Late last week reports surfaced that France and Germany, in the wake of recent terror attacks and Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, are forming a joint plan for a potential “relaunch of European defence,” which would involve greater security coordination among E.U. countries.
The goal of the project is to restructure Europe’s defense apparatus, making it “more active and more useful without substituting it for national defence bodies which remain, by definition, the key to the security of EU member states,” an anonymously quoted source close to one of the drafters of the proposal reportedly said, adding that “what we are looking for is to trigger EU operations more easily.”
The Guardian reports:
The Franco-German document proposes the establishment of a European defence headquarters, a common satellite surveillance system and the sharing of logistics and military medical resources, according to the Saturday edition of the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung
There would be a tighter circle of EU members for some defence projects where it proves impossible to gain agreement from all, the paper added, citing the document.
There is also a suggestion for better use of Eurocorps, an intergovernmental military body that has France and Germany at its centre.
Belgium, Spain and Luxembourg are also members of the Strasbourg-based Eurocorps, set up for rapid deployment to hotspots.
The EU has already been involved in the training of foreign armies, as part of conflict resolution, and might become involved in financing their equipment.
The bloc could also become engaged in research and development, to strengthen the European defence industry.
This latest proposal follows discussions between France and Germany toward the end of last month about the possibility of implementing E.U.-wide limits on encrypted communications, which the French interior minister reportedly called “a central issue in the fight against terrorism,” as well as other increased surveillance measures.
Also last week, meanwhile, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden warned that the new E.U.-U.S. agreement known as Privacy Shield, which the U.S. Department of Commerce claims “provides a set of robust and enforceable protections for the personal data of EU individuals,” does nothing of the sort.
“They are denying they do mass surveillance, they are saying what we do do is bulk collection, which is in their world something entirely different, but in reality, in our world, it is mass surveillance,” Snowden reportedly said.
The push for strict new security measures comes despite the fact that many of the recent terrorism incidents in Europe have essentially been ISIS-inspired lone wolf attacks — the kind of desperate acts that are next to impossible to stop in anything resembling a free society, if a would-be killer is determined enough.
Even before attacks such as the July truck attack in Nice, France and subsequent string of attacks in Germany, however, major U.S. tech companies had already agreed to censor their social media platforms in order to be allowed to operate in the E.U.
The clear trend that is emerging in Europe following Brexit and the rise of ISIS — geopolitical shifts that almost nobody would have predicted just three years ago — is a move in the direction of more centralized government with a greater focus on security and surveillance, changes mirroring those that have taken place in the U.S. during the past 15 years. To the extent that the Europeans are basing their new security plans on the American model, they would be wise to examine not only the limited successes of the U.S. War on Terror, but also the many areas in which it has failed outright and proven counterproductive.
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