French Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has called for the creation of an independent European defense system, in response to Donald Trump's recent criticism of NATO, which the US president-elect called “obsolete.”
In the interview with German newspaper Bild and the Times of London, published Sunday, Trump raised doubts that the US, under his leadership, would come to the rescue of its NATO allies in Europe if Russia were to attack them.
“Number one, it [NATO] was obsolete because it was designed many, many years ago. Number two, the countries aren’t paying what they’re supposed to pay," Trump told his interviewers. “It’s obsolete because it wasn’t taking care of terror [sic].”
Just as with his campaign rhetoric, Trump’s latest interview made a number of European capitals apprehensive. And while German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stated that “Europeans have our fate in our own hands,” Cazeneuve called Tuesday for the establishment of a European defense system to break away from Washington’s security dependency, which has reigned in Europe for seven decades.
“We need European defense, with European means, with European investments, with a European projection capacity that will make the EU, the peoples and the nations that make it up, independent,” he told lawmakers while answering questions from the National Assembly. Such independence from Washington will affirm European “principles, its values, and its identity,” he said.
Cazeneuve’s comments came a day after the French President Francois Hollande said the EU “has no need for outside advice to tell it what it has to do.”
“I say it here, Europe will always be willing to pursue transatlantic cooperation, but it will determine its path on the basis of its own interests and values,” Hollande said on Monday.
In November, the EU Parliament passed a resolution to create a defense union. The resolution envisions dedicating 2 percent of member nations’ GDP to defense, as well as establishing EU multinational forces to allow the bloc to act in any situation in which NATO could be unwilling to.
The resolution also asked the European Council to lead the creation of a “common Union defense policy and to provide additional financial resources ensuring its implementation.”