NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was recently asked if Europe really needs a European Army?

Stoltenberg responded:

“What Europe needs is more investment in defence, stronger capabilities, and we also need fairer burden sharing within the Alliance. And therefore I welcome EU efforts on defence, as for instance the European Defence Fund, military mobility or PESCO. Because I believe that can improve burden-sharing within NATO, it can provide new European capabilities.

But this should never compete with NATO, it should complement NATO and thereby strengthen NATO by strengthening the European contributions to our shared security and collective defence.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg delivers a doorstep statement upon arrival at the European Council.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recently welcomed unprecedented levels of cooperation between the EU and NATO ahead of a meeting with the EU Foreign Affairs Council on Tuesday.

The Secretary General noted that stronger European defence can contribute to fairer burden-sharing within NATO, but stressed the need for complementarity between NATO and EU efforts. “NATO remains the bedrock for European security,” he said.

29 COMMENTS

  1. I like this guy. He is utterly correct. NATO not the EU has maintained the peace and guarantees its members protection. The EU could not fight it’s way out of a donut box without UK, Canada and most importantly the USA.

    • Don’t forget the French, in many regards their forces are at parity with our own, and superior in some cases.

      Which is why it makes so much sense that Macron is pushing for an EU army. With France’s position as the EU’s dominant military and only nuclear deterrent without the UK, they’ll be in a prime position to secure themselves permanently at the head of the table. All those jokes around about the EU 4th Reich, we might end up with Napoleon Macronaparte instead.

  2. NATO is only as strong as America’s commitment to maintaining support. Sadly, Trump’s concerns about the alliance and its disproportionate dependency on US involvement, may not go away even under a new presidency? The seeds have been sown, and it may not be possible to return to the old NATO commitments. If that is the case and we witness an inexorable decline in US involvement, then there must be some sense in creating a truly European defence force?

      • Seriously? What nation has the US navy fired on, what nation has the US annexed parts of, or is occupying parts of with ‘partisan rebels”? Which nations are having to increased their defense spending to avoid a Russian steamroller? Such a statement is without foundation in fact or logic.

  3. Maurice you are probably right- and hence why HMG need to get their house in order. Seems the only bandwidth the government have at the moment is Brexit and this single issues is almost tearing the country apart.
    I had hoped the budget would have released quite a bit more than just £1 billion extra for defence.
    Our armed forces have been cut too far by successive governments and there should be some form of recourse to these “bad decisions”. If we are militarily defeated or our brave servicemen and women suffer losses as a result of the successive cuts can we put Osbourne and Cameron and Blair and Brown and their defence ministers on trial for dereliction of duty and failing to ensure there number 1 responsibility as government ministers- the defence of the realm?
    I would love to see the police knocking on their doors and arresting them for just that issue.

    • The problem as I see it is the inner workings of Whitehall. For many years it was believed a Labour government would always take a large knife to the MOD, as it never produced anything, nor helped the exchequer in any way other than taking valuable tax payer’s money. In part that was true, Dennis Healy was not liked at the MOD, and under Wilson’s leadership we saw the demise of many projects including TSR2. Under the IMF thumb, and at the same time begging Europe to let in poor hard done by Britain, defence took a really bad knock. Since then, the MOD has been battered by successive governments of all parties, who looked at the MOD as a non-profit burden. Within the intellectual corridors of Westminster, defence became a bit of a playroom, for budding party leaders, and not treated as a serious component of governance? The nearest most ministers ever got to defence, was attending the Trooping of the Colour or Remembrance Sunday!

      When the chips have been down, the government has responded to the MOD’s needs but usually only in times of crisis, and not as an ongoing necessity. However, Russia has entered a new era, where it will physically demonstrate its military menace in and around our waters, on an ever increasing basis. The threat will no longer be an invisible force, but one that provokes and harasses our warships, airforce, and land forces wherever they are operating. That will become a real test of nerve for the West as a whole, as the same tactics are evident in the South China seas too! This situation will, however, increase our UK defence profile as the provocations increase, which can only help the MOD maintain a steady foothold on Whitehall’s list of priorities?

  4. Doesn’t the Prime Minister’s office have to investigate an issue/question if there are more than 100K petitioners? Perhaps a lobby group should be set up to do this very thing. Imagine the reaction from politicians if they were to be investigated for dereliction of duty or dare I say incompetence. I think we should also include chiefs of the armed services in the list, who have been more interested in feathering their nest rather than what they’ve been tasked with. This is especially true when they blatantly tow the party line to the detriment of the Services when question by the defence select Committee.

