Plans to provide the European Union with its own forces that can intervene quickly are ill-advised, according to NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg. He said in an interview with Reuters news agency that this would be at the expense of NATO, while the European Union and the alliance should strengthen each other.
European Union countries are considering creating a “rapid intervention force” to help them reduce dependence on the United States in international crises. In evacuating people from Kabul, it turns out that the European Union is completely dependent on the Americans. Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign affairs coordinator, proposed sending a force of 50,000 men earlier this year, but has now reduced it to a tenth.
“We welcome the EU’s larger defense efforts, but they cannot replace NATO,” warns Stoltenberg. The European Union should not repeat NATO. “We only have one group of troops, and our resources are scarce.” Most of the member states of the European Union are also part of NATO.
Since 2007, the European Union has had so-called “fighting groups”, in which 1,500 soldiers can be deployed per battalion. At least in theory, because so far no combat group has taken action. “You have to deploy the army in the best possible way,” says Stoltenberg. “The EU had battle groups for many years, but they were never deployed.”
EU defense ministers want to reach agreement on the proposed intervention force in November. It is not yet certain whether this will work: Eastern European member states, among others, fear any manipulation of protection by the Americans.
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