Henri Bentegeat

Military of the European Union

At present, there is no military of the European Union, as the European integration has not developed very far in the area of defence. There have however been a number of defence initiatives, peacekeeping operations and organisations established in the context of the European Union (EU). The actual defence of the Union is the domain of individual Member States.

An early attempt to integrate the militaries of Western Europe, was the failed 1952 European Defence Community. But since then many politicians, including Guy Verhofstadt, Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, promised to create a European military. As many of the 27 EU member states are also members of NATO, some EU states cooperate on defense policy (collective security) albeit primarily through NATO rather than through the EU or aligned group (such as the Western European Union). However, the memberships of the EU, WEU, and NATO are distinct, and some EU member states are constitutionally committed to remain neutral on defence issues. Several of the new EU member states were formerly members of the Warsaw Pact.

The EU currently has a limited mandate over defence issues, with a role to explore the issue of European defence agreed to in the Amsterdam Treaty, as well as oversight of the Helsinki Headline Goal Force Catalogue (the 'European Rapid Reaction Force') processes. However, some EU states may and do make multilateral agreements about defence issues outside of the EU structures.

Cooperation

The EU primarily acts through its Common Foreign and Security Policy, though Denmark has an opt-out from this and some states are limited by neutrality issues. As a result forces under EU command have been for peacekeeping, in which European states have a great deal of experience.

If all the member states' annual spending was taken as a bloc the figure would amount to over $292.7 billion, second only to the US military's $518 billion. However the cumulative effect is much less than it seems due to duplication of capacities in individual militaries. There have been efforts to overcome this with joint projects such as the Eurofighter and through joint procurement of equipment.

For example:

1) There are several European tank versions (e.g. Leclerc, Leopard 2, ERC-90, AMX-30, Challenger 2, Ariete-C1, Centauro,PT-91, T-72CZ), but the US military uses only one tank version.
2) There are several European IFV versions (e.g. FV530, AMX-10P, Puma, Puma (AFV), CV90, Dardo IFV Jaguar-2), but the US military uses only one IFV version.

Recent developments

The new Treaty of Lisbon will merge a number of elements of the Western European Union (WEU) into the European Union, but not completely disestablish the WEU. It also says that:

'The common security and defence policy shall include the progressive framing of a common defence policy. This will lead to a common defence, when the European Council, acting unanimously, so decides'. (TEU, Article 27)

British ministers initially objected to this clause. They wrote 'We believe that the European Council will not make that decision anytime soon. It is therefore inappropriate for the Treaty to pre-judge the decision of the European Council.' However, British ministers later gave way.

On 23 March 2007, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country held the EU presidency at that time, gave an interview in celebration of the EU's fiftieth birthday, in which she expressed the desire for a unified EU army.

On 14 July 2007 French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called on the EU to create a unified military; soldiers from all 27 EU countries marched through the Champs-Elysees as part of that year's Bastille Day celebrations on the invitation of Sarkozy.

Deployment

In 2004 EU countries took over leadership of the mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina from NATO through the European Union Force (EUFOR). The mission was given the branding of an EU initiative as the EU sponsored the force to further the force's image of legitimacy. There have been other deployments such as in Gaza and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Recently the European High Representative for Foreign Policy, Javier Solana has indicated the EU could send troops to Georgia, perhaps alongside Russian forces.

See pages of individual forces below for details or Overseas interventions of the European Union.

Military forces and groups

Actors, agencies and policies

Member States' military spending

US$ billion
ImageSize = width:auto height:250 barincrement:50 PlotArea = left:50 bottom:15 top:10 right:20 AlignBars = justify DateFormat = yyyy Period = from:0 till:600 TimeAxis = orientation:vertical ScaleMajor = unit:year increment:50 start:0

PlotData=

 color:tan2 width:25
 bar:USA from:start till:533
 bar:EU from:start till:293
 bar:China from:start till:45
 bar:Russia from:start till:32

The hypothetically combined EU military
budget compared to foreign military powers.

