My latest article for Maclean’s is about the possibility of building a European Army: ‘Now is the time to mount a European army, leaders conclude’

(Not a title with much pizazz, I’ll admit)

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Here’s the situation:

“Later this year, the leaders of European Union nations will meet in Brussels for their annual European council. On the agenda: a discussion of Europe’s military might. At the summit, it’s likely that two equally bold visions for European defence will be put forward. One would see the union’s 27 member states pool military resources as never before—with an eye to eventually building a bona fide EU army. The other would see the union member with the strongest military, Britain, withdraw from the EU—leaving the Continent sputtering.”

Of course, as it stands, there is no Continent-wide armed forces, no Army of Europe. There are only national armies that sometimes cooperate.

But the idea is an old one:

“These discussions are not new. In 1946, former British prime minister Winston Churchill spoke of building a “United States of Europe.” In 1950, there was a proposal to build a European defence community, in part to flex some muscle before the Soviets. Those plans crumbled. A united Europe was relegated to the world of fiction, appearing in plenty of dystopian novels, and several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

And lately, the necessity ante has been upped:

“Today, supporters of the still-elusive EU army insist that pooling military might is the only way for the Continent to keep its fists up. For the first time in modern history, Asia is forecast to outspend Europe on defence. Russia has just surpassed Britain and France on arms spending.”

 

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