address our security challenges together. Our stated goal is for European nations to speak with a coordinated voice in the United Nations. Germany has just started a two-year stint as a non-permanent member alongside France on the UN Security Council. That strengthens Europe’s voice in the concert of global powers.