NATO leaders were told by the French defense minister not to fear a new European defense program. He said that it would strengthen the alliance and make it more resilient.
Speaking to fellow NATO leaders on Friday on the second day of a Brussels-based summit, French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said that “defensive statements” concerning the formation of an EU military alliance were unwarranted.
“Don’t be afraid,”Parly stated that the formation was an opportunity, not a distraction. “European defense isn’t being built in opposition to NATO, quite the contrary: a stronger Europe will contribute to a strengthened and more resilient alliance,”she stated
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In his public comments, Lloyd Austin, US Secretary of Defense, gave an optimistic assessment of EU defense proposals. “What we’d like to see are initiatives that are complementary to the types of things that NATO is doing,”Austin spoke at a press conference.
Austin also requested that his NATO allies provide a deterrent credible to enemy aggression.
Many remain skeptical about the idea that an EU defense strategy could be a combat force. On Thursday, Britain’s Defense Secretary Ben Wallace described the proposal as a distraction, telling reporters it was a “red herring.” There’s “absolutely no point in sticking European berets on a whole load of people,”He stated.
France has been the driving force behind the idea of some form of an EU army, with its apparent resolve on the issue undimmed by the recent surprise formation of the ‘AUKUS’ pact, between the US, UK and Australia. France lost a submarine deal worth $40 billion with Canberra. Instead, the US and UK pledged to construct a fleet of new nuclear-powered submarines for Australia. Paris called the deal “a very positive move.” “stab in the back.”
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