April 2014        

Beyond the media-friendly soundbites

On the 19th and 20th of December last the European Council met; and to anyone who thinks that the EU is a benign body of people seeking to ease travel for all its citizens, and various other media-friendly soundbites, you are wrong—very wrong.
      For the first time since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the European Council held a thematic debate on “defence.” It identified “priority actions for stronger co-operation.” This debate was preceded by a meeting with the Secretary-General of NATO. He presented his assessment of current and future security challenges and welcomed the continuing efforts and commitments by the EU and its member-states as being compatible with, and beneficial to, NATO.
      The statement said that “an effective Common Security and Defence Policy helps to enhance the security of European citizens and contributes to peace and stability in our neighbourhood and in the broader world. But Europe’s strategic and geopolitical environment is evolving rapidly. Defence budgets in Europe are constrained, limiting the ability to develop, deploy and sustain military capabilities. Fragmented European defence markets jeopardise the sustainability and competitiveness of Europe’s defence and security industry.”
      This war seminar and tête-à-tête also agreed that “the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) will continue to develop in full complementarity with NATO in the agreed framework of the strategic partnership between the EU and NATO and in compliance with the decision-making autonomy and procedures of each. On that basis the European Council has identified a number of priority actions built around three axes: increasing the effectiveness, visibility and impact of CSDP; enhancing the development of capabilities and strengthening Europe’s defence industry.”
      It was a very busy meeting for these unelected gobshites. They also agreed that “new security challenges continue to emerge. Europe’s internal and external security dimensions are increasingly interlinked. To enable the EU and its Member States to respond, in coherence with NATO efforts, the European Council calls for:
• an EU Cyber Defence Policy Framework in 2014, on the basis of a proposal by the High Representative, in co-operation with the Commission and the European Defence Agency;
• an EU Maritime Security Strategy by June 2014, on the basis of a joint Communication from the Commission and the High Representative, taking into account the opinions of the Member States, and the subsequent elaboration of action plans to respond to maritime challenges;
• increased synergies between CSDP and Freedom/Security/Justice actors to tackle horizontal issues such as illegal migration, organised crime and terrorism;
• progress in developing CSDP support for third states and regions, in order to help them to improve border management;
• further strengthening co-operation to tackle energy security challenges.”
      It was also agreed that “co-operation should be facilitated by increased transparency and information sharing in defence planning, allowing national planners and decision-makers to consider greater convergence of capability needs and timelines. To foster more systematic and long-term co-operation the European Council invites the High Representative and the European Defence Agency to put forward an appropriate policy framework by the end of 2014, in full coherence with existing NATO planning processes.
      “Europe needs a more integrated, sustainable, innovative and competitive defence technological and industrial base (EDTIB) to develop and sustain defence capabilities. This can also enhance its strategic autonomy and its ability to act with partners. The EDTIB should be strengthened to ensure operational effectiveness and security of supply, while remaining globally competitive and stimulating jobs, innovation and growth across the EU.
      “These efforts should be inclusive with opportunities for the defence industry in the EU, balanced and in full compliance with EU law. The European Council stresses the need to further develop the necessary skills identified as essential to the future of the European defence industry.
      “. . . The European Council emphasises the importance of Security of Supply arrangements for the development of long-term planning and co-operation, and for the functioning of the internal market for defence. It welcomes the recent adoption within the European Defence Agency of an enhanced Framework Arrangement on Security of Supply and calls on the Commission to develop with Member States and in co-operation with the High Representative and the European Defence Agency a road map for a comprehensive EU-wide Security of Supply regime, which takes account of the globalised nature of critical supply chains.”
      There is no doubt that the the EU is planning for war; and war is big business, big profits. Forget about the loss of lives: that does not matter. Events lately are a portent of what is to come: Mali, Ukraine . . . the scope of their endeavours has no limitations.
      Don’t say you weren’t warned!

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