Country Defence Budget (USD)
France 74,690,470,000
UK 68,911,000,000
Germany 45,930,000,000
Italy 40,060,000,000
Spain 15,792,207,000
Netherlands 12,000,000,000
Poland 10,838,000,000
Greece 7,648,561,000
Sweden 6,309,137,714
Belgium 4,000,000,000
Portugal 3,497,800,000
Denmark 3,271,600,000
Romania 2,900,000,000
Finland 2,800,000,000
Austria 2,334,900,000
Czech Republic 2,170,000,000
Slovakia 1,408,000,000
Hungary 1,376,000,000
Ireland 1,300,000,000
Bulgaria 1,000,000,000
Latvia 672,356,045
Lithuania 490,800,000
Estonia 487,049,967
Cyprus 384,000,000
Slovenia 370,000,000
Luxembourg 231,600,000
Malta 44,640,000
EU combined 311,920,000,000

All figures are from the List of countries and federations by military expenditures

Size of European militaries

This is a list of European Union/EFTA/Candidate countries sorted by the total number of active troops where the military manpower of a country is measured by the total amount of active troops within the command of that country. Reserved forces which can aid a depleted active military and/or paramilitary are also listed to illustrate a country's total manpower.

Rank Nation Status Active Service Personnel Reserve Force Paramilitary Total Active troops/
1000 citizens
Tanks Combat aircraft Transport aircraft
1 Turkey EU candidate 514,900 378,700 148,700 1,042,300 7.29 4205 352 206
2 France EU member 259,050 419,000 101,400 779,450 4.27 1021 408 147
3 Germany EU member 250,500 358,650 40,000 683,150 3.45 2408 444 176
4 Italy EU member 240,000 68,000 238,800 546,800 3.42 1180 460 176
5 United Kingdom EU member 206,480 233,880 0 440,360 3.41 1175 562 197
6 Spain EU member 177,950 328,500 72,600 579,050 3.49 661 267 110
7 Greece EU member 177,600 291,000 4,000 472,600 16.60 1000 254 35
8 Poland EU member 125,000 234,000 21,300 418,300 4.23 947 167 75
9 Romania EU member 75,000 0 79,900 173,519 4.31 340 71 70
10 Serbia Potential EU candidate 74,500 400,000 40,000 440,074,5 41 277 85 68
11 Czech Republic EU member 57,050 0 5,600 62,650 5.57 179 52 71
12 Netherlands EU member 53,130 32,200 3,300 88,630 3.24 119 115 43
13 Bulgaria EU member 51,000 303,000 34,000 385,450 7.85 590 80 46
14 Portugal EU member 44,900 210,930 25,600 281,430 4.25 100 45
15 Belgium EU member 40,800 100,500 0 141,300 3.94 132 68 37
16 Finland EU member 36,700 485,000 3,100 524,800 5.17 124 63
17 Austria EU member 34,600 72,000 N/A 106,600 4.23 237 16 3
18 Sweden EU member 33,900 262,000 35,000 295,900 3.07 280 166 41
19 Hungary EU member 33,400 90,300 12,000 135,700 3.31 180 55 30
20 Norway EFTA member 27,600 219,000 29,400 276,000 5.79 136 57 26
21 Slovakia EU member 26,200 20,000 4,700 50,900 4.05 457 27 24
22 Denmark EU member 22,880 64,900 61,500 149,280 4.24 57 60 15
23 Croatia EU candidate 21,200 12000 0 33,200 6.63 200 8 28
24 Lithuania EU member 13,510 309,200 14,390 33,100 3.53 2 24
25 Switzerland EFTA member 12,900 320,600 23,270 347,470 47.90 556 87
26 Republic of Macedonia EU candidate 12,850 60,000 7,600 80,450 6.28 31 10
27 Republic of Ireland EU member 10,500 14,000 0 24,500 5.78 0 0 12
28 Cyprus EU member 10,000 60,000 750 70,750 12.80 41 12
29 Slovenia EU member 9,000 20,000 4,500 33,500 1.21 84 0 12
30 Estonia EU member 5,700 39,000 11,000 55,700 4.13 0 0
31 Latvia EU member 5,500 14,050 3,200 22,750 2.13 3 0 3
32 Malta EU member 2,140 0 0 2,140 5.37 0 0
33 Luxembourg EU member 900 0 612 1,512 1.92 0 0 3
Total 8,405,876 17141 3993 1593

  • Approximate Figures
  • Source of active duty information: Center for Strategic and International Studies 2006 and Jaffa Center of Strategic Studies
  • Source of population information: List of countries by population

See also

References

External links

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