    • HMG house in order? i never thought i’d see those words together! the MOD should be closed down as being unfit for order

      • OMG and WTF. Farcebook, Twatter, instaarse and Whatsup has put an end to anything even remotely Important in life, and no one ever seems to worry about the national defence of this Country, “Social Media” Is giving The latest generation of young offended types powers beyond belief. “we are offended” is the cry, ” lets have a petition ” FFS. I’d love to see these Techno Zombies stepping away from their Phones, dismounting their soap boxes and just getting back to plain old common sense and Intelligence. not to mention actually joining up and making an actual difference. We don’t need Petitions, nor another bloody Referendum, what we need Is Courage and guts and good old fashioned British Determination. (Rant not over, just on hold for a bit).

  5. Mr Bell/Davey,

    I don’t think you have any realistic chance of anything happening…. the UK maintains the 2% of GDP for defence as per the NATO target of spending….. that is far more than most other NATO countries….

  6. We maintain that 2% by including previously separate expenditure in the conventional budget. The deterrent, pensions, etc, were all transferred to the MoD to bulk out the budget and hide the cuts.

    A rule I try and stick with is, judge yourself not by how bad everyone else is, but by how good you are. Relatively speaking, the UK is a military powerhouse compared to a lot of countries; realistically speaking, there are huge capability gaps across the board that reduce the overall effectiveness of the whole. To name a few, HMAF has deficiencies in or lacks completely long range air defences (both naval and land based), anti ship missiles (both ship and air), long range strike aircraft (no comparable Tornado replacement, the F35 is a completely different set of capabilities), and of course, manpower

    • look at where the foreign aid actually goes£200 million to pakistan and india, one, that harbours terrorists and allows its soil to be used to train tem, the other, india has the most booming economy in the region, tanzania/hundreds of millions, nigeria, syria, sudan, nigeria, afghanistan over half of the 13.2 billion £ given away, is an utter disgrace its my opinion that it could be halved. money saved into education, health,defense, and other worthwhile areas.

    • I’d say that Typhoon better replaces the Tornado more than F35. It’s an absolute bomb truck!

      Typhoon replaces both F3 and GR4 variants.

  7. While I agree that We don’t need duplication of capabilities in terms of the organisation responsible for leading on European defence, and the lead organisation is NATO. Would having a EU army not potentialy reduce duplication of military functions across different national military’s, allowing the money to be spent on required Capabilities?

  8. Sign me up DavyB. Putin is pressing all our buttons yet all HMG wants to do is cut more, fooled by its own spin.

    If many European NATO members are currently spending only c.half the GDP on their own forces that they need to & have signed up for, then adding all the beaurocracy etc to create an EU army is criminally counter productive, unless it’s a vehicle for the French &/or Germans to become top dogs in Europe(In which case it makes a little sense but could be trouble in the long run). However, the EU does mot have democratic leadership & is immensly concieted, so I’d find it hard to trust their leadership of a large military.

  9. I think all the talk about European defense cooperation is good news for NATO overall. It is really more about streamlining equipment and procurement which is a great idea to keep costs down and numbers up – of course by pushing for European built equipment when possible. The UK through BAE could be a major partner in achieving this.

    As the UK doesn’t have to be part of a future European army if it ever goes ahead as planned it’s also a win-win as we can focus elsewhere.

    The EU does not really have a leadership. I would suggest you read up on how it works. It is a union of sovereign democracies as it stands with very limited power or influence over it’s member states. I find it tiresome that while the UK has been part of the EU for over fourty years most people seem not to even understand the basics.

    As it stands, we are one of the top dogs in Europe with the power and influence of Germany as the second biggest economy of the world’s biggest trading block and largest economic area. Outside of the EU ( which at this point I very much doubt will happen ) we will be a middle sized country with no influence at all trying to navigate between the US, the EU and China.

    • Dave F. There is no chance of the EU buying kit from us. They don’t now. As far as France is concerned the purpose of a EU army is to buy from them and them only. What the others think is another question.

