EU Leaders Discuss Bloc Defense

European Union leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May, have called for a unified defense effort for the future in light of fears surrounding terrorism and cyber threats in speeches throughout the last week.

Speaking at Paris-Sorbonne University on September 26, Macron advocated his desire for the creation of an EU defense force by 2020 that would give the European bloc an “autonomous capacity for action.” This military intervention force would be put in place with the help of neighboring European countries, including Britain, which Macron suggested “could regain its place” as a valuable player in the European bloc, despite its imminent exit from the European Union.

Since then, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who recently emerged victorious from parliamentary elections to win her fourth term as chancellor, has indicated that she is ready and willing to assist and follow through on Macron’s vision, claiming his speech at Paris-Sorbonne set “important building blocks” for the future of the EU.

Speaking to British troops based in Estonia on September 29 ahead of an EU summit in the region, May was adamant that Britain, despite its impending exit from the European Union, “[is] not leaving Europe so…[it] is unconditionally committed to maintaining Europe's security.” May proceeded to add that it “will continue to offer aid and assistance to EU member states that are the victims of armed aggression, terrorism, and natural or manmade disasters.” In her speech, she also made particular reference to Russia, commenting that “when a nation like Russia deliberately violates the rules-based international order that we have worked so hard to create, we must come together with our allies to defend that international system.” May was accompanied by Macron and Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas during her visit and is set to meet with Merkel soon for further talks.

Furthermore, May has made clear her hopes of fostering a security partnership with Brussels in the near future, which will offer British expertise in the fight for greater cyber security. Speaking ahead of her visit to Estonia, May acknowledged that the threats faced by many Europeans, including cybercrime, require an urgent and unified response.

In the current global climate, uncertainty seems to be the ruling power, especially concerning the unknown time frame and circumstances under which Britain will leave the EU coupled with the already severe cautions surrounding the European region regarding recent acts of terrorism. However, despite logistical conflicts between the nations spurred on by the Brexit decision, there is still a more powerful feeling of European unity by all who share the land, united in the fight for regional security and safety from external aggression. While Britain might not be part of the EU for much longer, it would seem that the European region as a whole can rest easy knowing its leaders are committed to maintaining a close relationship for the sake of the security of their people.