It was at the end of March when Europe woke up to the news that Britain, the European Union’s fifth largest economy, had decided to leave the 28-member bloc. Ahead of the EU’s September 16 Bratislava Summit – the first post-Brexit meeting of the 27 remaining EU leaders, the bloc’s three biggest economies (Italy, France and Germany) met to discuss the future.
Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said: “After Brexit Europe would come to an end. This was not the case,” but “we admit there are some problems that need fixing”.
In turn, French President Francois Hollande underlined that Britain’s vote for Brexit is adding a significant load to those centrifugal political forces, as terrorism with the failure to protect external EU borders and the current failure of the European project to deliver sufficient jobs and prosperity to future generations.
Now that the UK is leaving the table, Hollande said he sees it as a great opportunity to discuss the EU army project. Britain always deemed such a move would undermine Nato-EU cooperation. On this issue, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “Europe must do more for our internal and external security”.
The Lisbon Treaty includes a “Permanent Structured Co-operation” in defence, which could pave the way for an EU army structure. However, aside from the Eurozone, the EU does not seem ready yet to become federalised on any another level.