Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD), a part of the ruling German coalition, has proposed that there should be an armed force that would be controlled by the European Parliament and the European Commission, but such a move would be harmful to Poland, according to Polish security expert Jakub Palowski.
The armed forces envisaged by the SPD would answer to the European Commission defense commissioner, but any use of such forces would be decided by a defense committee of the European Parliament, reports Polish outlet Defense24.
This would represent a major change within the EU as it would mean that such a force would not be accountable to member state governments.
The unit in question would function along the lines of the rapid reaction force of NATO. It would have 8,000 soldiers which could be augmented by the armies of the member states on missions. Currently, there are 1,500 soldiers on EU missions which are made up of member states army personnel.
The force would be financed by member states in accordance with their GDP and populations. It would be complimentary to NATO forces and could be deployed externally or within the EU. If implemented it would amount to a significant step on the way to transferring power from member state governments to a pan-European level.
This is a risky scenario for Poland. First of all, it means handing more power to European institutions without the power of a national veto.
Second, it moves the debate away from the need for member state governments in NATO to increase defense spending and the need for nuclear deterrence capacity.
EU member states investing in a European army could use this to excuse for their low defense spending and low commitment to NATO.
The force would also be replicating functions performed by NATO forces. In the short term, it is unlikely to come about as it would imply a change in EU treaties for which there is no agreement on the horizon.