2016 was a year in which the European Union authorities took many measures in favour of defense: global strategy, implementation plan, action plan, preparatory action for defense research and roadmap to increase cooperation with NATO.
The question that everyone is asking is whether these measures are just a flash of fire or whether they mark a genuine renewal. In other words, will they be followed by institutional prolongations and if so which ones?
In order to put these initiatives in a sustainable and structural framework,the simplest idea is to apply the Lisbon Treaty. But of all the Treaty’s provisions relating to defense, the one relating to “permanent structured cooperation” is the last one that was not implemented.
That is why the institutions of Brussels are calling for it to be set up, and the High Representative has been instructed to make proposals to that effect. The problem is that no one remembers the intention of the drafters of the treaties, nor what “permanent structured cooperation” really means.Its understanding requires considerable analytical work and a great effort of synthesis.
Moreover, let us not delude ourselves, ticking the box to eliminate the last obstacles to the establishment of a true European defense will not be enough. Indeed, as permanent structured cooperation was inspired by the Euro-zone idea, it is affected by the same design flaws as the Maastricht criteria.
But if structured cooperation is not the miracle solution and its implementation is too complicated, what else?