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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

EU army Battlegroups take shape

There is a quiet and little known story about the way in which Austria's post-war army came into being. You will recall that Austria quickly established the narrative that she was a victim of Nazism rather than a participant, then signalled a future perpetual neutrality. Occupied by the allies until 1955, it was these narratives that left Austria as a sovereign and undivided nation. Germany had to wait until 1989. Even as early as the Summer of 1945, the first Summer of occupation, Austrian officers who remembered the pre-war army hatched a plan to recreate it under the noses of the occupiers. With an officer corps with experience gained in the Wehrmacht's battles from Finland to Sevastapol, Narvik to Tobruk, but who were 'clean' of Nazism, a police auxiliary was formed. While directing traffic, policing the black market and ensuring public order amongst hordes of DPs they were also receiving secret military training; arms were cached, secret command structures created, and so on. 

So when in 1955 the shortly-to-be-free Austria was taking over allied functions some kindly adviser must have said "You'll need an army, you know; not a big one, but enough to defend your neutrality" the country was able to say "Thank you. Here's one we made earlier .." Austrians in the know are secretly proud of this guile, at having fooled the big boys, but I'm not so sure that we didn't actually know all along what was going on and chose to let it roll. 

Although it seems like only yesterday that the EU issued an options paper for a new army, in fact it was the end of May when we reported it.  It seems they have now decided on a full-blown army under EU rather than national control; or rather, this was secretly agreed a long time ago and is only now being unveiled. My earlier comments now prove prescient. Hidden in a piece in Der Spiegel is this;
The most detailed element of future Franco-German relations is military cooperation. German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and her French counterpart have made significant progress - despite the recent revolving door at the French Defense Ministry. The convergence is taking place as part of so-called "Permanent Structured Cooperation" or PESCO, which refers to the process whereby those EU countries who wish to work more closely together can do so.

The hope is to test out the process for the first time on military issues, an area where the 28 EU member states waste millions each year due to a lack of coordination, particularly when it comes to purchasing new weapons systems. Brexit combined with the election of Donald Trump in the U.S. have acted as a catalyst when it comes to European defense cooperation.

The last significant hurdle is to be removed in Paris on Thursday. France had long been insisting that a key priority of military cooperation should be the battlefield effectiveness of the resulting force whereas the Germans are eager to include as many countries as possible. Now, both wishes are to be fulfilled: The cooperation, European Council President Donald Tusk said in June, is to be "ambitious and inclusive."

 Those interested in joining PESCO must commit themselves to five clearly outlined admission criteria, such as improved coordination of military procurement and constant defense spending increases. The plan also calls for more countries to participate in financing the EU Battlegroups. Formed a decade ago, there has been little appetite for actually deploying them in part because those countries supplying troops to the Battlegroups have thus far had to bear the costs on their own.
I can only imagine that the UK was sick on the day they decided all of this. 


DeeDee99 said...

Someone should tell Nick Clegg. He was adamant that an EU Army was a figment of over-active anti-EU imaginations and was never going to happen.

I'm sure he'll be gobsmacked at being so wrong.

Anonymous said...

So er, that means that there is no need for NATO any longer Raedwald?

I am guessing that the Brexiteers and Donald Trump will have to take up the slack and save EU members from their own folly.

Imagine all those smart Hugo Boss uniforms goose-stepping their way across the former EU.


Anonymous said...

The main function of this army will be to prevent any more Exits. We are getting out just in time, before an army of Hessians is quartered in our cities to prevent any disorder.

Don Cox

G. Tingey said...

The main purpose of this "Army" - if it ever really gets going, will be to keep Putin out of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania & Finland ....

Anonymous said...

Ra ra ras putin... lover of the russian queen...

Is the EU more worried about Exiteers, or mad dictators?

Judging by its brazen come ons to the Ukraine several years back, I would say that the former is more true.


rapscallion said...

