It was an embarrassing mishap: During a confidential video conference of EU defence ministers a Dutch journalist managed to “hack” into the system. All of Brussels laughed at the scoop, because the password was distributed via Twitter.
Fortunately, no confidential documents were published, the ministers reassured themselves. The new strategic “compass” they were talking about remained secret as planned. But now the first details have leaked out. They do not bode well – the EU plans rearmament.
The “compass”, which is based on reports from several secret services, is not limited to one target. It identifies four areas in which the EU should improve: crisis management, “resilience”, capacities (not only military) and partnerships.
It also deals not only with military threats, but also with threats to globalisation, increasing competition for world power, the fight for water, the climate crisis and food security. COVID-19 and other pandemics are of course not to be missed.
And then there are “hybrid” threats (especially on the Internet), new regional players (such as Turkey), a supposedly omnipresent info-war (mainly from Russia and China), terrorism and external interference. These are at least the points that “Le Monde” highlights.
If we add to this the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD), on which “EurActiv” reports, there is a lack of all the nooks and crannies to achieve the EU’s lofty goals. Only 60 per cent of the troops are operational, and “strategic autonomy” is far from guaranteed.
To achieve this, six priority armament projects have been identified – including a new battle tank, but also systems for drone defence and “defence” in space.
This is, of course, water on the mills of Defence Minister Kramp-Karrenbauer, who is betting on the USA and conjuring up the transatlantic bond. But it is also a welcome argument for French President Macron, who invented “strategic autonomy” and is now calling for more effort.
Once again, it is only the citizens who get the short end of the stick. They should pay the bill – but they must not even know who our new enemies (the Chinese?), our hybrid opponents (the trolls?) and our unreliable partners (Turkey?) are supposed to be.
Because the strategic compass remains a secret, despite the mishap…
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version). The original version (in German) is here