Militarization by treaty or why Europe's constitutional treaty is endangering peace

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by Tobias Pflueger

On the base of the treaty, signed on October 29th, 2004, no peaceful Europe can be achieved.

1. The weighting of votes is for the benefit ofthe big countries - especially Germany
Neither during the governmental conference nor inthe convent for the elaboration of the Europeanconstitutional draft where those aspects of thetreaty seriously disputed in which die EU getsfurthermore militarised. Main point of debate onthe governmental conference was the weighting ofvotes within Europe. According to the proposal ofthe constitutional convent most decisions at thecouncil of the European Union should be reachedwith a "double majority" beginning in 2009: majoritydecisions should be accomplished if at least13 of the 25 Governments representing 60 per centof the population would agree. Poland and Spainopposed to adjust the weighting of the votes onthe number of population, because those countriesbenefited from the current arrangement (the treatyof Nizza) and would clearly loose weight underthe new arrangement. Vice versa Germany as themost populous country would obviously gainweight. This is the status quo, which remained inplace after the agreement on the governmentalconference on June 17/18, 2004. But, to havePoland and Spain get on board, too, the approvalrate had been raised to 55% of the member statesand to 65% of the population. It is interesting tosee how the weighting of votes has switched incontrast to the treaty of Nizza. Germany increasedits votes in the council from 9.0% to 18.2%, whatmeans a huge gain of 9.2%, France raised from9.0% to 13.2 % - that accords to an increase ofvotes of 4.2%, afterwards comes Great Britainwith an increase by 4.0% from 9.0% to 13%, andItaly from 9.0% to 12.6%, that is an increase by3.6 %. Spain had to accept a gain of only 0.6% from 8.4% to 9.0% and Poland had to be contentnot loosing any percentage points at all, stagnatingon an 8,4% share at the council. Every othermember state is loosing between 0.5% up to 1.5%compared to the Treaty of Nizza, which is still inforce at the moment. Therefore it should be clearwho are those having a special interest in the cominginto force of the constitutional treaty. But thereal drama of this reallocation is the annulment ofthe hitherto existing principle of equality betweenthe European member states. The parity of votesbetween the big states Germany, France, GreatBritain and Italy gets abolished. Furthermore, the4 big ones gain 21% of the vote in addition, Spainrises by 3.6%, the medium-sized and smallercountries loose accordingly.

2. Getting Europe fit for the ability to wageglobal war
It is the obvious aim of the constitutional treatyregarding the foreign- and military policy to makethe EU ready for a global ability to wage war. Thetreaty should "provide the Union with an operationalcapacity drawing on civil and military assets"(Art. I-41, Sect. 1). Armament develops intoa constitutional command. " Member States shallundertake progressively to improve their militarycapabilities". (Art. I-41, Sect. 3). And additionally,an "Agency in the field of defence capabilitiesdevelopment, research, acquisition and armaments" (European Defence Agency), [formerly: "European Armaments, Research and MilitaryCapabilities Agency"] should monitor this and "contribute to identifying and, if necessary, implementingany useful measure for strengtheningthe industrial and technological base of the defencesector and for improving the effectivenessof military expenditure" (Art. III-311, Sect 1).

The fact that the European Parliament and theEuropean Court are explicitly excluded from controllingthe foreign and military policy is also seriouslytroubling. The options for intervening aregetting enormously enlarged. The military optionsare described in Article III-309. The so-calledPetersberg-tasks (humanitarian missions up tocombat missions) are amended by so called "disarmamentwars", a neologism by Joschka Fischer,who invented this term before the Iraq war.

But also military actions in the war against terrorare defined. A highly explosive topic is describedin Article III-312: "Those Member States whichwish to participate in the permanent structuredcooperation referred to in Article I-41(6), whichfulfil the criteria and have made the commitmentson military capabilities set out in the Protocol onpermanent structured cooperation shall notify theirintention to the Council and to the Union Ministerfor Foreign Affairs."

All efforts to establish an European constitution,which includes a civil responsibility for the maintenanceof peace in the world, have failed. Insteadof speaking out for a stronger role of the UnitedNations in cross national conflicts and to submit tothe charter of the UN, especially the ban of violence,there is the quotation of the "enhancement"of international law and only a commitment to thefundamentals of the UN charter, which leaves thepossibility of European military interventions, notmandated by the UN, open.

There also aren't explicit formulations, for examplethat there should never again spread war fromEuropean territories. In addition, there is no ban ofpreventive wars or a distinct prohibition of interventionistpolicies. Helpful institutions, whichcould contribute to the creation of a peacefulEurope can’t be found either: Neither an Europeanagency for disarmament and conversion, nor adepartment for the prohibition of arms exports areestablished.

