French Prime Minister Calls for Creation of Pan-European Defense Strategy
REUTERS/ Philippe WojazerEurope18:53 17.02.2018Get short URL
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Saturday stressed the need to create a pan-European defense strategy in light of the on-going tensions around the world, including the Middle East.
“We want a joint strategy, which is indispensable for European defense. We want ‘Europe of defense’ to be created,” Philippe said at the Munich Security Conference, adding that in an interdependent world, Europe could “feel” the tensions going on in different parts of the world, including the Middle East and Asia.
READ MORE: Bleak Picture: ‘European Army Has No Future’ — Czech Military Analyst
The French minister also stressed the importance of benefiting from the EU cooperation with NATO, as, according to Philippe, a strong alliance means “a more solid European Union of defense.”
Philippe confirmed that France intended to start spending 2 percent of its GDP on defense by 2025 to meet NATO requirements. At the Warsaw summit in 2016, NATO allies reiterated their commitment to end cuts to defense spending, and gradually increase it toward the alliance’s designated 2 percent of GDP target within a decade.
The French minister also underlined that the European Union should “be ambitious together in spite of political chaos that we live through, despite Brexit,” set for the end of March 2019.
READ MORE: ‘Not a European Army’: PESCO is About ‘Cooperation, Not Integration’ – General
On December 11, the Council of the European Union adopted a decision creating a Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in the area of security and defense. A total of 25 EU member states are participating in PESCO. The framework should allow EU countries to jointly develop defense capabilities as well as to invest in common projects.