The Magazine for Europe’s Security and Defence Community A product of the Behörden Spiegel, edited and published by Hartmut Bühl
The Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) is of an outstanding importance for Europe and its influence in the world.The European Union has demonstrated that it has the political, civil and military capabilities to contribute to the settlement of conflicts, and that it stands alongside with the United Nations as a reliable partner for peace. Europe works together with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and is developing authentic relations with the United States of America and Russia, the other two major security players in the transatlantic region. Thus the EU has become an important player in global security, particularly in the fields of peacekeeping and humanitarian aid. In order to achieve the ambitious objectives documented in the European Security Strategy, the EU institutions are currently designing and developing, together with Member States, more rapidly available, more robust, better protected and better trained civil and military units with the requisite capabilities.
This magazine, published with a current circulation of 6.100 by the Pro Press Publishing Group, Berlin, makes a vital contribution to the CSDP. It offers a platform for discussion on security policy, including security and defence industries.
Hartmut Bühl, the editor in chief of the magazine, head of the Brussels office and correspondent for the Behörden Spiegel, has succeeded in establishing this magazine as a notable discussion platform on European security and defence affairs.
Additionally, Hartmut Bühl has linked the magazine to the Pro Press Publishing Group’s three most important annual conferences in Europe on Security and Defence: The “European Congress on Disaster Management”, the “European Police Congress” and the “Congress on European Security and Defence”. These conferences have become a platform for community building among participants from Europe and beyond.
The Elysee Treaty
Since the signing of the Franco-German Treaty of Friendship by Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer in 1962 there have been far-reaching changes that have placed the relationship between the two nations in a
fundamentally different context.
The Elysee Treaty, whose 50th anniversary was celebrated recently in Berlin, did not mark the beginning of peace and reconciliation but was rather the culmination of the process launched earlier by Robert Schuman and other wise politicians. Germany, no longer a threat, had rejoined the community of nations. The Treaty has lost none of its unique significance. Today it has become a symbol: it shows that part of Europe at least was able to overcome its tragic past. The methods of the time are no longer applicable today, however.
De Gaulle described Europe as “a coach with horses, with Germany as the horse and France the coachman”. And indeed Germany, from its position of political weakness, under the weight of the unspeakable events of its recent history, continued into this century to live up to that image. The Germans have always craved more recognition, while France has been consistently pragmatic in its attitude towards Germany, guided in its actions also by the concern to protect its interests. But now the grande nation faces the tough challenge of having to act from a position of weakness, while Germany, conversely, is still struggling to come to grips with its powerful position as the EU’s economically strongest member. As a result, Europe’s Franco-German engine is beginning to stall.
Currently the Germans are worried about France’s economic stability; yet they also wonder at its international influence, but respect the way in which François Hollande assumed his role of chef de guerre, deploying troops to Mali to defend our common security, when for Germany Africa seems so far away.
For the French the use of military capabilities is an obvious political necessity, while for German society, with the pacifism that has become deeply entrenched as a result of its past, the use of weapons is an exceptional measure. This remains a glaring difference between the two countries. I think that France deserves Europe’s admiration for the way in which, in spite of limited resources, it is able time and again – taking the solidarity of its partners as a given – to successfully engage its forces.
Global threats have now reached Europe’s borders, forcing the European Union, if it is to continue to have any influence over events, to take decisive action. This is true in economic and financial, as well as human terms. It also applies to its strategically deployable military potential. There is nothing anachronistic about the projection of military power, but without economic strength, military might cannot last for long. Relying largely on economic power alone offers no guarantee of being able to withstand threats to freedom. Europe needs economically stable nations that are willing and able to contribute in a spirit of solidarity to defending it against such threats.
The Elysee Treaty did a great deal for the relations between France and Germany, bringing forward Europe as a whole. Now both the ideals of that pact and the crisis-ridden Union are being put to the test and new impetus is needed. Fruitful cooperation between France and Germany can continue in the future to contribute to the resolution of crises and bring about progress for Europe.