German proposal for a European aircraft carrier

(To Stefano Marras)

The idea, suggested by the new leader of the ruling CDU (Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands) Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, has already received the approval of the current Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as raising the umpteenth debate on the need for Europe to have a common defense. The EU member countries already collaborate on the military and war-industrial level and intend to strengthen this collaboration in order to have the necessary defensive means to exercise the right geopolitical influence and defend their interests. Needs resulting from profound structural changes in the international system, in which the United States (net of Trump) and Europe increasingly diverge on the foreign policy to be adopted, thus making it urgent for Europeans to equip themselves in certain cases with an independent foreign policy from the US one.

The proposal of the carrier was in fact formulated by the leader of the CDU within a broader European Union reform plan published in recent days, and which underlines the idea of ​​making it stronger and independent even in the military field. However, for now it is only a proposal that has not yet obtained the necessary European and above all French support, the main military power of the EU. In fact, between Paris and Berlin, relations in the military sector are already at an advanced stage. After the plans for the development of a joint sixth-generation fighter, the design of the aircraft carrier would mark a decisive leveling not only in Franco-German relations, but more generally in Europe's ability to project force into territories even far from the continental borders . However, this would require greater collaboration in fields traditionally of close national relevance, and in which above all France seems reluctant to yield. Furthermore, we can expect a negative reaction from the two key NATO countries, the United States and the United Kingdom. In fact, for fear that a geopolitical entity is created that is too strong and independent in the old continent, they have always opposed common European defense projects, unless they were integrated into NATO, therefore under US control. However, the real obstacle would remain the divergence of interests of the different European countries (Libya docet), an essential prerequisite for any multinational armed force. This is why many international analysts have declared to be extremely skeptical about the applicability and usefulness of this project1.

In any case, even if it were to go to port, we will have to wait at least ten years to see its launch, making Europe far away from American levels, which with its eleven super nuclear aircraft carriers would remain the first naval power for decades to come world, unreachable for anyone. Finally, it would remain to ask, what role for Italy? Again excluded as happened in the case of the new sixth-generation French-German fighter? Or maybe aligned with the Atlantic powers of Great Britain and the United States? Hopefully not with China anyway.


Photo: US Navy