EU risks US-China domination with military cuts: France

Discussion in 'Americas' started by LETHALFORCE, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    EU risks US-China domination with military cuts: France

    Europe decided Friday to explore how to strengthen military cooperation as France warned that drastic defence budget cuts would leave the continent under Sino-American domination.

    French Defence Minister Herve Morin said he had told his European Union counterparts at a meeting in Ghent, Belgium, that plans to step up European military cooperation would falter without proper budgets.

    "Most European states have given up on a simple ambition, which is that Europeans obtain a military tool allowing them to weigh on world affairs," he told reporters on the sidelines of a two-day meeting of EU defence chiefs.

    "At the pace we're going, Europe is progressively becoming a protectorate, and in 50 years we will become a game in a balacing act between new powers in which we will be under a Sino-American dominion," he said.

    Morin warned that "every country in the world is rearming" while European states that already had weak military budgets before the economic crisis were proceeding with new cuts.

    "Do Europeans want to be actors on the international stage or do they want to be the actors in a play they are not writing?" he said.

    Morin urged Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign and security policy chief, to take the mantle of Europe's military ambitions.

    "It is up to Mrs Ashton to give this impetus," he said.

    European governments should examine which capacities they want to keep sovereign and which they would share, he said. Concretely, European armies could cooperate in the fields of transport, logistics and training.

    Poland backed calls to step up efforts nearly one year after the Lisbon Treaty, the EU's landmark reform treaty, came into force with provisions allowing states to enhance military cooperation on a permanent basis.

    "We are not moving fast enough to apply the Lisbon Treaty in the area of defence," Polish Defence Minister Bogdan Klich told reporters.

    Belgian Defence Minister Pieter De Crem told his counterparts at a dinner Thursday that there was "discontent about the way military cooperation has been conducted up to now."

    His country holds the rotating presidency of the 27-nation EU.

    The European Defence Agency was asked in Ghent to explore ways to enhance cooperation between EU states and report back at a formal meeting of defence ministers in December, De Crem told a news conference on Friday.

    The EDA was established in 2004 to help EU states improve the bloc's defence capabilities but it has a budget of 30 million euros, a drop in the bucket compared to national defence budgets.

    "We insisted on the strategic role EDA has to play in the future," he said.

    A recent agreement between Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands to pool 200 transport aircraft under a single command stood out as a prime example of closer cooperation, De Crem said.

    "This is the kind of cooperation we will develop more," he said, adding that Luxembourg and Spain had expressed interest in joining the arrangement.
     
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  3. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Britain seeks to reassure US on military cutbacks

    Washington (AFP) Sept 24, 2010 - Britain has sought to reassure anxious US officials that plans for major defense cuts will not undermine its status as Washington's most important military ally, officials said Friday. Amid US concerns over London's plans to slash 10 to 20 percent in military spending, British Defence Secretary Liam Fox told his US counterpart, Robert Gates, in a visit to the Pentagon this week that key weapons and programs would not be sacrificed, a British official said. As Britain undertakes a strategic review to decide which of its military programs to cut, Fox "wanted to come over to offer some reassurance and explain how the process was working," said Martin Longden, press attache for the British embassy in
    Washington. "We enter it, as America's most important military ally, and we'll leave this review still as America's most important ally," he told AFP.

    Fox informed Gates that Britain would retain its special forces, stick to plans to buy F-35 fighter jets and maintain its nuclear forces, Longden said. "Those three things our friends in America care deeply about and we understood that," he said. US officials have expressed concern over potentially dramatic military cutbacks among European allies, including Germany, urging NATO members to invest more in their armed forces. But a US defense official said the Pentagon did not believe Britain's role as a crucial military partner was in jeopardy due to the proposed cuts. "I think we're confident the UK will maintain a robust military capability," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. But some analysts say Britain's planned spending cuts would curtail its military power, scaling back the number of troops that would be able to join a mission similar to Afghanistan.

    In remarks to British reporters during his visit, Fox reportedly said Britain would be capable of deploying fewer troops in the future but would still retain forces at "a respectable and useful level." Officials said Fox and Gates did not discuss a disagreement over the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, as the US defense secretary has vehemently opposed an alternative engine for the aircraft
    favored by London and some American lawmakers. GE is building the alternative engine along with Britain's Rolls-Royce. Fox made his views clear in a letter this month to a major advocate for the alternative engine, Senator Carl Levin, arguing that killing the second engine could push up costs and pose technical risks for the project. "The UK -- and we believe other international partners on the programme are worried that a decision now to cancel the second engine may save money in the short term but end up costing the US and her partners much more in the long term," Fox wrote in the letter, which was released by Levin's office.
     

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