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EU army not necessary – Borrell

The diplomat insisted that it’s more important for all 27 members to work together to ensure the bloc’s security

EU member nations should prioritize working together and increasing cooperation among the 27 national militaries rather than forming a bloc-wide army, Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell has told Politico’s Playbook. 

In an interview with the outlet published on Wednesday, Borrell insisted that “defense is a member state competence” and that the point is “not about having an EU army” but that all of the bloc’s armies should be able to “work better together.” 

His sentiment was echoed by German MEP Hannah Neumann, who suggested that it “doesn’t make sense to call for a European army” when member states can’t even produce enough ammunition to defend themselves or support their closest partners. 

The comments came after the European Commission (EC) presented its strategy for improving Europe’s defense industry on Tuesday, calling for the streamlining of arms procurement among member states and reducing dependence on the US defense industry. 

As pointed out by Borrell, the EU has had to turn more to imports due to increasing demand, but should do so in a cooperative manner. “Fragmentation needs to be addressed with cooperation,” the diplomat said, suggesting that the new EC strategy will incentivize joint procurement of defense capabilities and projects of common European interest. 

Meanwhile, EC Vice President Margrethe Vestager revealed that over $108 billion was spent on defense acquisitions in the first 16 months of the Ukraine conflict but that nearly 80% of this amount was done outside the EU, predominantly in the US. 

“This is no longer sustainable – if it ever was,” Vestager said. 

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Katarina Barley (SPD), designated lead candidate for the European elections, speaks at the SPD's European Delegates' Conference.
EU needs own nukes – MEP

Concerns in the EU about Washington’s reliability about strategic issues have recently been exacerbated in light of comments by former US President Donald Trump suggesting that the US should not be expected to defend European allies who refuse to fulfill their military spending commitments to NATO.  

Trump has also insisted that the rest of the military bloc should send at least as much aid to Ukraine as the US has thus far. 

President Joe Biden has criticized the statements made by his likely opponent in the upcoming election this year, describing Trump’s comments on NATO as “absolutely bizarre” and suggesting that European leaders are “scared to death” by his threats.

March 06, 2024 at 07:44PM

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