Als NATO-Mitglieder könnten die EU-Länder den transatlantischen Sicherheitsinteressen besser dienen als im Rahmen einer supranationalen und anti-demokratischen Institution, schreibt Sally McNamara, EU-Expertin beim Margaret Thatcher Centre for Freedom, in einem im Oktober veröffentlichten Paper für die Heritage Foundation.
While the West has „rightly“ invested in combating terrorism, McNamara observes that Russia’s „illegitimate“ invasion of Georgia „demonstrated that the threat of traditional military confrontation has not disappeared“. She thus argues that Europe must „rebuild its militaries to undertake operations in both security contexts, determining what threats they are likely to face and how best to approach them“.
Though the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) has been in place for nearly a decade, the author states that „average European defence spending has decreased,“ while „NATO has seen little or no valuable complementarity“.
On top of this, McNamara maintains that „serious questions remain about the EU’s motivation in pursuing a military identity“. Indeed, the bloc’s cautious response to the Georgia-Russia war highlights just „how far Brussels is from assuming a strong and united foreign policy,“ she argues.
EU-NATO relations are underpinned by the ‚Berlin Plus‘ agreement signed in December 2002, McNamara explains. While the agreement gave the Union access to NATO’s planning capabilities and assets for EU-led crisis management operations, the „United States also anticipated a bigger commitment by the EU to upgrading its military capabilities,“ she claims.
Instead, McNamara believes the bloc signed the Berlin Plus agreement „for the purposes of elevating its own status and gaining access to NATO assets,“ noting that there has since been „no genuine European commitment to increasing defence spending“.
Moreover, the ESDP has played little or no role in „safeguarding the freedom and security of its member countries by political and military means,“ she argues, adding that „advocates of EDSP continue to assume the benefits of further European integration, while ignoring its inherent weaknesses and poor track record“.
McNamara concludes that America’s desire to „see Europe play a larger role in world affairs has led to a misplacement of trust that this can take place under the leadership of the European Union“.