EU defence ambitions are key reason for NATO’s weaknesses

Geoffrey Van Orden MEP gives his view on EU defence policy.

In a wide ranging interview, published in The Times on 16 January, President-elect Donald Trump strongly criticised the EU and expressed scepticism towards NATO. But his remarks about the Alliance were carefully qualified. He attached importance to NATO and made clear his commitment to the defence of Europe and the West. His concerns were that NATO had not reformed to meet the threat of Islamist terrorism and that its members had relied too heavily on America and were not paying their way.

Conservative Defence Spokesman, Geoffrey Van Orden MEP, commented:

“President-elect Trump usually gets to the core of the key issues but he hasn’t yet seen the linkage between NATO’s failure to adapt and the EU’s defence ambitions.

“Instead of putting all their efforts into revitalising NATO, its European members have been distracted by the EU’s quest for an autonomous military capability.

“Far from providing additional capabilities or some sort of reinforcement for NATO, EU defence policy is a wasteful, duplicative, dishonest and divisive effort, driven by the desire for the political integration of the continent and rejection of American influence.

“Some of us have been very clear about this for years. The EU should drop its military pretensions and instead encourage its members to invest more in their national defence capabilities, in order to produce state-of-the-art, deployable and sustainable military forces.

“In this way, they are more likely to fulfil the NATO defence spending obligation and be in a strong position to provide the necessary forces for NATO use. This would reassure the incoming US President about the vitality of the Alliance and the unswerving commitment of its European members.”

Geoffrey Van Orden MEP is Defence Spokesman for the European Conservatives & Reformists and a former senior British military officer.

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