by venelin
Published: 14 janvier 2023 (3 semaines ago)

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Earlier this month, France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, announced a new plan for Europe: the European defense union. The idea is to create a European army, led by a European high commissioner for defense who will be in charge of the project. And, the French president said, it needs funding. In fact, we estimate that it will cost almost €45 billion (about $52 billion) to establish such a force.

The French president’s proposal comes with considerable risks, not least because of the strong debate within Europe about the value of further integration and the role of NATO. Mr. Macron is setting up an enormously powerful union, with a single military budget and a single command. What will happen if the EU mission fails to deliver on its promise? The proposal is risky for other reasons as well.

The United States has long promoted a united Europe, a view that is not shared by the French, who oppose the idea and believe that the European Union should be forged by smaller, national states. Europe’s neighbors, and particularly those in the region of the Black Sea, are ambivalent about the EU’s ambitions in foreign policy. Russia is hostile, and sees the European Union as a threat to its interests.

In a phone interview, Thomas Gomart, an independent security and political analyst in France, said that the rationale for building a European army could be compelling in some circumstances. He said that France, for instance, had the will to do what needed to be done in Mali in 2013. The French president knew that France could not rely solely on NATO, and that the United Nations could not be relied on. France also lacked the resources to deploy a large army in the Sahel region.

Mr. Macron’s suggestion of a European defense union has strong support within the European Union. France plans to seek support for the project from other EU countries, notably Germany, which has traditionally played a leading role in European security.

But this plan is going to face many challenges from Germany. For one thing, Germany is still a « federation of 28 » states, and does not want to see the creation of a quasi-federal institution in Brussels. Germany also objects to the idea that the high commissioner would be in charge of the European Commission. Germany would rather see that responsibility placed in the hands of a minister for defense.

The French plan has also been criticized by some European defense officials. They object to the idea of a Europe-wide defense force, and