This constitutional treaty is far away from anEuropean Union, which is dismissing war andmilitary means as an solution to conflicts, which iswilling to abolish all weapons of mass destructionand adapting their defence industry to the productionof civil goods as well as ending their armsexports. A peace-providing reduction of all militarycapacities down to the inability to wage offensivewar is turned into the opposite by this constitutionaltreaty. Everything is subordinated to thestructural and actual ability to wage war. Obviously,that’s the only way to reach global powerprojection abilities in the European Union's ownself-conception.

3. The concrete implementation in the EuropeanSecurity Strategy
While the EU constitutional treaty was still underdebate, the heads of government of the memberstates were already busy with the implementationof its military aspects: In December 2003, theypassed an allying military strategy in Rome, theso-called "European Security Strategy" (ESS).

Even before, the German chancellor was amazedabout the fact that all EU countries accepted themaster copy which mirrors mostly the Germanand French agenda: "First of all, with respect tothe inner European differences, it is remarkablethat Javier Solana's European security strategydraft was looked upon so favourably by all EUpartners".(Internationale Politik, Nr. 9-2003)

In fact, the master copy of the High Representativefor the European Common Foreign and SecurityPolicy (CFSP), Javier Solana, was passedessentially unchanged. It names three strategicpriorities:
- First, the fight against Terror;
- Second, the fight against the proliferation ofweapons of mass destruction; and
- Third, support for "failed states" as an instrumentagainst organised crime.

How the EU is going to act militarily is also mentionedin this strategy paper: "As a Union of 25members, spending more than 160 billion Euroson defence, we should be able to sustain severaloperations simultaneously." And elsewhere: "Ourtraditional concept of self- defence - up to andincluding the Cold War - was based on the threatof invasion. With the new threats, the first line ofdefence will often be abroad. The new threats aredynamic."

Regarding „Lines of defence" which are abroad, the so-called preemptive war doctrine of the USAdministration's "National Security Strategy"(NSS) clearly comes into mind. However, the EUavoided words like "preemptive war" or "preventivewar". Concerning this matter, the homepageof the German governments states: "The contentiousterm 'preemptive engagement' was substitutedby 'preventive engagement.'"

Official explanations suggest that the new termnow means "prevention" in terms of the civil preventionof conflicts. But the "Neue Zuericher Zeitung"(15.12.03) assumes that the term "preemptive"was avoided because it is a "buzz word". TheInternational Herald Tribune says the term gotreplaced only because there are no words for "preemptive" in some EU-languages. However, Lines of defence abroad is the paraphrasing term for "attack operations" and attacking before the opponentattacks that is aggression against internationallaw.

4. European Defence Paper includingpreventive war
As a consequence, the Paris Institute for StrategicStudies (ISS), which was working for the EuropeanMilitary Alliance, the Western EuropeanUnion (WEU) until 2001, was assigned to workout different mission scenarios for EU-troops,based on the yet not ratified Constitutional Treatyand the European Security Strategy.

The result was a study made by senior militaryadvisers in October 2004, the "European DefencePaper". Its conclusions are striking: The authorsdemand a resolute, immediate and comprehensivearmament of the EU. The aim should be to gainworld-power-status and to be capable to conductoffensive wars. In this strategy, "preventive engagement"is just taken for granted.

Offensive wars will be fixed on European level.Nuclear options won't be excluded anymore. LotharRuehl, former Assistant Secretary of State inthe German Department of Defence and co-authorof the "European Defence Paper", stated contentedlythat the issue of "Preemption/Prevention" ismostly treated under the aspect of missions withconventional troops and special operational forces.

But "at least" the possibility of "explicitly" or "implicitly" involving British and French nuclearforces is mentioned. (Lothar Ruehl: Lueckezwischen Mittel und Zweck. Das "European DefencePaper"; Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung10/01/.2004) As a matter of fact, the Strategy Paperssays concerning the war settings of the futureEU-force: "(W)e have not avoided presenting scenariosin which the national nuclear forces of EUmember states (France and the United Kingdom)may enter into the equation either explicitly orimplicitly."

5. The new "battle groups"
The EU also generously supports concrete armamentsfor global warfare. Recently the Secretariesof Defence specified the future deployment ofEuropean "battle troops". Appointments made inSeptember 2004 in the Dutch city of Noordwijkled to the domination of the German-French cartelof power over the battle groups, which are rapidly deployable. The fundamental decision in the Constitutionto turn the EU into a power with theglobal ability to wage war was accomplished byBerlin and Paris.

