The European Union needs some, says Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President.
In order to respond to crises, the EU needs “credible military capabilities,” the leader of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen said at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday.
The bloc has already “set up the building blocks of a European defense union,” the former German defense minister said in her speech.
“It is complementary to NATO and it is different,” she added. “There is a European way to foreign policy and foreign security policy where hard power is an important tool […] but it is never the only one.”
This is much of what President Donald Trump has been saying since he began campaigning for office in 2015. It’s part of his long push (which is beginning to have some success) for NATO’s European member nations to quit freeloading off our treasure and blood and actually honor their NATO commitments with more of their own money and blood.
It’s also a clear indication that those nations, whose prosperity appeared and grew under American protection, can—and have been able to for a long time—do more for NATO than they have been. After all, it will cost much more to develop an additional defense establishment with the building blocks of a European defense union that is complementary to NATO and…is different.”
Von der Leyen says the EU can afford both.