Italian Minister Proposes European Army

Seamus Esparza's picture

Italy's Foreign Minister leads the push to create a European army for the post-Lisbon EU. As a new Europe takes shape following the adoption of the Lisbon treaty the Minister suggests that Europe should not be left behind the superpowers.

According to Franco Frattini, the Italian Foreign Minister, "that if some countries want to enter into reinforced co-operation between themselves they can do so". As is the case with the euro and the Schengen accords on frontier-free travel, and can now be applied to "common European defense".

Frattini believes that unless Europe forms a common army it willl surpassed by the two super powers of the U.S. and China. Using the example of Afghanistan he suggested that the EU would be in better position to give real support to such operations with a common military.

Building upon the standardization of weapons and equipment from the NATO the partner nations of the EU would not need to worry about "duplication" with different countries contributing one set of resources while leaving an intact defense force.

Continuing he suggested that "some European countries" such as France were not pulling their weight in Afghanistan.

"Italy is already doing quite a lot: we have 3,200 men deployed, plus a contingent of 400 men for the elections who should now be able to return home. We send most officers after the United States to train the Afghan police and army, and we have abolished the caveats limiting the deployment of our troops, in return for more intelligence sharing."

Adding emphasis that many hands make for light work: " Even in the most difficult moments, such as the recent death of six Italian soldiers in Kabul, Italy has remained united in supporting the mission" "Europe could deploy a joint naval fleet or air force in the Mediterranean: why not? We could say, look, one group of nations is ready at once, and leave the door open for others to join, as with the euro."

Originally a member of the Italian Socialist Party, Frattini has been a member of Silvio Berlusconi's government since 2001, and Foreign Minister of Italy since November 2002.

As of yet there is no common consenses as to how a militarily unified Europe would handle all off it's problems such as illegal immigration, terrorism, administration of justice, and the admittance of countries like Turkey.

Nor is it known how hold out countries like Ireland would take this plan.

Written by Seamus Esparza

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