European Parliament proposes NATO without US

 European Parliament proposes NATO without US

The European Parliament backed an EU plan to deepen coordination of member states' defense policies and rely less on the United States, driven in part by US. President-elect Donald Trump's suggestion he may scale back protection of NATO allies.

EU lawmakers voted 369-255 in favor of plans to increase European spending on military missions, as well as developing and sharing assets like helicopters. 

"Terrorism, hybrid threats and cyber- and energy insecurity leave EU countries no choice but to step up their security and defence cooperation efforts, thus paving the way to a European Defence Union," MEPs say in a resolution passed on Tuesday. They suggest devoting 2% of GDP to defence, establishing multinational forces and EU headquarters to plan and command crisis management operations, and enabling the EU to act where NATO is unwilling to do so.

They suggest introducing a “European Defence Semester, whereby member states would consult each other’s planning and cycles and procurement plans” and advocate strengthening the European Defence Agency’s coordination role.

While the parliament's backing is not binding on European governments, it represents a sign of cross-party political support for the European Union to pursue its most ambitious defense plan in decades after years of spending cuts, Reuters reports.

The deputy dean of the Faculty of Global Economics and International Affairs of the Higher School of Economics of the National Research University, Andrei Suzdaltsev, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, said that such ideas as a European army are not uncommon in the establishment of the EU and individual countries.

"It's quite a fruitful idea, but taking into account that all these countries are NATO members, we see a kind of separatism here. This idea is fueled by certain anti-Americanism, which exists among European policy-makers. Recent events in the United States were accompanied by a terrible nervousness in the European Union. Because Donald Trump said, in general, that Europe should defend itself. He alludes to the fact that often European countries rely on the efforts of the US made in the area of security and defense, and sparingly finance their military budgets and participation of these countries in NATO," the expert explained.

"In this regard, of course, Trump announced the traditional resentment of Washington and its allies. But, given the fact that it was said in the format of campaign promises, the statement of the American candidate prompted the establishment of a European army. It seems to me that it was a very bright, but completely fantastic idea. Until there is the US in Europe, until there is NATO, there will be no European army," Andrei Suzdaltsev assured.

The head of the Center for Strategic Development of the CIS Countries under the RAS Institute of Europe, Alexander Gusev, also believes that the EU resolution is a European response to Trump's intentions to cut the US spending on NATO.

"The European army issue has been discussed for a long time, almost since 2000. But Europe actually declined from its inception to save money. The fact is that each NATO member country pays about 1% of GDP. While the US spends about 73%. Obama at this July's Warsaw summit urged the Europeans to make a solidarity contribution to NATO's collection box - 2.25% of GDP, which, of course, caused quite a great resonance. They considered the sum too high, and therefore the issue of creation their own European forces arose," the expert said.

"Europe has no clear understanding of how to build the security system today. This is about creating a full-fledged system of European security. These are rapid response teams, advanced air defense systems and intercontinental ballistic missiles. It is clear that the nuclear powers have a number of questions. France is not very supportive of the NATO military structure in Europe, the United Kingdom is leaving the EU. Germany has no nuclear weapons. I think that in the end they will agree that it is better to raise the level of per cent of GDP and maintain the structure of NATO, rather then create their own army," Alexander Gusev expressed his opinion.

"Of course, the UK has resources, France has aircraft and Mistrals. But only German weapons are competitive, everything else is a complete nonsense," Alexander Gusev concluded.