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Thursday, October 13, 2016

EU Defense Cooperation: Threat or Benefit for NATO?

EU Defense Cooperation: Threat or Benefit for NATO?

Britain has long opposed an EU defense identity fearing it would undermine NATO. Post Brexit, the remaining 27 members can forge ahead


  • That European defense cooperation is a threat to NATO is mainly a British obsession.
  • Defense cooperation inside the EU shouldn't be seen as an attempt to replace NATO -- rather as an opportunity to complement it.
  • A more capable Europe less dependent on the U.S. would mean a more balanced NATO.
  • France and Germany have been leading calls for enhanced European defense cooperation.
Britain has always been a somewhat half-hearted member of the EU. The country has been reluctant to hand over competences to Brussels and principally opposed to “ever closer union” — even as it was eager to widen the EU’s membership.
As a reluctant (and soon to be ex) participant in European integration, the British worldview has been, and continues to be, Atlanticist rather than European.
As a firmly Altanticist nation, Britain has been vehemently opposed to any EU military structures. It deemed NATO as the one and only framework for providing security in the Euro-Atlantic area.
But with Britain set to leave the EU some time in 2019 – based on Theresa May’s announcement that Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty will be triggered in March 2017 and the assumption that a successful exit is negotiated within the two-year time limit – a major obstacle to EU defense cooperation will be removed in the foreseeable future.

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