Friday, October 8, 2010

EU defence Policy, and Frontex.

Starting with 2015 the American military base with terrestrial interceptors in Romania will be functional, followed up by the one in Poland in 2018. They will be part of a whole anti-missile system, along with satellite, ground and sea radars. The shield is meant to protect Europe from a possible attack from Iran, and not only.

But what will we have to give back or compromise in order to receive America's protection? Why can't Europe form its own defense mechanism and not rely on others for it? The idea of an European common defense is strongly supported by France and Germany. And I think it is about time to seriously consider it.

There are those of course that claim that we do not have any enemies,nobody is going to invade Europe so why do we need the army. Then we deffinately do not need U.S.A to protect us from anyone. Why do European governments allow them to install their missiles on European soil?

Is it for money or favoritism by the US Government? Perhaps this arrangement is an exchange for other business or financial preferences and investment. But such deals do not come without price. Europe can not form its own independent foreign policy in some areas. Our relation with our neighbors for example, the Russians who strongly protest over the missile installments, can never be bettered as long as we turn missiles towards them. 

What do we show to the Russians in this way? Why do we still keep living in the Cold War era and only because we keep needing a bogey man in the West, so that we can explain the vast amount of money that we spend on weaponry in Europe, and not in schools or universities? 

And all that so that a few arms companies can profit out of these deals. While our relationship with our neighbors the Russians is ever on a roller coaster.  I do not support all that they do or represent, but in the end of the day we have borders with them and we rely on them for our gas and oil not the Americans. 

We should seek to have better relations with Russia, and end the cold war. No one will attack Europe if we stick together, especially the Russians that make vast amount of money out of Europe through our trade for their gas and oil. Why on earth would you attack your best customer? As for Iran or anybody else, why would they attack a united Europe? Can any state have hopes of winning a conflict while having to face all European states together?

In my view a common EU defense will give us the autonomy to decide our own foreign policy.And that is something that we need. We are not talking about creating one single army to replace all national ones, rather a small highly equipped and trained to implement them. National ones will still continue to exist as normal. The European army will exist simply to offer assistance to any state in need.

With the possibility of facing not just one army but a highly organized European one too, together with the possibility of a more European reaction, who would actually attack any European state? The very existence of a common European army and defense policy would be our best form or defense, that we would rarely need to use it. More European solidarity and support for one another, would be our answer to any potential threat.

Some others that oppose the creation of a common European defense also point out that we need the "Anglo-American" intelligence and that by using theirs, we do not have to pay to create a new army from scrap. We should rather let the Americans protect us and invest these money to other causes they claim.

Well each NATO country contributes to its budget so why not use this money to support our own army. Why do we need other nations' intelligence and we can't create one of our own? We got involved in wars that we should not have (Iraq and Afghanistan), because most of us are in NATO.

Many that support NATO claim that it has kept peace in Europe and provided us with protection all these years. In my opinion the organization is a remnant of the Cold War days. When Europe was divided in two and half was under the protection, but also the control of the US and the other half under the Warsaw Pact, controlled by the Soviets.

Today Europe is being uniting again and its does not need the protection of any third powers. Protection from others equals dependency and how can Europe become a bigger player in the World without clear, united, firm and independent voice in all political, military and economic fields.

The NATO alliance has become from a defense mechanism to a tool to promote the interests of some Western powers' elites. Notably the oil and arms industries' elites. Some countries especially the new EU members in central and eastern Europe think that by joining will receive lump sums of money, military training from USA and protection from Russia. Why can't a united Europe provide them with all these?

They also want to give a message to Russia, that their dominance over them is over; that they have gained their freedom from them. Well by becoming dependent from another power, the case of freedom is relative. They have just changed "protectors," same theater scene but different actors. Why not combine and unite our resources and potential and instead of seeking protectors, become equal partners to them. 

Another point for the creation of a common defense policy is that an army is not used only in cases of war. But also during natural disasters and for controlling of the borders against illegal immigrants, drug, weapon and human traffickers into Europe. In cooperation with FRONTEX they must guard our outer borders since we have none inside the union, because of the Schengen area agreement.

Fancy a job creation? How about being able to work in any EU border as a patrol officer or any other qualification needed, anywhere in Europe's borders? All countries should contribute either financially or by providing equipment and with volunteering staff, since it is not only up to the countries on the borders to safeguard them. If one country has weak borders, we all take the consequences.

