NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has warned the European Union not to duplicate the work of the international alliance, following a call last week by French President Emmanuel Macron for a “real European army”.
Speaking at a conference in Berlin on Monday, Stoltenberg welcomed a greater commitment to defence from EU member states but stated in no uncertain terms that this commitment “should never undermine the strength of the transatlantic bond.”
He said: “Two World Wars and a Cold War taught us the importance of doing things together. The reality is that we need one strong and capable command structure, we can’t divide those resources in two.”
Stoltenberg’s timely intervention comes amid a spat of sorts between the French administration and President Trump, who blasted calls for an EU Army to defend against the US as “very insulting”. Trump went on to suggest that Europe “should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly”.
President Trump is right to highlight just five NATO members currently spend the minimum 2% of GDP on defence, including the United States and the UK.
Instead of calling for an “empire” and a “true European army”, perhaps France could focus on achieving its defence commitments to NATO instead of seeking an EU Army which no citizen has given their consent for.