May 2016 – BRUSSELS – Plans to move towards the creation of a European army are reportedly being kept secret from British voters until the day after next month’s referendum. Drawn up by the EU’s foreign policy chief, the Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy foresees the formation of new European military and operational structures. This first step towards an EU army is supported by Germany and other countries, The Times reports.
In 2011, similar proposals were vetoed by Britain, although there were concerns that a loophole could allow nine states to group together to bypass opponents. In an effort to avoid derailing the Prime Minister’s Remain campaign, the policy plans will not be sent to national governments until the day after Britons vote. Until then, only a small group of EU political and security committee ambassadors, who must leave their electronic devices outside a sealed room, can read the proposal. However hand written notes can be taken.
Extracts of the text in notes taken by diplomats, seen by The Times, emphasize that “security and defense is where a step change is most urgent.” The paper warns that “in turbulent times, we need a compass to navigate the waters of a faster-changing world.” The news comes as figures show a record number of immigrants arrived in Britain last year for work, and net migration reached 333,0000. Head of foreign policy in the EU, Federica Mogherini, has reportedly spent 18 months preparing the defense document to be discussed by European leaders at a summit on June 28. –Telegraph
In many ways Paris has changed profoundly since the attacks, and along with it so has Europe. There have been large-scale atrocities on the Continent in recent years—in Madrid, London, and at the Charlie Hebdo offices, in Paris, in January of last year—but in the aftermath of this one there is a realization that Europe, its cities, and all those institutions predicated on unending peace are now vulnerable to bewilderingly rapid developments. It is, after all, only about 18 months since most of us first heard the names ISIS and ISIL.
Europe is beset by so many crises that it can be hard to remember them all. In rough order of prominence, they are: homegrown terrorism, the largest migration of people since World War II, sovereign debt, doubts about the euro’s viability, the rise of extreme right-wing parties such as France’s National Front, Russia’s menace to its western neighbors, growing Euro-skepticism (especially in Britain, which may easily vote to leave the European Union in a forthcoming referendum), the election of hard-line governments in Central and Eastern Europe, and the Catalan independence movement. Many of these are related—the sovereign-debt crises and doubts about the euro, for example—but they have combined over the last two years into a perfect storm which, with the notable exception of Germany’s Angela Merkel, has shown Europe’s leadership to be wanting in both speed and imagination. –Vanity Fair