The United States Should Not Back a European Union Army

The belief that a stronger European Union (EU) role in defense matters will encourage European countries to invest more in defense is based on the false premise that the EU will be able to achieve what NATO has not been able to do since the end of the Cold War.

An EU Military Headquarters is a needless and expensive proposal that is more about planting the EU flag than it is about increasing Europe’s military capability. The EU already has access to the full range of NATO’s military headquarters at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) under the Berlin-Plus agreement.

As the EU develops a more integrated defense capability, the U.S.’s influence in European defense matters through NATO will be reduced. European capitals should focus their energy and resources on fixing NATO before creating more institutions and signing up for further military commitments within the EU. This is the only way the U.S. will see greater burden sharing. Any increase in European military capability needs to take place under the NATO umbrella.

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