EU seeks more autonomy but pledges close cooperation with US, Nato

Brussels, Feb 26 (efe-epa).- The European Union on Friday repeated its goal of becoming more autonomous in military and strategic defensive areas and reducing its reliance on the United States, while also underlining its intentions to continue working closely with Nato and Washington.

“We need to increase our ability to act autonomously and to strengthen our cooperation with our partners. We are committed to cooperating closely with Nato. A stronger Europe makes a stronger Nato,” European Council president Charles Michel told a press conference at the end of the second day of a virtual summit with EU leaders, which focused on defense and security.

The impetus behind pursuing more autonomy in defense took on more importance during the previous four years, when Donald Trump occupied the White House and threatened to destabilize the trans-Atlantic alliance.

The EU still holds onto those plans, despite an expected improvement in their relationship now that Joe Biden has taken over from Trump.

“Last week, President Biden said: ‘America is back.’ We in Europe are ready – to do our part, to be a strong and reliable partner,” Michel said.

Meanwhile the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, said cooperation between the EU and Nato is “a top priority” but said that there were several “scenarios where Nato was not engaged” where the EU would need to rely on itself.

“Europe needs to develop its own capabilities,” she said. “That is why we have set up the first building blocks of the European Defense Union.”

“We have the industry, we have the knowledge. What we need is to put this innovation and these talents at the service of common European capabilities.” EFE-EPA


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