One army, one headquarters and one enemy – the European Union is arguing over the Strategic Compass plan. The point is that European countries will create their own military bloc and thereby reduce their dependence on NATO and the United States. However, many oppose – for various reasons.
“To make Europe great and truly independent,” th-ey repeat in Brussels. And they are sure there will he-lp, “Strategic compass” – a new defense strategy until 2030. Developed it very quickly for a bureaucratic EU. At the end of 2020, Germany proposed to “develop a set of measures” to protect against various threats. Six months later, the draft was shown to the national governments.
And by March 2022, they want to approve the concept. The main officials of the union are rushing their colleagues as never before. “This threat analysis clearly shows that Europe is in danger. <…> First, our economic opportunities are increasingly limited. Thirty years ago, the EU owned a quarter of the world’s wealth, in twenty years it will only ten percent. In addition, the population is rapidly declining: by the end of the century, Europe will have only five percent of the world’s population, ” says Josep Borrell, EU Commissioner for Foreign and Security Policy.
And the events in Afg-hanistan have shown that the “American partners” ca-nnot even defend themsel-ves. Therefore, the Europ-eans must prevent the imp-ending catastrophe on their own. The document identified the “horseman of the apocalypse” – Russia, which, according to the authors, “uses the tactics of hybrid warfare, disinformation and cyberattacks.” They also mentioned China – “an economic competitor and a systemic rival.”
Therefore, the EU needs a common strategy, a common defense budget and troops – even in space. By 2025, Brussels plans to create a “single universal rapid reaction force” of five thousand fighters. “Previous attempts to deploy EU forces have met with limited success. The new strategy will make our troops more responsive and efficient,” Borrell said. And he gives an example: the crisis with migrants on the Polish-Belarusian border, which, if the document had already been adopted, could have been resolved very quickly.
But how exactly, the official does not specify. It is also unclear who will command, what will equip the contingent, how to coordinate operations. There are many questions. The European Commissioner answers skeptics shortly: “I don’t care about contradictions.”
Throw off the yoke
Not only Brussels is aggressively pushing this idea. Berlin and Paris are interested in the new system. They openly talk about “striving for independence” from external forces. They mean, first of all, NATO. It is the forces of the alliance, according to the agreement on the European Union, that serve as the basis for the defense of the continent. Led by the United States, of course. Americans have been registered in Europe since the end of World War II. The number of the group grew steadily, reaching 300 thousand in the 1980s. Now – about 60 thousand.
The main contingent – 3-4,000 – is in Germany, wh-ere the American Ramstein base, the largest outside the United States, is located. In recent years, German pol-iticians have spoken un-friendly about overseas gu-ests: for the most part, they are kept with Berlin’s mo-ney.
Moreover, it is necessary to purchase weapons f-rom the Pentagon, which is also not to everyone’s liki-ng. So, now the Bundestag is choosing between the F-35 and the “domestic” Eurofighter. In addition, the Germans want to be the first to develop sixth generation fighters. Together with the French: Emmanuel Macron constantly talks about the military independence of the EU. Paris sees Washington as a competitor in Africa and the Middle East, as well as in the arms market. At the same time, over five years, Paris has increased its military exports by 72 percent.
There could have been more if not for Australia’s sudden abandonment of French submarines. Canberra chose a military alliance with the United States and Great Britain under the AUKUS project. The subsequent break in the € 56 billion contract at the Elysee Palace was called a “stab in the back.”
There is something to show in the Apennines, wh-ere the Pentagon has the la-rgest naval bases. Politi-cians in Rome speak out ca-refully, but ordinary Itali-ans have been protesting f-or years against the Yan-kees, who are rowdy and a-ttack passers-by. So, in 20-17 in Vicenza, after a series of drunken fights, the A-mericans were even forbidden to leave the unit’s location.
“We are glad to see you”
The Baltic states are leading in the number of such incidents. In May, in the Estonian town of Tapa, the US military brutally harassed local girls. A conflict broke out, which was resolved only after the intervention of Tallinn.
However, the Baltic people do not hold rallies. And the authorities are unspeakably “pleased with the presence of American forces.” And they are building bases for them: the next, the Lit-huanian “Herkus”, was op-ened in August. Moreover, on the initiative of Vilnius, although even the Pentagon doubts its necessity.
“The need for this is more obvious than ever. We provide everything you need, we create all the conditions for maintaining the combat readiness of the troops,” Defense Minister Arvydas Anushauskas said to Washington. Now in the republic th-ere are about 500 American servicemen, 30 Abrams tanks and 25 Bradley armored vehicles. A more imposing faction has dropped in here for teachings from time to time.
In Poland, there is a wh-ole armored brigade. Soon the Pentagon will build a f-ull-fledged base, where it will deploy 85 tanks, 190 i-nfantry fighting vehicles, 3-5 self-propelled artillery m-ounts and four tank bridges. The Russian border is only 256 kilometers away.
Poland and the Baltic states against “Compass” because of the “Russian threat”. Other skeptics have economic reasons. Primarily criticized by “junior members” of the European Union with disabilities. For example, the Czech Republic, whose representative in the European Parliament, Alexander Vondra, calls the project “too ambitious.”
“On the one hand,” says the politician, “Russia and China are designated there as dangerous opponents. On the other hand, the European Union considers them partners.” It is also noted that such “labeling” will aggravate the economic situation. Especially in covid times.
But Brussels is demanding an increase in military spending, although the EU has already spent $ 1.93 trillion on defense in seven years. A number of states do not want to fork out for an undertaking that “duplicates what is already there.” In addition to NATO, there are several structures in Eu-rope, in particular, the Eu-ropean Corpus, which is th-eoretically capable of dep-loying four divisions. The fighters – seven thousand p-eople – were active in Bo-snia and Kosovo 20 years ago.
“The countries interested in the project, France first of all, will push it through. The topic is relevant: NATO was created in different conditions and for other purposes, the confrontation structure is now different: there is no clear front line,” explains Konstantin Sokolov, vice president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems. However, the expert notes, it is not clear how the new alliance will get along with the American forces, which “are unlikely to leave their bases.” Possible hotbeds of tension within the European Union.
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