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European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini addresses the media after a meeting of EU foreign and defense ministers, Brussels, May 18, 2017 (AP photo by Geert Vanden Wijngaert).

How a Middle Ground on EU Defense Can Complement NATO, Not Weaken It

, Friday, May 19, 2017

On Thursday, at a meeting of European Union defense ministers in Brussels, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini announced that Europe’s first joint military command center could be launched in “a couple of days.” EU states already approved the creation of the new military training headquarters in Brussels, known in EU parlance as the Military Planning and Conduct Capability, or MPCC, back in March, but they have been hashing out the final details this week.

Though the MPCC will initially only oversee joint EU military training operations in Africa, speculation has persisted that it could lay the groundwork for an eventual, standalone “EU army” to rival NATO. The initiative and the nervous discussions surrounding its scope of operations highlight two major questions facing the EU today. Do challenges to European security surpass NATO’s purview enough to justify an integrated EU defense structure? And can Europe jointly address those threats without harming trans-Atlantic relations? ...

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