On June 25, the defense chiefs from nine EU countries signed off on the creation of a new force called the European Intervention Initiative (EII), that will change the European security environment.
The group includes the UK, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Estonia, Spain, and Portugal. Italy may join soon. The new organization will have a common budget and a doctrine establishing its guidelines for acting and joint planning for contingencies in which NATO may not get involved.
When the EU established Schengen to open up its internal borders, the arrogant profit minded business establishment in Brussels forgot to set up a common security force to protect its external borders.
The new force is to be much more efficient than anything else the EU has to offer, with a streamlined decision-making process that will permit a quick reaction time. Its relatively small number of members (9 out of 28) will give it more flexibility in comparison with the EU or NATO.
More importantly, its main mission is to offer a rapid response to crises that could threaten European internal security, such as the current migrant crisis. The operations are to be conducted independently from US control.
If the process gains traction, Norway, a NATO member that is outside the EU, plus Sweden and Finland, which are EU members outside of NATO, may consider joining the EII as well.
Will it undermine NATO, to a certain extent it will. At the same time, this gives NATO an opportunity to focus on the European theater of operations without being distracted by other hot spots, such as extended migrant issues. Any coin has two sides.
Afghanistan is an example of “NATO solidarity” but is also an example of how a crisis that takes place outside of the alliance’s primary area of responsibility has weakened NATO’s standing in Europe.
Europeans have participated in the hostile operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, conflicts in which they have no interest, in order to please the USA. NATO forces Europeans to focus more on the so-called “Russian threat” that no one takes seriously, despite the fact that defending its own borders is a pressing issue.
The real threat to Europe comes from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The planned creation of migrant reception centers in Africa may require military involvement.
Europe can never be truly independent without the capability to mount a robust defense on its own. For instance, the EU needs a joint border force to prevent illegal immigration, which is plainly a real threat.
The interests of the new group and Russia are not in conflict. Far from it. If the Russian-backed Syrian government finally wins, the flood of refugees to Europe will significantly diminish. Some migrants may return home. Russia has an important role to play in Libya, another source of refugees.
If an international operation in Libya is approved by the UN Security Council, the EII and Russia may act together, unified by a common interest. NATO and the EU are being torn apart by internal conflicts while the EII is not. That group will be able to stand up to real threats, not imaginary ones.
Whatever is in store for the newborn alliance, this is very bad for NATO, as this news is coming just a couple of weeks before the summit that may break up the alliance and consign the much-vaunted concept of “Western unity” to its grave.
Russia Insider / ABC Flash Point Europe News 2018.