US shares concerns over EU defence integration

  • Petr Boháček
  • 13.2.2018 11:25

Pentagon’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Katie Wheelbarger, voiced concerns over divergences between EU’s PESCO defence integration initiative and NATO, during the Europe trip with US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis on 12 February. Mattis is expected to address the concerns with his European counterparts.

Wheelbarger mentioned that EU projects could detract contributions from Afghanistan and Iraq, a substantial concern as Europe’s security focus is rather directed toward North Africa and Russia. However, PESCO projects focus mainly on smaller crisis management capabilities. Further, a Dutch project on military mobility including all PESCO signatories is expected to address logistic issues for moving forces across the continent, a long-term problem for NATO. Lack of coordination between the EU and NATO could limit its benefits, worries Wheelbarger. Despite the speeding-up EU defence integration, European NATO members continue to stress that the North Atlantic alliance remains the cornerstone of security in Europe. Low defence spending, technology gaps, or varying security priorities leave European military autonomy unrealistic at this point. PESCO, the European Defence Fund, and the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence or Capabilities Development Plan, could together amount to a promising start for a change in this regard.

About author: Petr Boháček

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