Miliband Backs EU Defense

Call it a coincidence, but on the same day that British Foreign Minister David Miliband backed Nicolas Sarkozy’s ambitions for EU defense, the French government awarded the job of dismantling the decommissioned, asbestos-laden aircraft carrier, the Georges Clemenceau, to an English shipbreaking yard. The trick with Miliband’s announcement, of course, is that it commits Great Britain to nothing. Still, while maintaining that NATO must remain the cornerstone of European defense, he echoed the argument of EU defense proponents:

But as the Balkans wars in the 1990s demonstrated, unless Europe can develop its own capabilities it will be consigned always to wait impotently until the US and NATO are ready and able to intervene.

Miliband took care to distinguish between EU defense and a European army. And nothing in his statement could be confused with a ringing endorsement of Sarkozy’s more ambitious proposals. But this kind of language in a public statement from a Britishforeign minister reflects how far the consensus has moved on the issue.

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