The Strategic Culture Foundation
June 29, 2018
The predictions have come true about the emergence of a new defense group that will change the European security environment.
On June 25, the defense chiefs from nine EU countries signed off on the creation of a new force called the European Intervention Initiative (EII), which is spearheaded by French President Emmanuel Macron. The new organization will have a common budget and a doctrine establishing its guidelines for acting and joint planning for contingencies in which NATO may not get involved. The group includes the UK, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Estonia, Spain, and Portugal. Italy may join soon. The initiative is not tied to the EU’s Common European Defense, which includes the PESCO agreement as well as NATO. Great Britain has always opposed the idea of creating a European defense alliance, fearing it would undermine transatlantic unity. Now it has done an about-face, as the rifts within the US grow deeper.
The new force is to be much more efficient than anything else the EU has to offer, with a streamlined decision-making process that will permit a quick reaction time. Its relatively small number of members will give it more flexibility in comparison with the EU or NATO. For instance, the EU’s four multinational military battle groups that were created as far back as 2007 have never been deployed.
Its main mission is to offer a rapid response to crises that could threaten European security. The operations are to be conducted independently from US control. The UK will remain a member of this European defense entity even after it leaves the EU next year. Denmark, which retains a special opt-out status and has not joined PESCO, is a signatory to the EII. This is a step on the path to creating a real European armed force to unite non-EU participants with those who keep their distance from the…