60 Ideas for Europe

The European Union’s Common Foreign and Security Policy is still ineffectual; the ESDP is no better. Meanwhile, Russia’s sense of insecurity over NATO expansion to its borders is matched only by its aggressive use of energy as a tool of policy.

So why not kill two birds with one stone? Forgive the metaphor…

Granted, the idea of Europe having any kind of military capability is deeply unnerving for many. But in order to have an effective world presence, it is necessary to back soft power with hard.

A European (not, mind, an EU) Security Council that included the only nations with any kind of serious military power-projection capability (Russia, Britain, France for the time being) could provide the leadership required. Supported by the rest of Europe, between them they might be able to provide one rapid-response and interoperable carrier or amphibious battle group to deal with emergencies and disasters overseas, for example.

Controversial, for sure. Such a structure mustn’t be like the UN Security Council, which embeds the obsolete WW2 balance of power into the modern political arena – there has to be room for flexibility. But clearly NATO and the WEU are failing to cope with the new world order – terrorism, ethnic conflicts such as Kosovo and Darfur – and there needs to be some kind of European political structure in place in order to make Europe a relevant actor on the global stage. It would also help bring Russia towards Europe instead of pushing it away.

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