BRUSSELS (Sputnik) – EU policymakers renewed calls for a rapid European military response force in the waning days of air evacuations from Kabul, leaving politicians on both sides of the spectrum worried about the bloc’s possible engagements abroad.
European Council President Charles Michel and EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said last week that the European Union should consider the need to develop its own collective defense capabilities, following the chaotic departure from Afghanistan.
The 27-nation bloc already has a system of EU battlegroups in place to respond to crises overseas, but it has never been called up. The idea of a cooperative EU army has been floated repeatedly in the past two decades. More recently, defense ministers weighed in on a debate about the EU’s military autonomy at a meeting on Thursday, with Borrell saying that the EU needs both a combined force and a “will to act.”
Drawing Lessons From Kabul Disaster
Alexander Neu of Germany’s The Left party and Armin-Paulus Hampel of the right-wing AfD said it was inconceivable that EU bosses wanted the bloc to pursue an interventionist policy after the Kabul disaster.
“It would be crazy for Europe to want to expand militarily and create a ‘credible response force.’ That is maybe what Borrell is trying to do: admit the failure to propose to be more active militarily. We failed, let’s do more of it,” Hampel, the AfD’s foreign policy spokesman in parliament, said.
Neu, who is The Left’s parliamentary spokesman for defence issues, noted that EU member states had so far been unable to agree on a unified security strategy. They have set a deadline for drawing up a military doctrine by next March.
“We have decided to send military forces to intervene far away from Europe and its defence. The elite in Brussels believes that, like the USA, we, Western democracies are special; we know what the world needs and we are going to impose it by force. It is not acceptable,” he said.
Roman Haider, a member of the European Parliament from the Austrian right-wing Freedom Party, thinks that the chaotic scenes in Kabul showed the “enormous overconfidence of the West.”
“That the EU now stands up and demands an even more ambitious intervention policy after this disaster is a bit reminiscent of a loss of reality,” he said, adding that European interventionism would lead only to further migrant flows from war-torn countries.