Now to start off with I want to put a few disclaimers. I am not a big fan of military spending during peacetime nor do I think Europe should go on the offensive against another country yet I feel that the establishment of a unified army is necessary at this stage.
Before we go into any future European Army lets first look at the current military cooperation and what I see as problems with them. First of all we have NATO which is not strictly an EU entity but for all intents and purposes it could function as one. The problem with NATO however is that not all EU nations are part of it and its reliability has become questionable ever since Trump became president.
That said the EU already has the "Common Security and Defence Policy" which functions somewhat like a United Nations peacekeeping force but which critically has already established cooperation between the majority (25) of EU nations (28). It is a sprawling and confusing mess to untangle as its still being worked on to this day but two parts of it stand out in particular.
First we have the EU "Battle Groups". These are what you might consider the current EU peacekeeping force/army and consist of 18 groups of 1500 men each. These are rotated so that two is active at any one time and is under the direct command of EU council. These groups are basically volunteered by cooperating nations and meant to handle small scale disturbances and natural disasters.
Beyond that we have the "European Union Force Crisis Response Operation Core" which is a fancy name for a unified system to rapidly deploy tens of thousands of personnel in the event of a crisis under a single command structure. This is basically the closest we have to a standing European army right now but it is still under development and would only function as crisis response rather than a proper army.
Understanding the problem
So now lets just examine the current situation in the EU. The EU has the largest economy in the world right now and a population of 508 million people. To put that into context the EU has twice the economy of China but under half the population to their 1.3 billion people. That is absolutely nothing to scoff at and if the EU ever took its defense seriously then it would probably have the strongest military in the world unless USA hit the ropes again and got rid of its peacetime fat as well at which point it would be hard to tell.
So if its not its potential then where is the problem? Is it the military spending? Not exactly, even though most EU nations fall short of the 2% magical number that Trump likes to bring up they are still spending an astronomical sum on their military. They are just not getting very much for it. In fact most of the stuff they do have is not fit to be deployed and in need of renovation and repair which I can honestly totally understand since we have simply not needed it so why bother? The only real issue here is that the money is still rolling in and we are not getting the bang for our buck so to speak.
So what is really going on here since we obviously have some horrible problem behind the scenes. The question is Politics. Not only is military spending a losing issue in most European countries which means that politicians running on those issues often lose and those that run on cutting it often win but its also not that easy to convince a nation that instead of focusing on a national army they should invest in an alliance army.
Another more recent development which in my opinion forces the EU to reform their military is the collapsing relationship between the EU and USA. Without the full trust in the USA and with lingering threats in Russia and China the EU is in a completely different situation than 10 years ago.
Understanding my solution
Now with all these problems facing the EU it is not particularly strange to expect the solution to be a drastic change and the creation of an EU army would definitely be a big departure from how the EU has been handling things up to this point.
The thing is however that EU nations need a military reform and the need to cooperate in the future is undeniable. Taking the chance to establishing a standing EU army would not only help reform the military to become more useful but it would also most likely lower the spending as well as less money would be thrown away needlessly. Currently there is not a need to mobilize a proper army to defend the EU so minimizing military spending is a worthwhile goal.
Having the Army there as a rapid response force is already useful but the real value is in how quick and efficient an EU army could be mobilized inside these already established infrastructure which would allow us to stand up to any future threat that the EU might face.
As such I consider an EU army to not only be the best choice for EU safety in an increasingly unsure world but also in terms of cost and operational efficiency.