What should Europe's defence policy look like?

Paris and Berlin are at odds over Europe's future security policy. Both expect that even under Joe Biden the US will be less active internationally than in the past. But while French President Emmanuel Macron wants to invest in a sovereign Europe that can defend itself without the help of Nato and the United States, Germany's Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has said it would be an illusion to believe the continent could go it alone in security policy.

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Ukrinform (UA) /

Germany fears its own strength

Ukrinform's EU and Germany correspondents Andrii Lavreniuk and Olga Tanassichuk describe why a European solo effort without Nato and the US is hardly conceivable for Germany:

“For Germany, the lesson from the Second World War (and the First) is that an independent role in international politics is not an option for Berlin, as this very role caused much suffering in the past and brought Germany itself a defeat. The Germans are afraid of becoming too strong, so they need partners - the more, the better. For Berlin, the natural partner in Europe is Paris, but the Germans don't want to rely solely on this alliance, even though France is also a nuclear power, just as they don't want to forget the role of the US in the liberation of Europe from National Socialism.”

Badische Zeitung (DE) /

In fact they both want the same thing

The Badische Zeitung points out that the positions of France and Germany are not all that far apart:

“Like the German government, Macron is calling for Europe to take on much more responsibility for its security. Because even under Joe Biden, the United States is not expected to give Europe the attention it paid to it for decades. In a keynote speech, Kramp-Karrenbauer contradicts Macron's dreams of a Europe that is militarily completely independent of the US. Without America's nuclear and conventional capabilities, Europe could not protect itself. But Kramp-Karrenbauer also says: 'Only if we take our own security seriously will America do so too'. Macron can also endorse these words. Therefore, Germany and France should jointly strengthen Europe instead of arguing over the distant goal of complete strategic autonomy.”

Lrt (LT) /

Don't leave the strategy to Berlin and Paris

Countries like Lithuania must now become involved in the discussion about Europe's future security policy, political scientist Linas Kojala demands in Lrt:

“The two big states of Europe do not yet have a clear strategy, but they have a goal to create one. ... Either Europe becomes independent without the US or its security remains tied to the Americans. ... Lithuania sees the US as an indispensable guarantor of security, so the direction Europe decides on is very important for it. We must not remain as backbenchers in this debate, because the decisive changes are born at the level of such ideas and discussions.”