Following the Australian submarine row and the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Emmanuel Macron is leading efforts for a “European Defence Union”. Officials close to Macron said his quest for an EU army might lead to serious discussion about the bloc’s Security Council presence.
“I think that if we move on these things, we can put on the table also the discussion on the Security Council.,” said Sandro Gozi, an MEP from Macrons party.
In response to the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, European nations had to reduce their evacuation operations.
Aussie cancelled a £45 billion contract to acquire French-built submarines and formed a security arrangement with the US and UK instead.
After Brexit, only France has a permanent place on the UN Security Council.
The EU is an observer, whereas the UK, US, China, and Russia are permanent members.
Mr Macron is proposing to share France’s UN seat if he can gain concessions that facilitate the deployment of an EU force in war zones. EU governments have thus far refused to send troops into war. The 27-member union must unanimously approve the deployment of Brussels-led “battlegroups” agreed in 2007.
Paris believes a Security Council concession could persuade member states to support such measures.
EU leaders lack the “political will” to send Brussels-led troops around the world, according to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
She asserted the EU could send “battlegroups” into war zones without US assistance. The abrupt termination of the US-led effort in Afghanistan prompted worries about the EU’s capabilities, said Mrs von der Leyen.
She encouraged EU states to put beyond long-held fears of ground troops and form a “Defence Union”.
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“There will be missions where Nato or the United Nations will not be present,” Mrs von der Leyen told the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
“You can have the most advanced forces in the world – but if you are never prepared to use them – of what use are they,” she continued.
We have been kept back by a lack of political will, not a lack of capacity.
“And if we develop this political will, there is a lot that we can do at EU level.”