An Army of Peoples? A Demoicratic Perspective on a Future European Army

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Table of Contents: I. Introduction. – II. The constitutional dimension of armed forces. – II.1. The military as part of State authority. – II.2. International military forces. – II.3. The EU and defence: from failure to incremental integration. – II.4. Interim conclusion. – III. The EU as a demoicracy. – IV. Taking stock: the combination of political theory and military architecture. – V. An army of peoples: design questions. – V.1. Replacing or reinforcing national troops? – V.2. All in v coalition of the willing. – V.3. Decision-making rules and parliamentary accountability. – V.4. Operational decision-making: the Council(s) and the Commander. – V.5. National constitutional reservations: demos v demoi. – VI. On complexity. – VII. Conclusion.

Abstract: In this Article, I combine political theory and defence-related institutional design in order to suggest what a future EU army could look like. I begin by explaining the main differences between national and international armed forces as well as the EU’s current defence architecture. As a result, I observe that armed forces necessarily reflect the constitutional identity and theoretical architecture of their home political community. I then explain why, in my view, the idea of demoicracy best describes the EU’s theoretical nature. On that basis, I discuss various questions of institutional design for a future EU army, for which the demoicratic nature of the EU both prescribes and constrains the available options. Apart from concrete design proposals, the two key take-aways are i) that there is conceptual space for autonomous armed forces beyond the nation-state, and ii) that any proposal for an EU army needs to be aware of its reflexive relationship with the nature of the EU as a political community.

Keywords: European army – EU constitutional theory – demoicracy – military and constitutional design – Common Security and Defence Policy – EU defence integration.

European Papers, Vol. 6, 2021, No 2, pp. 1049-1073
2499-8249 - doi: 10.15166/2499-8249/513

* Doctoral Student, University of Oxford,


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