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“Permanent Structured Cooperation” cements the militarisation of EU foreign and security policy

As a significant precursor to a “European Defence Union”, the EU Treaties provide for an instrument known as Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). This military union enables a group of EU Member States to cooperate more closely in the matter of security and defence policy. In return for this, they enter into binding commitments to, for example, increase their defence spending and integrate their security and defence policy. The German Government is one of the driving forces in seeking to advance a military core Europe through PESCO. At the Foreign Affairs Council on 11 December, Permanent Structured Cooperation is to be formally established through a Council Decision.

Through Permanent Structured Cooperation, the militarisation and misguided orientation of EU foreign and security policy are being further institutionalised and accelerated. The notification message that was developed in significant part by the governments of Germany, France, Spain and Italy contains far-reaching commitments, which stand in opposition to a peaceful EU. These include commitments to increase defence spending regularly and to adhere to spending money on defence technology research. The signatories also commit to playing a leading role in military-backed crisis and intervention policy through CSDP missions and the further expansion of EU Battlegroups.

This military core Europe undermines the rule of unanimity that has been in effect in the EU to date for decisions regarding CFSP and CSDP, as non-participating EU countries cannot block decisions made as part of the Permanent Structured Cooperation. Non-participating countries (and those that want to leave the Permanent Structured Cooperation at a later date) are marginalised on CFSP and CSDP issues. This also reduces the latitude for a civilian reorientation of EU foreign and security policy.

There is also a threat of further erosion of the Bundestag’s decision-making authority through the participation of the German armed forces in missions abroad: To make flexible troop deployments possible at short notice in the future, the Member States are committing to shortening their national decision-making processes and adopting “fast-track” procedures. This threatens to render the requirement of parliamentary approval and the character of the Bundeswehr as a “parliamentary army” obsolete.

Furthermore, the current acting Federal Government has no political authority to make decisions at the EU level that entail such far-reaching and binding future commitments without including the Bundestag in this decision-making process and also making a public debate possible through parliamentary deliberations.

The Left Party parliamentary group thus calls upon the Federal Government, at the sessions of the Foreign Affairs Council on 11 December and the European Council on 14-15 December, to advocate for the European Union to pursue future policies that show a commitment to peace, such as respecting the prohibition of the use of force that is formulated in the Charter of the United Nations.

 

In German: Die „ständige Strukturierte Zusammenarbeit“ zementiert die Militarisierung der EU-Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik

Andrej Hunko, MdB 2017