TIME FOR THE EUROPEANS TO COMMIT MORE TO NATO – NOT SET UP THEIR OWN ARMY
Speaking in the European Parliament today (14 December), Commission president Juncker called for a “high level of ambition” when the European Council discusses security and defence tomorrow afternoon. He wants the EU to be responsible for the protection of its citizens and “not just to be a soft power”.
Geoffrey Van Orden MEP, Defence Spokesman for the European Conservatives & Reformists Group, commented:
“The EU sees every crisis as an opportunity to push its own self-interested agenda. At a time of heightened international tension, the last thing we need is the EU trying to set up its own army separate from NATO. But this is precisely its aim and it has dangerous consequences.
“The NATO Secretary General and our national leaders need to be robust in insisting on NATO primacy in defence and to discourage the EU from setting up separate structures. EU egotism is totally misplaced.
“The EU countries that are also NATO members – 22 out of 28 – need to signal to President-elect Trump that it is NATO that is important to them and they intend to carry a larger share of the burden of defence through the great transatlantic Alliance that has served them well over six decades.
“The EU should focus on rectifying the many mistakes it has made in recent years which have contributed to the feeling of insecurity that now abounds.
“Strong British defence capabilities through a NATO alliance that we share is very much in the interests of continental Europe. The EU needs to signal that Brexit will be carried out in a spirit of friendship and cooperation – and not allow its spokesmen to give the impression of a spiteful rift with Britain.”
Geoffrey Van Orden MEP is Defence Spokesman for the ECR Group. He can be contacted at