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.
Europeans have participated in the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, conflicts in which they have no interest, in order to please the US. The real threat to Europe comes from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The planned creation of migrant reception centers in Africa may require military involvement. Washington views Europe’s migrant crisis as a far-flung problem that does not directly impact its own national security interests. NATO forces Europeans to focus more on the so-called Russian threat that no one takes seriously, despite the fact that defending its own borders is a pressing issue.
With the EU still unable to bring its plans to fruition, the project led by President Macron stands a very good chance of creating a European group that would become an independent global player. NATO and the EU are being torn apart by internal conflicts while the EII is not. That group will be able to stand up to real threats, not imaginary ones.
NATO and the EU defense initiatives are failing to meet the interests of European security, forcing those nations to seek other alternatives, such as the EII. The threat of the Russian bogeyman has failed to paper over those differences. The quest continues. Whatever is in store for the newborn alliance, this is very bad for NATO, as this news is coming just a couple of weeks before the summit that may break up the alliance and consign the much-vaunted concept of “Western unity” to its grave.