quinta-feira, 10 de novembro de 2016
Trump gives EU defense plans new sense of urgency
Trump gives EU defense plans new sense of urgency
America’s president-elect said Europe must share more of the security burden.
By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN, MAÏA DE LA BAUME AND JACOPO BARIGAZZI 11/11/16, 5:20 AM CET
Four European military powers — France, Germany, Italy and Spain — will accelerate their push for cooperation on defense because of concerns that Donald Trump will curtail U.S. engagement, diplomats and officials said.
A Franco-German initiative launched in September has gained fresh impetus since Trump’s election victory, with defense officials in Europe not thinking — for now, at least — of a European Army, but of forging greater strategic autonomy and forging the ability to undertake missions that fall outside of NATO’s areas of responsibility.
“We have doubts about the durability of U.S. involvement in Europe,” said a senior French diplomat on Thursday. “The stakes in security are much higher than they have ever been.”
European Commission President Jean Claude-Juncker had already made cooperation in security and defense a priority since taking office in 2014, and he said on Wednesday, as Trump’s victory became known, that “it was always obvious Americans would not always be there to protect the European Continent.”
Next week, when foreign and defense ministers meet in Brussels, they will discuss a strategy proposed in June by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to make Europe less dependent on the U.S. for its own security.
Dubbed a “Schengen of defense,” in reference to the passport-free travel area within Europe, it envisages a more integrated defense industry and a legal framework — known as permanent structured cooperation — for some member states to push ahead faster, without waiting for all 28 countries to be on board. Mogherini said earlier this week that she would present ministers with a “very ambitious and pragmatic” plan.
The French diplomat said that just a couple of years ago it would have been very difficult to get European leaders to agree to put such ideas on the table, “but in the context of Trump’s election, it will certainly be reinforced.”
American administrations had been calling on Europe to do show more commitment to its own defense long before Trump came on the scene. Jorge Domecq, head of the European Defense Agency, said Washington had been demanding since at least 2015 “that we have to get our act together and provide for our own security.”
During the U.S. election campaign, Trump went further and raised doubts about whether he would maintain U.S. commitments to NATO if he got elected president, or even uphold the common defense provision enshrined in the alliance’s treaty. He said he would seek assurances that other NATO nations bear their share of the costs.
“He’s going to create a new era in America, but also in Europe” — Jose Vilar de Jesus, Portuguese defense ministry
“That means we need to cooperate more among each other, that Europe must take care of itself otherwise it’s impossible,” said Jose Vilar de Jesus, head of strategic planning at the Portuguese defense ministry. He described Trump as “an opportunity — he’s going to create a new era in America, but also in Europe.”
Look at the French
Proponents of greater military cooperation among EU members say it will not undermine NATO — one of the U.K.’s concerns — and cite findings from a report by the European Parliamentary Research Service from 2013 that it could save EU governments at least €26 billion, and perhaps as much as €130 billion, per year. The savings, they argue, could be used to boost Europe’s commitments to NATO, addressing Trump’s concerns.
As an example of the kind of missions outside of NATO’s remit that they could undertake, proponents cite France’s military deployments in Africa and the Middle East.
“France is doing a job that NATO doesn’t do,” said another European diplomat. “We have our own interests in the field of security, and NATO will never intervene in Africa.”
A document circulating among European defense ministers since October, signed by France’s Jean-Yves Le Drian, Germany’s Ursula Von der Leyen, Italy’s Roberta Pinotti and Spain’s Pedro Morenés, will be discussed at next week’s meeting and calls for the revitalization of European defense in a complex political situation marked by “the uncertainties” of Brexit and the global terrorist threat, among other factors.
“We live in a moment when the Euro-Atlantic security is challenged in a way that was not the case for decades,” reads the document, a copy of which was obtained by POLITICO.
The potential ramifications of the Trump presidency will also be a major topic of conversation at next week’s meeting, officials said. “How we are able to make our own decisions, and have access to technical data in the field of defense, which won’t be in the hands of others,” the senior French diplomat said. “It will not be about the EU’s grand idea on an EU army, but rather to raise awareness on the fact that security is a collective issue and that Europe can’t have it carried out by someone else.”
Marietje Schaake, a Dutch MEP from the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats and vice-president of a delegation for relations with the U.S., said the American election result had made it amply clear that “we don’t have the luxury of being able to postpone this kind of cooperation.”
David M. Herszenhorn , Maïa de La Baume and Jacopo Barigazzi