Beneath the realisation of the armament programme,Berlin and Brussels are also promotingthe troop deployment. In March 2004, the EUSecretariesof Defence decided a roadmap for theglobal ability to wage war, the so-called "Head-Line-Goal", which has been ratified on the summitof the heads of state in June 2004.

The plan provides to build up an upgraded army,which should be available for worldwide militaryinterventions under a single EU-command in theyear 2010. Two major aspects of the troops envisionedfor this are now being developed: TheEuropean reaction force, which shall be able todeploy up to 60.000 troops for a sustained periodin a crisis region and the "battlegroups", smallfighting units of 1.500 elite soldiers each, whichshall be sent as the first units into a crisis region tofight the way for the reaction forces.

This refers again to the protocol with the "permanentstructured (military) cooperation", that is dueto fix the dimension of a core European militarizationin the future constitutional treaty. One of thefirst EU-battlegroups shall be the German-Frenchbrigade in Müllheim.

6. Core Europe as "structured Cooperation" inthe military realm
Beside the general steps of militarization applyingto all member states, article I-41 and article III-312 are by way of the so called "structured cooperation"nothing less than a juridical frameworkfor the pooling of only a few states in the field ofmilitary policy - within the EU. The otherwisestipulated unanimity concerning the foreign andmilitary policy of the EU is explicit only referringto those who take part in the structured cooperation,the other ones have to keep out.

For the concrete design of this core Europeanmilitary policy, article III-312 refers on the respectiveprotocol attached to the constitutionaltreaty. In this context, it is necessary to know thatthe public discussion is - if at all - focused on themore than 460 articles of the constitutional treaty.Virtually nobody talks about the 350 pages ofprotocols and the 112 pages of explanations thatwill be binding law after ratification. Actuallythey are unknown to the public. A closer look atthe specific protocol concerning the structuredcooperation reveals that they by no means areaddressing irrelevant aspects. Not only the cooperation with NATO and the asserting of the willingnessto contribute to the "vitality of a renewedAtlantic Alliance" (CIG 87/04) ADD 1) is stressedbut one can also find there unmistakably detailedconstitutional commands for a military coreEurope. Plainly speaking, it is put forward that every member state is allowed to participate in the "permanent structured cooperation" that commitsitself to "proceed more intensively to develop itsdefence capacities through the development of itsnational contributions and participation, whereappropriate, in multinational forces, in the mainEuropean equipment programmes, and in the activityof the Agency in the field of defence capabilitiesdevelopment, research, acquisition andarmaments."

Obviously, this protocol establishes that the coreof those European states that commit themselvesto an outstanding preparedness for military aggressivenessand massive armaments are able tomilitarise their Common Foreign and SecurityPolicy in the context of the permanent structuredcooperation.

This liability is further specified in the protocol.Because the aim is to "have the capacity to supplyby 2007 at the latest ... targeted combat units ...within a period of 5 to 30 days … which can besustained for an initial period of 30 days and beextended up to at least 120 days." To fulfill theseobligations, article 2 of the protocol talks aboutthe "objectives concerning the level of investmentexpenditure on defence equipment, and [to] regularlyreview these objectives, in the light of thesecurity environment and of the Union's internationalresponsibilities." The approximation of the"defensive instruments" is also written down, aswell as the common goals for the deployment oftroops.

To recapitulate, this protocol is a symbol of anunrestricted military core Europe. The relatingprovisions shall be constitutionally enshrined. Onedoesn't want to leave something to chance. If theseconstitutional provisions will turn into reality anobligation for armament and for an increasedreadiness to engage in military missions will begenerated.

This is not only true due to the provisions in articleI-41 but also specifically by the totally new"structures cooperation" in the military sector.

Because of the German government there will be amuch stronger commitment to obtain a fullyfledgedability to wage war in the context of amilitarised core Europe. Therefore, the crucial question remains whether France and especiallyGermany will be able to gather enough votes afterthe ratification of the constitution to remain onthis track hitherto European wars. As a threat tothe other EU states, the provisions of the "structuredcooperation" are already taking effect today.The danger of an accelerated militarization of theGerman foreign policy with the goal to wageEuropean wars autonomously is taking shape.This is the real problem.

Tobias Pflueger is on the board of directors of theInformationsstelle Militarisierung (IMI) and a Memberof the European Parliament.

Informationsstelle Militarisierung (IMI) e.V., Hechingerstr. 203, 72072 Tübingen

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