After London, Madrid and Paris, heinous attacks have now been made on Brussels.
In spite of all of our efforts, others, just as inept, unfair and unqualifiable will follow.
But let us make no mistake; this is a planned and pre-meditated offensive on the part of the enemies of our way of life who are trying to disrupt our societies, discredit our model and to sow doubt amongst us. In brief they have declared war on us and we are out of practice in this art.
Europe has been sleeping for too long on its main success: of having brought back long term peace to a warring continent. It now needs to rise to this new, vital challenge. Without renewed security citizens will demand other forms of governance and may very well choose the fold of extreme prophets of doom. This would mean a return to a forgotten past.
Indeed Europe appears to be a naive, beautiful entity, isolated in a world in movement in which dynamics are awakening strategies for power and conflict. Everywhere on the planet, at sea, on land and in space frontiers are being challenged, international law is being flouted and the flames of local conflict and civil war are being fanned. We must show that we can defend ourselves now and that we are prepared to do everything we can, i.e. to fight, to protect it.
In answer to violence we must use force and not just our beliefs and values, because this is no longer just a question of policing or intelligence. We face a real bid to destabilise on the part of a determined group, parading as a State. We have to confront it head on.
Several European governments have already committed to the battle. A certain number have started rearming and strengthening military tools that have been neglected for too long. However the commitments made in the Treaty on European Union (art 42.3: increasing military capabilities) and within NATO of spending 2% of wealth on defence has been respected by only three States!
It is therefore urgent to adapt to this new priority and have a credible system of defence for the continent. A body that spends 30% on average on social protection must be able to make courageous choices. If all of the Member States do not agree, some might convene to coordinate their efforts, which are already shared in enhanced cooperation. And if necessary to be able to do this, new agreements, specifically devoted to defence must be concluded – no hesitation must be had. They might provide appropriate financing or the constitution of credible armed forces, like the Lancaster House Agreements concluded between France and the UK. The community path, which is part of the long term, will not be capable of rising to the emergency, even though all of the common institutions could do more to pick up the gauntlet. An effort in terms of defence is vital in Europe; it is up to the Member States and their leaders. In all likelihood Europe’s future as a whole depends on it.