High Representative/Commission VP Federica Mogherini, speaking in the Euro Parliament about the European Defence Plan, was already assuming the stature of a future EU Defence Minister. ‘Binding commitments between Member States to jointly develop and deploy military capabilities should pave the way for … a Permanent Structured Cooperation’. Mogherini mentioned the establishment of a command centre in Brussels for operational planning and conduct of military training.
Whilst some of Mogherini’s colleagues deny the ambition for an EU army, she was talking in the EP as if it already exists, referring to the activities of ‘men and women in EU uniform serving under the EU flag’. Mogherini made clear to the EP, that she has more than two hats: VP of the Commission and High Commissioner member of the Council, as everybody knows, but also a third one, as head of the European Defence Agency! In other words, she is The Commander-in-Chief of the EU Army!
What about the money? And what about the relationship with NATO? Proud Commission President Juncker presented the EU Defence Plan and mentioned the price tag - €5,5 billion! Naturally born by the member states. The money will be redistributed to them by the Commission, of course after deducting the costs of Brussels bureaucracy and probably a new palace, a HQ for the EU Army.
The UK Conservative Defence Spokesman in the EP, Geoffrey Van Orden MEP, commented: ‘Instead of supporting the Commission the Member States should put their efforts into rejuvenating their armed forces and revitalising NATO’. He called for interoperability between all NATO nations, the US and its European allies. What he probably meant to say was let NATO members first keep their financial commitments to NATO, and pay their 2% of GDP contribution * instead of following the megalomaniac dreams of the Commission and its President who dared to claim that the EU Defence Plan is what the EU citizens are waiting for…
*22 EU Member States are NATO allies, only four of them pay the agreed 2%: Estonia, Greece, Poland and the UK