Much has been made of Angela Merkel’s announcement yesterday that her and Emmanuel Macron’s signing of an update to the 1963 Elysee Treaty could “contribute to the creation of a European army”. But where the future of Europe’s security is concerned, a much more significant event happened in Washington, D.C. on the same day: the House of Representatives passed legislation that seeks to bar President Donald Trump from unilaterally withdrawing the United States from NATO.
While it is true that the bonds of the Transatlantic Alliance are loosening in the current political climate, it is also true that neither the US or Europe can do without the world’s largest and oldest defence organization — and the less said about a European army, the better.
The original Elysee Treaty set the seal on the post-war reconciliation between France and Germany. With the updated Treaty, France and Germany agreed to establish common positions and issue joint statements on major EU issues in order to bolster “Europe’s capacity to act autonomously”. More than this, however, they committed to a “common military culture”. Practically, this means not only developing Europe’s military capabilities, but also exploring the possibility of joint military deployments and the establishing of a Franco-German defence and security council.