The Minister of Defense of France Florence Parley she said to her counterparts today NATO that they should not be afraid of the European Union ‘s defense plans, noting that the United States will benefit and that European defense capability will strengthen the Alliance.
The remarks, made as part of the NATO Defense Ministers’ Summit, were intended to put an end to months of uncertainty over whether the EU’s most recent effort to develop weapons and forces is in competition with the Alliance, according to Reuters.
“When I hear some defense statements about European defense and when I see some threats, including within this organization, I say, ‘Do not be afraid,'” Parley told a meeting attended by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Josep Borrell.
“European defense is not built in opposition to NATO, quite the opposite: a stronger Europe will contribute to a stronger and more resilient alliance,” Parley said.
The US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austen He responded positively to these remarks, saying he welcomed a more capable European defense, echoing a joint statement by the presidents of France and the United States in September.
“What I would like to see are initiatives that are complementary to the kind of things that NATO is doing,” Austin told a news conference following the summit.
The US Secretary of Defense called on NATO allies to respond to their “number one” job, “credible deterrence and defense”.
Austin also hinted that there is no contradiction between a European and a US policy in the Indian and Pacific regions, saying that NATO allies work together in order to deal with China’s military rise.
It is reminded that Washington outraged Paris in September by concluding an agreement known as AUKUS with Australia and Britain which resulted in France losing a contract for the sale of French submarines to the Australian Navy.
However, Austin today engaged in “collective work to ensure that the Indo-Pacific region remains free and open.”
He also said the United States would continue to help Taiwan with the skills he needs in order to defend himself.
Britain, which is no longer a member of the EU, also argues that the EU can play a role supportive NATO, according to Reuters.
But the British Minister of Defense Ben Wallace Speaking to reporters yesterday, Thursday, he described any attempt to create a European army as a “distraction”, saying “there is absolutely no reason to wear European berets on a pile of people”.
Decisions on “Euromilitary” in March
Of the 27 EU member states, 21 are also members of 30-member NATO, but the United States has long argued that the Union should be able to more in order to manage crises at its borders.
The one to come March, the EU has been considering an original military strategy paper setting out future threats, focusing on joint arms development, and outlining a new EU intervention force that could intervene in crises.
Eastern European countries that fear Russia are very wary of any change of the focal point away from NATO.
The Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, for his part, warned that a possible rapid reaction force would reproduce allied operations. “What is needed is more skills, not new structures,” he told a news conference.