edit March 2013: I misleadingly called the relevant treaty "Treaty of Lisbon" in this blog post. It's accurate to call it Lisbon treaty, Treaty of the European Union or EU Vertrag. The relevant provision is in
Treaty of the European Union / Title 5 / Chapter 2 / Section 2 / Article 42.
I'm trying to keep track of my country's formal alliances and this is much more demanding than I'd have expected a few years ago.
I even forgot to mention the newest formal alliance of ours back in December.
Are you German? Did you get the news about the extended alliance responsibilities of Germany back in December? We committed ourselves to much greater collective defence responsibilities than ever before. Something like that has certainly sparked a great debate and produced much news in our newspapers and TV channels, right?
Well, I cannot remember that, but in fact I'm not just fooling around.
Our NATO collective defence was regionally limited, basically to Europe and North America. Attacks on the Falklands, for example, wouldn't have activated NATO obligations. NATO is only a collective defence north of the tropic of cancer (see article VI).
The WEU treaty has stronger wording about what to do in case of an attack, but it's limited to Europe (see article V).
Well, what was the extension of our collective defence commitments (and I'm really sorry that I'm so late on this, but it wasn't exactly well-reported elsewhere either)?
Treaty of Lisbon:
7. If a Member State is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power, in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. This shall not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of certain Member States.Commitments and cooperation in this area shall be consistent with commitments under the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which, for those States which are members of it, remains the foundation of their collective defence and the forum for its implementation.
In other words: We would have a V-Fall, the situation of collective defence, if the Argentinians invaded the Falklands again. That would be an armed aggression against the territory of the treaty member UK and would activate our obligation to aid and assistance by all the means in our power.
I suspect for some reason that the German public is not sufficiently informed about this (albeit many may believe that the Falklands would be covered by NATO obligations without being able to tell how that would fit to the history of the Falklands War).
I have a feeling that we are committing too frivolously to military-related obligations. There was absolutely no security gained by expanding our commitments after 1999, neither in EU nor in NATO. Meanwhile, the German public is not appropriately informed about defence commitments because of our focus on economic matters.