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Will EU Remain Spectators in Arms Race?

Emmaneul Macron, the youngest president in French history and the youngest French head of state since Napoleon, has said: ‘In the absence of a legal framework, they (EU member states) could rapidly face a new race for conventional weapons, even nuclear weapons, on their own soil.’ Macron warns EU ‘cannot remain spectators’ in arms race.

Wael El-Manzalawy

Emmaneul Macron, the youngest president in French history and the youngest French head of state since Napoleon, has said: ‘In the absence of a legal framework, they (EU member states) could rapidly face a new race for conventional weapons, even nuclear weapons, on their own soil.’ Macron warns EU ‘cannot remain spectators’ in arms race.

After pulling American troops from northeastern Syria without giving notice to France and other EU powers, Emmaneul Macron said: ‘What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO.’ But the Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany opposed Macron’s remarks ‘I don’t think that such sweeping judgments are necessary, even if we have problems and need to pull together.’ Ms. Merkel said. ‘NATO remains vital to our security.’

Mr. Macron wants the Europeans to increase their military power in collaboration with NATO but not beholden to it. Mr. Macron thinks that the current balance between EU, Russia, China and the United States ‘has led to the exceptional fragility of Europe, which if it can’t think of itself as a global power, will disappear.’

Will Britain, Europe’s other nuclear power, be part of the deeper EU military cooperation after Brexit? I think that UK prefers deeper cooperation with the United States. But Mr. Macron said: ‘Since 1995, France and the United Kingdom have stated clearly there is no situation in which a threat to one’s vital interests would not also be a threat to the other’s.’

On the other hand, France and some EU nations started restoring dialogue with President Vladmir Putin, who controls the world largest nuclear arsenal.

Macron and France are ready to be part and not only spectators in arms race but are the other European powers –Germany and Italy for example- ready to share in arms race? To be clear: Are the European powers ready to decrease their dependence on NATO for the sake of an EU military power? I think that in the near future, the European powers will still depend on NATO. But all things start as ideas. These ideas may take decades in order to materialize. The idea of EU military power exists and may materialize in the future.

Wael El-Manzalawy

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