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Europe between NATO, its own Defense - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Bratislava, Brussels – France and Germany are leading a campaign to find a European joint defense force, however, Britain has opposed the military integration long ago and will maintain an opinion in the European matter till it’s through with Brexit, which is expected to take years.

EU ministers discussed the Franco-German plan, calling for more joint defense and the establishment of a European military headquarters, following the EU’s approval on enhancing cooperation in the Summit of Bratislava earlier this month.

On the 16th of September, EU leaders held a meeting in Bratislava without Britain, in which they discussed the post-Brexit phase and have agreed on a six-month roadmap to prepare a new vision for the EU, including the enhancement of defense capabilities, which has always been opposed by Britain.

European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said that EU’s defense ministers have set a joint base on the need to strengthen the European defense cooperation and with a complete integration with the NATO. She also pointed that an agreement between the EU and NATO has been hammered in July; this agreement will be integral and will mutually enhance the efforts of both parties, Mogherini added.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg considered that EU’s plans on enhancing joint defense after Brexit will not undermine the military coalition on both sides of Atlantic. During his participation in the meeting of Bratislava, Stoltenberg said that there is no contradiction between strong European defense and NATO.

These comments came to follow statements by British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon declaring that Britain will maintain its opposition for the establishment of a European army and that the EU plans concerning the enhancement of defense cooperation post-Brexit will undermine the Atlantic alliance.

Despite UK..’s planned departure from the EU, Fallon said the U.K. would continue to commit to Europe’s security. He added that Europe needs to do more: it’s facing terrorism and migration, but the establishment of a European army will simply undermine NATO.

However, Defense Ministers of France and Germany have said that nothing can be expected on this level. Both countries have called for new joint projects in the fields of defense and security policy in the EU. “When you see how much personnel and financial commitment we have, but how little we coordinate with one another, then there is definitely room for improvement,” said German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen.

From her part, Federica Mogherini has said that decisions concerning the European defense will be taken with a complete integration with NATO.