    • I am very much aware of how the EU works. I am also very well aware of how it was created, the ultimate goals of the globalists and pseudo-intellectuals who created and maintained it are, and most disturbingly I know of the shear arrogance and moral bankruptcy of the European Union. Which is highly undemocratic has utter contempt for free speech and is dead set on leading it’s members off a cliff.
      The European Commission which is unelected yet is the only body capable of presenting legislation to the European Parliament except nations themselves in matters of security. Thereby making MEPs useless rubber stamps. Considering MEPs get a bonus for voting more there is even a incentive for them to be even more of rubber stamp.
      Further considering comments made by such trash as Verhofstadt, Junker, and Merkel. How “Nations should orderly give up their sovreignty”- Merkel. Verhofstadt’s “Empire of Good” comment. Junker and his outright lies where he consistently denied the preparations to build a European Army despite evidence for years until this year.
      The whole rotten lot of thems constant condemnations and threatening of the Hungarian and Polish Governments. All for having the temerity to not bring in a hostile batch of illegal immigrants masquerading as refugees.
      The constant meddling of the ECJ into affairs that were never theirs to rule on. Using treaties that were neither designed nor intended for that purpose.
      The idea that the German bought and paid for EU is ever going to be as powerful as the United States, China, Russia, and India or hell in 40 years Brazil is ridiculous. The EU is a incompetent, closet totalitarian state that is buisy sowing the seeds of it’s own destruction by being hell bent on attempting to start a Cold War with the United States of America.
      Europe’s pathetic attempt to play Athens to America’s Sparta will end total failure.

      • Christ Elliott, That’s a worrying Picture you painted there. Best “We brit’s” get a wriggle on and get back to where we were.

      • Elliot, apologies for the long answer and thank you for taking the time to answer.

        Throwing things around that the EU is undemocratic does not make it true. What is that constant meddling you are talking about? The ECJ like any other body of the European Union works within clearly defined boundaries that were created and signed off by member states.

        The members of the EC are of course not elected ( appointed by the governments of the member states except for the president )- neither are our civil servants. In reality all the decision making power of the European Union rests with the council of the member states and to some extent, the European Parliament, both directly elected.

        I could go on and on but there is no reason to argue with nonsense such as the EU is a totalitarian state. It is not a state at all not even a federation as it has no governing body that decides on taxation, foreign policy etc . I agree that it is overly complicated and hard to understand but it is so because there is no other political/economic entity in the world that is comparable.

        It is not closed at all either – it has around fourty or fifty trade partnership agreements including many ftas with countries around the globe and has been working on more.
        Incompetent at what?

        Russian propaganda clearly works if you think that they are comparable to China or the EU – have you looked at their demographic, economy, growth apart from the number of obsolete tanks they can muster on paper? If it wasn’t for the nukes inherited from the soviet union they would be queuing up with hat in hand.

        You are arguing and lashing out at the EU for not being “powerful” enough but at the same time complain that there are talks of closer military cooperation.

        At the moment the European Union is the richest ( or depending on where you look at it from a very close second ) economic entity with a lot of soft power behind that. Cold war with the US? They may have a president spouting out nonsense but we are each others’ largest trading partner by far, the two together almost amounts for 50% of the world’s total GDP.

        You clearly do not know much about Hungary or Poland. Among other European countries, I have spent years in the former and the current alarming state of democracy and rule of law has absolutely nothing to do with the now largely non existent immigrant crisis. Classic case of state capture.

        They have received unprecedented amount of funding from the EU ( note: the eu just means all the member states together, so it means our money ) that they are now using to fund their putinist style authoritarian state ( I know it’s the guardian but this article is spot on https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jan/11/viktor-orban-hungary-prime-minister-reckless-football-obsession ). In their current state either of these countries would be allowed to join and if there is one thing that is wrong with the EU is that they are allowed to get away with it all due to the lack of means to make them fall in line. So what is it then, is it a totalitarian state or a lose political-economic alliance that has no power to influence its member states should they be unwilling to compromise?

        In my view there is simply no other option for western european countries than to integrate further.

        If what you think is true then we’d just have to wait and see what happens – if the EU eventually turns into a federation we can still say no and then keep our economic benefits and ties. If it disintegrates… well.

        In both scenarions we are fools of throwing away our influence and say.

        • Dave_F
          Where to begin?
          First if a MEP does not have the right of legislative initiative and therefore make law he has no power. Currently they must go to the Commission and say “please” before anything can go to the floor. As for accountability of the Commission? Good luck getting enough MEPs there to vote for removal of anyone. As for the Commission being no different than civil servants? My garbage man and my local police man are civil servants, they do not nor should they dictate to the Houses of Congress what they can vote on.

          The European Council? That is a club where Germany and France (especially Germany) hold all the cards because they underwrite the loans that keep the Mediterranean countries in line. Britain has almost no power there as it has so far been unwilling to cajole countries using debt slavery nor has it manipulated industrial laws for itself like Germany. In other words to believe the Council is anything other than a tool of German globalists is to be a sucker.

