Referring to the issue of the anti-Atlantism and even the anti-Americanism, one of the arguments of those who oppose the Treaty is that with the new Constitution Europe would fall in a state of total submission to the United States. Such text, therefore, would destroy the dream of a Europe-Power nurtured by General De Gaulle. In fact, the Treaty includes a number of important innovations as to the defense of Europe although, in my opinion, they do not go too far. Five big innovations that reflect the post Cold War context must be pointed out:

 The post Cold War crisis as crises (the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq) have showed Europe the need to have a political authority that can be the voice and face of Europe. That would be possible with the establishment of a president of the European Council (Article I-22) and a minister of Foreign Affairs (Article I-28).

 For the first time, there is agreement about the principle of common security among the member states. The Constitution, in fact, introduces a clause of mutual defense (Article I-41 par.7). The issue of defense, which was initially excluded from the European construction after the failure of the CED, is now included in its very heart.

 The Constitution defines in Article III-309 the types of mission that the Union could carry out to promote peace in our continent and in the world. Likewise, it expands them to include, apart from traditional missions, new missions having to do with disarmament, prevention of conflicts or stabilization after the conflicts. In this sense, the members promise (Article I-41 par. 3) to put at the disposal of the Union the civilian and military capacities that respond to the purposes defined by the European Council.

 Likewise, for member states that want to go beyond this matter, the Constitution creates the possibility of establishing links of reinforced cooperation (Article I-44) and even of establishing a permanent organized cooperation among them (Articles I-41 par. 6 and III-312).

 This desire related to European defense is based on an industrial platform that will be organized by the European Defense Agency (Article I-41 par. 3).

Henceforth, based on respect for the principle of autonomy of decision of the European Union and of each one of its members, we could decide, according to the circumstances, whether we act with our American allies in the framework of NATO (most likely in the event of an important crisis), without the Americans but in the framework of NATO or without the Americans and NATO as it was done in the Democratic Republic of Congo during Operation Artemis.

This said, we should be aware of the fact that the Constitution is far from solving all problems. It does not divide the debate between “euro-Atlantists” and “euro-Gaullists”. In this sense, everything remains the same. It does not solve the inconsistency of the neutrality of some member states, an anachronism inherited from the Cold War. Finally, the inequality in the level of expenses and power between the two sides of the Atlantic remains intact. I used to demand the inclusion in the text of a minimum rate of military spending. That is, in fact, the heart of European impotence. By encouraging military spending, the European Constitution encourages the creation of a Europe-Power.

Le Figaro (France)
Circulation: 350 000 copies. Property of Socpresse (founded by Robert Hersant, it is owned today by planes manufacturer Serge Dassault). This is the reference journal of the French right.

« L’«Europa puissance» contre la tentation de la neutralité », by Pierre Lellouche, Le Figaro, May 17, 2005.