2020.03.11 07:46

EU defence initiatives must not duplicate NATO, Lithuanian president insists

BNS 2020.03.11 07:46

A separate EU defence would duplicate NATO functions and lead to confusion, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda says.

Addressing the Bucharest Nine meeting of foreign ministers in Vilnius on Tuesday, the Lithuanian president insisted that “the transatlantic link is by far the most important one” to ensure the region's security.

“We need the US to remain a European power. This is the only winning strategy. For all of us,” Nausėda said. “One of misleading and disturbing things in this context is talk about European strategic autonomy. Yes, Europe must do a lot more on defence spending and the quality of it. But two collective defence systems – one for NATO, one for Europe - would be rather confusing and obstructive.”

In mid-2018, nine EU member states, including the United Kingdom which left the EU in January, backed France's proposed initiative to establish a European defence group.

According to the plan on the European Intervention Initiative, signed by the countries, the goal is to ensure the possibility to lead a response to humanitarian crises and evacuation operation, and also to execute regular military tasks.