European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has called for a Euro army to be set up in the face of increasing threats, courtesy of Russian President, Vladimir Putin.
As Juncker said to German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, “You would not create a European army to use it immediately. But a common army among the Europeans would convey to Russia that we are serious about defending the values of the European Union.”
While the Europeans are considered, relatively speaking, to be a peaceful bunch, many member states are more than a little on edge these days, due to various statements and military drills carried out by Russia, which borders Europe.
Junker continued that, “Such an army would help us design a common foreign and security policy,” adding that “Europe’s image has suffered dramatically and also in terms of foreign policy, we don’t seem to be taken entirely seriously.”
While the German Defence Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, was all for the idea, saying in a statement that, “our future as Europeans will one day be a European army,” the British Ukip’s defence spokesman Mike Hookem said a European army would be “a tragedy for the UK.”
According to Hookem, “We have all seen the utter mess the EU has made of the eurozone economy, so how can we even think of trusting them with this island’s defence? This is simply a disaster in the making that would see Gibraltar returned to Spain and the Falkland Islands left open to an unopposed invasion by Argentina. Even more concerning would be the prospect of British troops under European command operating in the eastern Ukraine.”
At the same time, the British Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, warned recently on the BBC that Russian aggression is a serious issue for Europe, and not one to be in denial of.
“We have all made clear that if there is a big assault, for example on Mariupol, that will be responded to with a significant increase in the economic pressure on Russia from the EU,” he said.
Regarding the prospect of triggering a cold war, Hammond added, “I don’t want to talk about cold wars, but we are clear that Russia has decided, it has made the decision that it wants to be in a strategic competition with the West, with Europe.”
As Juncker’s proposal is nothing more than an idea at the moment it remains to be seen whether or not the member states of Europe will decide to form an army together, especially if one takes the ISIS threat into account.