Military Unification has been on the European Union’s policy agenda for decades. In the past twelve months, the pressure to complete the task has accelerated the process, particularly since the Bratislava Summit of September 2016.
There, the 27 leaders of the EU decided to “give a new impetus” to European external security and defence.
They set as a target the December 2016 European Council to formalise an implementation plan.
Tory high command forces acquiescence in EEC plans for military union
European Commission President Jacques Delors tells a summit of European Economic Community heads of government at Fontainebleau that the first and foremost of his three big ideas for relaunching European political integration is “military union” (une défense commune), the others being currency union and the abolition of member states’ vetoes. Mrs Thatcher refuses all three ideas in private at the summit with “No! No! No!” but is forbidden by her party bosses from even mentioning the phrase, or the military union proposal, until she defiantly uses the phrase (without its military context) in her last month as Prime Minister.
The foundations are laid for a Common Foreign and Security Policy
The European Council in Maastricht lays the foundations for a political Union with the creation of a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the beginnings of a common defence policy (ESDP/CSDP, a major component of the CFSP), as the second pillar of the Treaty of Maastricht.
The text is signed in February 1992 and comes into force in November 1993.
Chirac signs Blair up for a Franco-British core of EU military union
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac sign the Saint-Malo Declaration to make the Franco-British axis the motor of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy. Twenty EU military interventions have since been launched under the CSDP. As Chirac and Blair foresee a military future increasingly independent of the USA, Canada and NATO, the 1998 Saint-Malo Declaration marks the victory of French doctrine (housing Europe’s autonomous military capacity within the EU) over the doctrine of the UK and several other EU member states (maintaining Europe’s autonomous military capacity within the Western European Union, a since-defunct military alliance unrelated to the EU).
Launch of the European Security and Defence Policy
At the European Council in Cologne, the EU 15 decide to reinforce the Common Foreign and Security Policy.
Signature of Berlin Plus
The ‘Berlin Plus’ arrangement is signed, allowing the use of NATO structures, mechanisms and assets to carry out ESDP missions.
European Security Strategy adopted
The summit in Brussels adopts a European Security Strategy. The aim of the document is to achieve a secure Europe in a better world, identify the threats facing the EU, define its strategic objectives and set out the political implications for Europe.
Creation of the European Defence Agency
The European Defence Agency is established to support the member states and the European Council to improve European defence capabilities in the field of crisis management and to sustain ESDP.
First Franco British Council Roundtable
Quentin Davies MP, Minister for Defence Equipment, attends the first Franco British Council Roundtable on integrating British and French military.
The Treaty of Lisbon comes into force. The CSDP succeeds the ESDP
The Treaty of Lisbon, signed in 2007, enters into force, renaming ESDP to Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). It provides for the creation of the European External Action Service. Commission delegations in countries outside the EU become EU delegations.
Second Franco British Council Roundtable
The Franco‐British Council (FBC) and the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) host the second Franco British Council Roundtable on bilateral defence “cooperation” at the French Embassy in London.
The purpose of this meeting is twofold. Firstly, it aims to extend the FBC’s “Britain, France and Defence” initiative of October 2009.
Secondly, ahead of the May 2010 General Election, they feel it important to “resume discussions before the formation of a new government and a reassessment of British strategic priorities”.
Third Franco British Council Roundtable
The Franco‐British Council (FBC) and the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) host the third Franco British Council Roundtable on bilateral defence “cooperation” at the residence of the British Ambassador in Paris.
Speakers include Gisela Stuart MP, Contre Amiral Pascal Ausser, Edward Leigh MP, Amiral Alain Coldefy, Francoise Hostalier, depute, Kevin Taylor of BAE systems and Vice Admiral Paul Lambert.
The event was sponsored by BAE Systems.
Lancaster House Treaties – A Fifty Year Defence Pact Between Britain and France
British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy sign two defence treaties at 10 Downing Street.
The announcement was made by the two leaders following a summit meeting held at Lancaster House. No debate was held in Parliament.
Priority actions for defence set out
For the first time since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the European Council discusses defence and identifies priority actions for stronger cooperation:
- increasing the effectiveness, visibility and impact of Common Security and Defence Policy
- enhancing the development of capabilities
- strengthening Europe’s defence industry
Jean-Claude Junker calls for an “EU Army”
Jean-Clause Junker, President of the European Commission calls for an “EU Army”.
“You would not create a European army to use it immediately,” Juncker told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
“But a common army among the Europeans would convey to Russia that we are serious about defending the values of the European Union.”
Junker made many similar statements throughout 2015, and made it clear to David Cameron that military union would be a condition of any “new settlement” between Britain and the EU.
European Political Strategy Centre publishes White Paper on military unification
Jean-Claude Junker’s defence advisor Michel Barnier issues a white paper through the European Political Strategy Centre, the EU’s in-house think tank, calling for military union.
Germany and the Netherlands step up their military cooperation
Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert and her German colleague Ursula von der Leyen sign two agreements on far-reaching cooperation measures. The signing takes place on board the Karel Doorman, which is moored in Amsterdam’s harbour.
Included in the agreement are the integration of the German Naval Force Protection Battalion (Seebataillon) into the Royal Netherlands Navy, the integration of the 43rd Mechanized Brigade into the German 1st Armoured Division, and agreements on joint air defence.
Presentation of the European Union global strategy
High Representative Federica Mogherini presents the EU global strategy on foreign and security policy to EU leaders, meeting in Brussels at the EU summit.
The High Representative was mandated to prepare the new strategy by the European Council in June 2015. The strategy, under the title ‘Shared vision, common action: a stronger Europe’ reflects the collective views expressed in the process and offers a strategic vision for the EU’s global role. In these challenging times, both for Europe and globally, the strategy highlights common ground and presents a way forward.