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
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- 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.
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.