What happens if a European Union country is attacked?

The war in Ukraine has been going on for 2 years now (precisely, it will be 2 years on February 24, 2024), continuing to claim victims, affecting economies and destabilizing international balances and security policies more than ever.
The European Union is undoubtedly in a complex position, given that it has not seen an armed conflict take place so close to its territorial and legal borders for years.
Ukraine has in fact asked to join the EU and even if – as will most likely happen – the application is not accepted before the end of the conflict, there are still EU countries that risk being involved.
Recently, Admiral Rob Bauer – head of the NATO military council – underlined the importance of optimizing and increasing resources, given that "we are not looking for war, but we must be ready for war".
The situation becomes even more complicated when looking at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, although even in this case the states directly involved are not part of the European Union.
This also triggers legitimate concern among citizens, who wonder what would happen if a European Union country were to be attacked or attacked in turn.
There do not appear to be any imminent concerns on this front, but for greater peace of mind it must be clarified that the mutual defense clause of European countries is rather elastic and does not automatically lead to entry into war.
What happens if an EU country is attacked The European Union was born as a political and economic alliance, it is not focused purely on common security (as NATO is) and is therefore also devoid of solid defense infrastructures.
This is certainly not a positive element, but a deficiency that must be made up for to guarantee security and peace.
The outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine was the trigger, renewing the EU's attention on joint investment in the development of military capabilities.
The topic is important, because in any case the European Union provides for a mutual defense clause.
In particular, article 42.7 of the Lisbon Treaty establishes the obligation to help and assist EU countries that suffer armed aggression.
The obligation of mutual defense is binding for community members, it gives the possibility to take up arms but does not necessarily require going to war nor does it specifically concern military actions.
The ways in which to fulfill the obligation of assistance are at the discretion of the political choices of each State, as long as it takes action in some way.
The last (and only) time in which this mutual duty was activated, namely for the terrorist attacks suffered by France in 2015, in fact the aid did not flow into the military field.
read also Does NATO want to train citizens for the war against Russia? If one EU country is attacked, will the others go to war? As anticipated, member states can legitimately choose to go to war to help their EU allies defend themselves from aggression, but they are not obliged.
Mutual assistance can in fact materialize in various ways: Joint disarmament actions; humanitarian missions; rescue missions; military consultancy and assistance missions; missions for conflict prevention and peacekeeping; stabilization missions at the end of a conflict; actions to fight national terrorism.
Consequently, each community member can choose how to contribute according to national politics and laws, is obliged to assist the attacked country but can freely do so in a peaceful way.
What if the attacker is an EU country? The mutual defense clause is binding only for countries that suffer armed aggression, it does not apply in the event that they attack or deliberately start the conflict, in which case they are instead severely sanctioned.
read also Italy is preparing for war: Crosetto is thinking of reservists but NATO has a problem The mutual defense of NATO countries NATO, unlike the EU, was created with the precise objective of creating a military alliance to defend security and the freedom of the countries that join it.
NATO, obviously, also provides a mutual defense clause.
Article 5 of the NATO Charter provides that "an armed attack against one or more of them, in Europe or North America, will be considered an attack against all of them".
Even though it is a military alliance, NATO also does not force members to go to war, but simply asks for mutual collaboration and support.
In this case, moreover, the obligatory nature desired by the Lisbon Treaty does not even appear.
The Charter does not require members to defend themselves, but makes it clear that attacking one of them is equivalent to attacking them all.
This article has a notable impact in its simplicity, not only because it legitimizes countries to take military action in case of defense of a member, but also because it works as a deterrent.
Let's not forget that NATO has great political strength and has military means and resources at its disposal to manage even major conflict situations.
By the same token, however, military actions must be carefully considered, given the possible impact on the world.
read also EU: 50 billion to Ukraine, what did Orban get in return? Meanwhile the war…

Author: Hermes A.I.

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