There is no greater motivation for European unification than the desire for peace. Just like the UN, the EU wants to avoid the scourge of war for its future generations. In times of peace, the world forgets that the EU is not an economic coalition, but is instead a peaceful, foreign affairs coalition.
Granted, part of the reason the EU has been successful in maintaining a peace in Europe since 1945 is the common economic interest. Wars are often mixed with economic and political factors. The European Economic Community is a pillar of the EU and a strong deterrent to war in Europe between member states. However, the question remains as to what affect the military sovereignty of Member States will have on peace in Europe and throughout the world.
The Treaty of Maastricht enshrined the principle of subsidiarity which is essential to the way the European Union works. It means that the EU and its institutions act only if action is more effective at EU level than at national or local level. European identity is a valuable asset to be preserved: it must never be confused with uniformity which is something Europeans definitely reject.
The sovereign right of military affairs is one of the remaining few sovereign rights that Member States still retain. The question remains as to whether a new European Constitution will affect this military sovereign right. Under subsidiarity, some EU states may feel it is acceptable to maintain independent militaries and military policy as long as those policies do not affect the EU. However, it is hard to believe that the military policy and actions of any individual EU member state would not affect the other Member States, the EU as a whole, or the world.
For example, Britain and France have had completely opposite views on the Iraq conflict. Britain had been the biggest backer of the US in the conflict whereas France has been vehemently opposed. Due to the still young nature of the EU, these opposite military views and ideas of the laws of international conflicts have only produced opposing rhetoric. If the EU Constitution had been in place, the EU would have had to decide as one entity what foreign affairs policy to apply towards Iraq. The Iraq conflict is too globalized and influential on the world for the EU to use subsidiarity and let each country-state decide its own course of action.
[...] For example, EUSR Vendell in Afghanistan is instructed to contribute to implementing EU policy through close liaison with and support for the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General. EUSR Otte in the Middle East is defined by the EU policy objectives facilitating a two-state solution allowing Israel to live in peace beside a viable, democratic Palestinian state. EU foreign affairs policy and its diplomacy will be hugely altered by the new Constitution's reliance on the UN Charter. The UN Charter is a defining instrument for EU policy and possible military action. [...]
[...] After WWII, the UN and international law through treaties and customary law guided the legality of a state's military action. The guidelines cannot be altered in accordance with international law. However, a country may differ on its own interpretation of the international use of force guidelines just as all judges on a panel court do not always agree. In addition, a state may put more restrictions on the use of force just like US individual states may provide more rights to their citizens than the US constitution. [...]
[...] However, enlargement of the EU could be just what the world needs in terms of world peace, international law, and stabilization. Even without enlargement, the EU will be taken much more seriously by other nation states if it acts as one international legal entity. The European Union is the world's rising superpower, poised to overtake both America and Japan as the biggest trade and investment force in China, according to a strategic policy paper published by Beijing yesterday. The Chinese government said the EU was transforming the global landscape with its successful currency launch and strides towards a joint foreign policy, defense, and judicial union. [...]
[...] Legitimate questions need to be asked on the current EU policy on Member States military sovereignty and how the Constitution will affect that policy. The EU Constitution may have a huge influence on how the EU acts on foreign policy as a whole, the EU relations with the US, and EU relations with the UN. The current UN and the current state of international law define when a country is allowed to use force. Just force is usually only allowed when a country is acting in self-defense. [...]
[...] In fact, if the EU military does the right thing and creates a force that follows UN guidelines and the international laws of just force, the world will be a much better place. The EU military force, if used and perceived as a real entity, will have a dramatic, positive effect on European relations with the US and in turn, US adherence to international law and the UN. Currently, the US is a military brute that ostracizes any nation that even somewhat challenges US foreign relations. [...]
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