          The incompetence of the EU is very clear from their mismanagement of ever single crisis and incident they run headlong in to from Yugoslavia to the Migrant Crisis. As fo the the trade agreements you mention. It took the EU a decade to finalize a make a trade agreement with Canada and nearly another one to refine to a comprehensive deal. They have been trying to in various forms negotiate one with the US since 1990 and have failed so badly they are FURTHER away from one.

          As for the relative power of Russia to the EU? You are the one who has bought European propaganda about how Russia is supposedly a failing power and therefore cuts in defense are justified. Russia’s birthrate has relatively stabilized compared to the late 90s and early 00s. As for Europe’s demographics? You REALLY do NOT want to open that can of worms and what it portends. Russia maintains the ability to build and maintain advanced fighter jets, missiles, heavy and light fighting vehicles of all types, both SSNs and SSKs, FFGs, small arms and infantry equipment. This in addition to a for all intents and purposes huge infrastructure to manufacture and maintain a Nuclear Arsenal. You blithely dismissed nukes but they do in fact exist and guarantee peace as Russia would in all likelihood turn the Krauts and Frogs along with the rest of their puppets into a smoking, glassy, irradiated ruin before they allowed Europe to repeat WWI or WWII and kill millions of Russian civilians again.
          Note Russia has only invaded west as retaliation for incursion into either their sphere of influence or Russia proper. This idea you have that Russia would come hat in hand to Western Europe? It would be funny were it not sad you believe that. Russia’s trust and fondness for Western Europe if it did not die at Constantinople in the 4th Crusade subsequent events over the intervening centuries killed every single attempt at reconciliation without fail. Always with Europe firing the first shot or breaking faith with every treaty they signed.

          Cold War with the US? Macron is merely the most recent and most high ranking their have been others. Such as Ursula von der Leyen and numerous EU intellectuals who have named America as a future adversary and competitors. Build a united military and a united foreign policy will follow. Just as inevitably will a Cold War.

          As for Poland and Hungary? So democracy is now totalitarian. Both Law and Justice (PiS) and Hungarian Civic Alliance (Fidesz) won elections. Elections which were determined to be free and fair. Rule of Law and State of Democracy? If you are referring to corruption it is Eastern Europe everyone knew there was corruption when they joined. Rule of law I have actually seen more improvements with Hungary making it harder for NGOs subverting the state to get off scot-free. Both have populations that do not want more migrants and both acceded to the wishes of their electorate. So democracy good when it returns the result you want but somehow it is “state capture” or “Putinesque” or “authoritarian” when it doesn’t. If you mean law and order is breaking down, what do you mean? Are there weekly riots? Mass sexual assaults? Grooming gangs? No go zones? Trucks of Peace? No those are becoming alarmingly common in Western Europe.

          Hungary and Poland receiving subsidies? Just because a country’s politicians received 30 pieces of silver does not mean they are obligated to sell their country down the river. All though yours has for ever so long considering the bank accounts of former PMs of both major parties.

          Your belief that migrants masquerading as refugees are not a problem anymore is willfully ignorant. More are boarding boats everyday. On top of those already in Europe. France’s Interior Minister in October spoke of how he fears civil war.

          “In my view there is simply no other option for western european countries than to integrate further.” – Thank you for proving my point. You wrote at length about how there was nothing to worry about. Then proceeded to recommend giving the EU more power and sovereignty. In order to make countries “fall in line”, let me guess if they know what’s good for them. To give a group of moral buisy body’s with that mentality a Army would be giving a nuclear weapon to a child. With that mentality and a military the EU would by default replace Russia as a National Security concern. Hence my comment of Europe playing Athens to America’s Sparta.

      • The EU is ultimate luxury doomed. Simply because of quantitive easing. They have bought up nearly as much debt as the USA and now sitting on a debt pile in the trillions and trillions. The ECB is trying to wean the EU economy off QI but it is hard to do especially as Italy wants expansive changes that will ratchet up more debt.
        The EU economically is in trouble, militarily is a joke and would struggle to hold without the UK and most importantly the US any form of cohesive defence against a serious Russian incursions into the Baltic’s, Ukraine or Eastern European nations. Not that I think that is likely, just an observation. What is the combat availability of Italian, Spanish, German army and Airforce units? Probably not very impressive.

  10. An EU army?? HAHA. Germany can hardly muster 2 fighters to intercept a Russian bomber and all their subs are stuck in port and how many operation combat ships do they have? France and the UK at least take national defense a bit more seriously and the rest of the EU militarily is a joke. They all have gotten lazy knowing if the Russians ever invade America will come to our rescue so why should we spend all that money on defense. Trump tells them them pay just 2% of their GDPs on defense and they all start crying like little babies how that’s unfair. LOL

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