The British Are Coming (to EU Defense)

In thinking about how France’s EU presidency has been dominated bycrisis management, I recently found myself wondering what’s become ofthe ambitious European defense agenda that was so dear to NicolasSarkozy’s heart? It doesn’t really answer that question, but this Times of London (via Defense News) interview with British Defense MinisterJohn Hutton is eye opening nonetheless:

John Hutton has becomethe first defence secretary to back a French plan for a European army,branding those who dismiss it as “pathetic”.
In a wide-ranginginterview with The Sunday Times, he said: “I think we’ve got to bepragmatic about those things. Where it can help, we should be part ofit.”

That’s pretty extraordinary stuff coming from “nos amis Britannique,” as the Brits are known here in Paris.

Aninteresting but often overlooked complication of a truly integrated EUdefense apparatus, of course, is that it dramatically changes thesignificance of EU membership. Remember that the “European alternative”was offered as a way to bring Georgia and Ukraine into the West’ssphere of influence without the risks represented by NATO membership,with its Article V obligations. What happens to the Europeanalternative once Europe has a real army and a concrete mutual defenseobligations (should the Treaty of Lisbon be resuscitated as I suspectit will)?

More World Politics Review