The European press is rapidly discussing the long-awaited creation in Europe of its own defense tool - the prototype of a pan-European army, the so-called Pesco. How will the appearance of such a structure affect the relations between the EU and the US? Will the NATO allies consolidate even more, or will Europe give Europe a chance to take care of its security without Washington?
The seal of Germany and France on Tuesday widely discussed the creation of Pesco, the prototype of the European army. The agreement on this the day before was signed by the majority of the EU countries. Officially, the program should now be launched by the end of the year by the Council of the European Union.
"Europe wants to get rid of the US in matters of defense" - so titled material in the French Figaro. It's not about creating a European army or replacing collective security under the aegis of NATO. But this is the first step towards independent European defense, with projects of common property, joint military allocations and in time, possibly with joint deployments of troops.
In the face of Russia, Eastern Europe continues to give preference to the North Atlantic alliance, no matter what the American security umbrella provokes, the newspaper writes. But recalls that Emmanuel Macron immediately after his election as president promised that in 10 years Europe will be equipped with "a common military force, a joint defense budget and a common doctrine for action" (quoted in "InoSMI.ru").
The German Tagesspiegel welcomes the appearance of Pesco - simply because it is practical. "The EU is under enormous pressure today with regard to security policy. And from the standpoint of geopolitics (Russia), and just politics (Trump), and in a practical sense. Countries are forced to save, and, as studies show, cooperation in the military sphere would save billions, "the article says. In addition, the participants are trying their best to prevent the feeling that Pesco is a kind of declaration of independence from the US and NATO.
Recall that Pesco members can now claim the money of the European Defense Fund. While there are small amounts - 25 million euros allocated for this year, but after 2020 year promise to bring them to 5,5 billion euros per year, which it decided to send to the development of the latest military technology.
Previously, the idea of Pesco strongly opposed the UK, but after Brexit's right to vote, she lost, and the rest of the country decided to take advantage of this. It was believed that the British extinguished this idea at the request of the Americans. However, one of the Russian experts put forward the idea that the Americans, not only not against Pesco, but, on the contrary, themselves also squashed such an idea, including because it will continue to prevent the old Europe from withdrawing from the structure of NATO.
"This is not an alternative to NATO, it is the NATO superstructure," correspondent of the Academy of Military Sciences Sergei Sudakov told the "Russia 1" TV channel. "The idea is simple - to build a military structure so that we can quickly transfer military equipment to the borders of the Russian Federation."
As reported by TASS, on the eve of more than 20 member states of the European Union, during the ceremony, they signed a letter addressed to the EU Council and the head of the community diplomacy Federica Magerini, in which they agreed to join the new program on Permanent Structured Cooperation in Security and Defense (Pesco ). Among the signatories and neighbors of Russia are the Baltic states and Poland. "You signed what a year ago everyone seemed to be impossible to achieve," Moherini said pathetically.
By the way, contrary to what Figaro writes, the German Defense Minister von der Läyen said after the ceremony that the first step was taken to create a common army. However, she stressed that the new structure is created only "in addition" to NATO.
The head of the German-Russian forum, Alexander Rahr, noted: Western Europeans were under the "terrible pressure" of US President Donald Trump, who demands more to spend on defense. The Europeans agreed to spend more, but they wanted to decide for themselves what. "In this respect, a little conflict arose with America, but the US will not allow a competitive NATO structure to be created," he told the VZGLYAD newspaper. In fact, Rahr is sure, in the capitals of the old Europe they do not dream of their own army, but of their own powerful new police.
"The point is that it is archival for Europeans to create militarized police structures that would guard the external borders of the EU - and not from Russia or some armies, but primarily from refugees,
- explained Rahr. According to him, in Paris and Berlin they understand that in the next few years the influx of migrants from Africa will remain gigantic, so Europe will have to defend itself. "There is no coordination within Europe to combat Islamic terror. And Pesco should contribute precisely to creating a common center for combating terrorism: the exchange of data, the coordination of the work of intelligence services, "the expert explained.
But the Latvian military expert, the editor-in-chief of Baltfort military-historical magazine Yuri Melkonov believes that there will be no military structure of the EU anyway and there is nothing to discuss here. In the history of the EU many times there was a question about our own army, but it was never brought to its logical conclusion, Melkonov recalled.
"These are purely bureaucratic fantasies of the highest officialdom of Europe. Never have European nations been integrated to such an extent as to have a common army. Even the unification of two or three countries is difficult to imagine. This is utopia. She, of course, looks good diplomatically and organizationally. You can meet and allocate some funds. This is the triumph of the European bureaucracy, it will now have something to do, "Melkonov said ironically.
"Wanting to get out of the dictates of the United States is one question, and leaving is another matter. Today, NATO is funded by the United States at 70%. There are no independent European money there. You can think of an army, but who will keep it? This requires colossal means. It's only the US can afford to keep a toy like NATO. The point of it, however, no, - said the newspaper VZGLYAD Melkonov. "Moreover, the idea of the Euroarmony by the peoples of Europe is not very welcome."
Rahr adds that the Balts themselves will not allow Berlin and Paris to bring their dream of an army competing with NATO to perfection.
"The Baltic countries and the Poles will not want to live in the EU, where their security depends more on Germany and France than on America. They want a greater presence of America, "he pointed out. It is because of such disagreements, the political scientist recalled, that the concept of a common European army has so far remained on paper.
Rahr sure: Poland and the Baltic countries will become inside the Pesco conductors of American interests. "This is a Trojan horse. They joined the EU in order to receive money from the EU and at the same time live under an American cap, "the political scientist said, recalling that after the beginning of the Western conflict against Russia," the masks fell and everything became clear. "
However, Rahr does not rule out that Pesco is being created as a possible reserve in the event of NATO disintegration due to some shocks and cataclysms in the next ten years.
Recall from the military point of view, France and Germany remain the strongest in the European Union (not counting Great Britain). So, in the Bundeswehr there are 180 thousand military men, in reserve - 145 thousand. The amount of combat ground equipment is 6481 unit. The French army - a little more, 200 thousand military, in reserve - 195 thousand. The number of combat ground equipment - 7888 machines.
It is worth recalling that the West has already had its own military alliance. In 1948, future members of NATO, but without the US and Canada, concluded the Western European Union (WEU) to defend themselves against the "red threat". This was the first attempt to create a unified armed forces in Europe. But a year later there was NATO, and the need for WEU has disappeared. True, this union existed on paper right up to 2011, when it was dissolved, transferring its powers to the European Union.