The concept of a European army has been widely discussed in the past years and particularly weeks, raising many questions about the possibility of such an idea becoming a reality. Where did the notion of a European army come from, and why is it being debated so intensively in November 2018? Is such an army a feasible project? What are the advantages and disadvantages, the positive assets but also obstacles to its realization?
The Pleven Plan and the European Defense Community
The first approach to the idea of European military cooperation goes back to 1948. While the economic cooperation progressed in the continent with the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the political cooperation had difficulties in taking shape. Moreover, the Korean War occurred, and the US started to ask the French to a possible controlled rearmament of Germany in order to possibly contribute to the common European defence if there was need. This proposal took the name of “Pleven Plan”.
With the presentation of the Plan, the idea of a European army appeared. Jean Claude Monnet, the original creator of the plan, realised that a European army could be the quickest way to achieve a political and deeper integration between the European countries, having seen the results of ECSC. In 1950, the French Prime Minister Renè Pleven, in response to the American call for Germany’s rearmament and joining of NATO, presented the possibility to form a pan-European defence architecture within the European Defence Community (EDC).