Monday 25 May 2009

Progress in EU military capabilities development - Lisbon without Lisbon?

One of the frequent critiques to the Lisbon Treaty is the extension of EU competencies with regard to military activities.

I have the feeling that those who are criticising the Treaty for including the obvious are already missing crucial developments.

While they claim that there will be a European army under Lisbon - which is nowhere in the text - the European military co-operation is further advancing even without the entry in to force of the Treaty.

Although my expertise in the field of European defence policy is very limited, taking a look at the latest Single Progress Report on the Development of EU Military Capabilities (which is very technical and would need more thorough studying from someone with more knowledge) clearly reveals that a lot is going on already.

The developments are based on the military capabilities enhancement strategy, and one of the goals seems to be to foster the co-operation between the Council's Military Committee (EUMC) and the European Defence Agency (EDA).

The latest conclusions (18 May) of the General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) also mention intensified co-operation between the EDA and the Commission.

So the development of military capabilities and inter-institutional co-operation seems to be advancing step by step - and Lisbon looks more like an institutionalisation of what is already becoming a practice, and not much like something new.


Ralf Grahn said...

The current Treaty of Nice was agreed in December 2000, and formally signed in early 2001.

The long and tortuous road towards treaty reform - with the Treaty of Lisbon not yet in force - means that policies and activities have progressed.

In many instances the Lisbon Treaty is only a slightly updated version of existing practices, more logical and readable than the existing treaties.

Even the explicit reforms tend to be over-rated, because they are incremental in nature and certainly much less than the dramatic descriptions by many oppenents of the EU.

Piecemeal progress is better than no progress, but the European Union will remain a "hobbled giant" on the world stage even if the Lisbon Treaty enters into force.