"The main purpose of this "Army" - if it ever really gets going, will be to keep Putin out of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania & Finland .... G Tingey

If Putin had wanted to be "in" Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania & Finland he'd have done it a long time ago. Hell, he's not even "in" Western Ukraine, despite the provocation provided by the EU.

Don Cox and right-writes are more on the button. There is nothing they can do about us - the Channel puts the mockers on that, but those on the European mainland are not quite so lucky. The countries that are really going to cause issues for the EUSSR are the Visegrad 4 - Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Already they are sticking up two fingers to the EUSSR with the Poles reckoning that they'd rather lose the EU money than take in gimmegrants.

As British foreign policy since the 1600 is to prevent hegemony by any one nation and to keep them divided - then the current situation is developing nicely.

Pat said...

To judge by Trump's most recent speech, not to mention it's location, putting military pressure on Visegrad might not be without consequences for the EU.

James Higham said...

Hopefully, the EU is soon to collapse.

Mr Ecks said...

An army might be the cunts plan to stave off collapse.

It must automatically become the enemy and main target of British forces.

Dadad said...

I wait to hear the EU army generals having to shout 'fire' in 27 different languages.

Anonymous said...


Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, through negligence or stupidity, have imported an "enemy within". They need an EU armry. The Visigrad nations don't have an "enemy within", and no intentions to have one any time soon. They face Russia, and only America has the capability to checkmate that threat.

formerconscript said...

Will this mean conscription ? somebodvy needs to ask the question,
it would help to solve the unemployment problem.

mikebravo said...


All orders will be given in German ant vill be obeyed!

Anonymous said...

In combat it all comes down to "what are you fighting for?", and by that I mean the reason you are fighting. If it turns out to be internal suppression - and I suspect this is the main purpose for this EU army - then marching into an area to put down some unruly citizens could easily spark a civil war.

Fighting for one's nation and homeland and is pretty straightforward. Putting your life on the line for bureaucrats who don't believe in nations or homelands is a big ask. Put it this way there wouldn't be a second engagement. The next action would be mass hangings in Belgium.


mikebravo said...

@ Steve

"The next action would be mass hangings in Belgium."

Ode to Joy playing in the background? :-)

Domo said...

Fire in 26, retreat in french

Cascadian said...

The German police in G20 Hamburg looked well equipped, however with poor leadership they failed to subdue a few hundred anarchist/jihadis. Nothing new there every country has failed to engage these thugs properly. I doubt an EU military will be any more effective.

Even the US military under ridiculous terms of engagement in Afghanistan and Iraq were totally ineffective. A lack of will and real leadership will ensure sure defeat if the EU ever engages Russia.

Let them have their 35-hour-per-week army, with pony-tailed "soldiers" it is just another EU frippery.

Cascadian said...

As an aside, I predict that the first EU gay-pride painted tank appears before 2020.

Anonymous said...

I thought I'd cracked the comments "captcha" thing, I haven't.

Last night I wanted to post, after numerous attempts I gave up, there are only a certain number of crosses I can keep sticking on 'street signs' and 'store fronts'.

Alack and woe, thrice.

meltemian said...

Domo: Fire in 26, retreat in french

Nick Drew said...

there has been a parallel issue brewing for the last couple of years - the 'Energy Union'

this was first floated as an 'idea' - because, ooh, how wasteful it is that European countries don't use their collective buying power when importing gas, they wastefully negotiate separate deals, and all sorts of other wasteful duplications of activities

(background: energy policy is one of the few really big areas that remain 95% outwith the scope of the EC / aquis communitaire)

from time to time, other 'suggestions' are floated that might be consistent with the 'idea' of Energy Union - but if anyone coughs they are told, oh, it's only an idea

but mysteriously this 'idea' now has a commissioner and a 'proposed governance structure'

and the EC is conducting a 'fitness check' on the aquis, to see whether it is 'fit for purpose' as regards energy matters: I think we may safely assume it will solemnly be concluded that it fails this check, and that a Common Energy Policy is obviously required ... etc etc