Changing Europe revives interest in an EU military

DW – February 15, 2018

Early plans for a European army failed in the wake of World War II. EU states have since taken numerous small steps to integrate their armed forces, bringing the idea of a Europe-wide military ever closer to reality.

Military treaties for a joint European army were signed just a few years after the end of the Second World War. A defense cooperation pact laid out the details, from acquiring new uniforms to implementing a clear command structure. France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg would supply the European Army with soldiers. A European commissioner’s office made up of nine representatives would send the troops to the front line, but officials would be monitored by a European assembly of MEPs from participating states.

The lower level military units would operate on a purely national level, while officers from several participating states would be expected to serve as leaders. The military project — probably the most ambitious in Europe’s post-war history — cleared numerous hurdles, only to be stopped by opposition in France’s parliament in 1954.