E.U. Integration

Time for a European Defense Union

Soldiers of a Eurocorps detachment carry the European Union flag in Brussels in 2014. Photo: Patrick Hertzog /AFP/Getty Images
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The course of European integration is moving forward despite Brexit, argues Handelsblatt’s Brussels correspondent, who says that creating an E.U. defense union is the logical next step.

  • Facts


    • European and domestic security have increasingly occupied public debate as nearby conflicts flare up and the refugee crisis continues.
    • In Germany, the government is revising its defense policy to suit these concerns.
    • The United Kingdom opposed creating a European defense union, but with Brexit, the idea may once again come to the fore.
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Meeting 15 E.U. government leaders in six days – that’s a tall order, even by Angela Merkel’s standards. This week, the German Chancellor meets with her counterparts from Italy, France, Estonia, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Austria and Croatia. And there was precious little time to organize her “European week.” The chancellery had to act quickly after June 23, the day a majority of the United Kingdom’s population voted to leave the European Union – a shock of epic proportions for both sides.

Following the Brexit decision, both the United Kingdom and continental Europeans are obliged to create completely new political structures. The remaining 27 European Union member states need to come up with a common policy for the Brexit negotiations, which are about to begin. And they have to consider what kind of joint future they should have without the United Kingdom.

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