I believe that Europe should get out of the NATO alliance and create it's own defense system, so that we will be more independent from USA militarily and politically. Not that Europe and America should drift apart totally in those spheres. But what I envision is a more equal partnership between Europe, Russia and the US.

If Europe wants a stronger voice in the World political sphere, it should stop just being its largest market. Many EU member states have a neutral status but they already participate in all EU peace keeping forces (Ireland and Sweden for example). Contributing to Europe's defense is no different than protecting their own borders. Borders that are increasingly coming down between European states.

The European common defense policy will have a military body that will not replace the national ones rather implement it and assist the national armies in case of emergencies. This body that will be only for defense purposes, will be comprised by volunteering officers and soldiers from all member states.

It will be allowed to participate in peace keeping operations but only after the European Parliament's agreement and under the request of the UN. In fact the European Parliament should be given the command of the European army and the control of the European common defense policy's budget. Nations that still want to opt out will be able to do so if the public opinion is against it, but they can not block the rest of participating.

This is a plan that has still a long way to go until it is materialized, but hopefully it will be soon enough. Because most Europeans still feel that Europe has other priorities to deal with, instead of investing in another "common" policy. Plus they are weary and cautious of any plans for the "militarization" of Europe. What they do not realize is that as long we rely on others for protection, we do not have any choice in which conflicts we can get involved or not.

Bazaar "L'Europe"...!!!

Many euro-sceptics are shouting and demanding that Europe and EU does not proceed into a political union,and nation states do not lose their autonomy and "freedom". To me that is interpreted as "no to a fully functioning European Parliament, if any at all". No governance on European level, rather just trade. An EFTA/EEA kind of thing.

Well if we ignore the fact that any parliament is the base for a functioning democracy, and they accuse of EU not being democratic enough (how odd is that? Accusing for lack of democracy but then you reject the best democratic tool is being given to you), do we really want a Europe that is just a big market?

A big bazaar that companies and multinationals can sell their products and buy things. And we have NO say over what is happening in that market. A market that will affect us all directly since we are this market, while the rules and laws of this liberal "open" market apply to us all!

That is what is Europe at the moment,and see what problems we get. Problems that we have no way of controlling, since our governments do not necessarily advise us of their decisions and how they are going to affect us. The problems are being discussed on an intergovernmental level.

Leaders from all European countries participate in summits and forums, discussing ways of moving forward. But we are not informed on what is being discussed or asked for our opinion.

Isn't it better to have a stronger European Parliament with more responsibilities, roles, controls and since we can vote for our representatives and participate into the decisions taken in it, have a voice and say in the decisions?

A very important thing would be to be able to see what is being discussed in it. Rather being kept in the dark and rely on our national politicians who are most likely to blame their failings to EU. If you think about it, our governments and the bodies they form or nominate like the EU Council, or the EU Commission are the ones who control the EU at the moment, while the EP is weaker than it should.

So our governments fail us twice,one in national and one in European level. But unfortunately Europeans are not yet ready to accept that they belong in federal-like entity. Thus we are going politically in circles, always lingering somewhere in the middle and covering up our problems. When the solution is far more simpler.

We have created the EU and it has offered us so many benefits. But like all things, it must evolve to be ever successful. With a changing world and different circumstances in every decade so it also must change.

But what we are doing is patching things up, unwilling to allow the EU to evolve into what it was meant to be by its founding fathers. Nationalism, protectionism and conservatism prevails and the interests of the few political, industrial or financial elites of each country are being served. Not those of the citizens.

To conclude, for me if EU/Europe is to stay just a big market, I think I will oppose it. I want to have a say in Europe, as much I want to have a say in my national affairs. But if EU is to continue it's existence, and either we like it or not it will, then I do not want my country to be just a supermarket stall in this huge market.

I do not want my nation to be something that some speculators will advise investors of how much they  can make or lose  money out of it, which are the best countries to invest in and so on. I do not want my country to be treated as shares in the stock market, as it is at the moment.

I do not think EU is democratic at the moment, or that citizens have a real say in it. The point I am trying to make is that if EU continues to exist, I do not want it to be just about making profit, an open market, with no consideration of it's people and their needs or wishes. If we want to make EU democratic, we will have to support a stronger Euro-parliament. For us the ordinary citizens, there is no other option.