William Hague: is this a line in the sand?
That's the one thing I enjoy the most of writing about the European Union; the way in which they attempt to conceal their actions behind closed doors. It makes it impossible to know precisely what they're up to, but, thanks to the largely free media and activists, there are enough small snippets of information on their actions for the keen eye to be able to put the pieces in the right places come up with a larger picture.
I have previosly written about the possible resurrection of an old Weimar Triangle idea about increased European Union military centralisation that - it appeared - was quietly put on the backburner when Baroness Ashton, a major figure in the new plans, was distracted by the Arab Spring and renewed controversy over her position and rank. Well, there is yet more evidence that the plan has indeed been resurrected; an article has appeared in EUObserver about possible plans to centralise command of all EU missions into a single headquarters.
The two things look completely unrelated at first: one talked about pooling of resources and the creation of new EU battlegroups, and one talks about the creation of a single, central HQ. However, the connection is not tenuous; at the bottom of the article, almost as a footnote, is a quote from Alain Juppe, who says that a 'very large majority was in favour' of the proposal of an EU headquarters, 'pushed by the Weimar countries.' This appears to have been another part of the French-German-Polish militarisation policy. However, there is no need to panic: William Hague has done something quite impressive, more than making up for this.
In an area where unaminity is still required, Britain - in which one of the five EU command centres is located - has vetoed the proposals. He didn't do it for Britain - he did it for NATO. But it was nonetheless quite a bold move. France and Germany are not to be trifled with; with the added power of the Polish rotating presidency, and the EU's foreign policy and defence chief, it takes a brave man indeed to resist their will. This effectively means that the EU's attempts to create a single headquarters for its armed forces have been blocked permanently.