In the 1950s, the French Prime Minister, René Pleven, proposed a pan-European army. The European Defence Community (EDC) was a response to US calls for the rearmament of West Germany. Memories of the Second World War were still fresh, and the French leader wanted a way to control German military might.
The plan collapsed after the French parliament rejected it, fearing a loss of sovereignty. However, the idea of a joint European military never went away, and a group of Central and Eastern European countries (including the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland) have now for an EU army.
Almost 25% of EU defence expenditure from the UK. Following Brexit, the UK is still committed to working with its European partners in security and defence cooperation. However, smaller EU Member States in particular are concerned they will be unable to “pick up the slack” without Britain in the EU, particularly at a time when EU-Russia relations are at such a low point, and civil conflict and terrorism threatens Europe’s neighbours in North Africa and the Middle East. So, is it time to revive the old EU army idea?
Is it time for a European army? Would enhanced European defence cooperation be the best way to defend from a newly belligerent Russian and radical Islamist terrorism? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!