Defense Council and SummitEU Defense (Doctrine)

Strengthening the capabilities of member states is not contradictory with a strong NATO

The Secretary General on his arrival at the European Council (Credit: NATO)
The Secretary General on his arrival at the European Council (Credit: NATO)

(BRUSSELS2) Welcomed with honors at the European Council - VIP press briefing at the entrance around 16 p.m. and press conference in the room normally reserved for the European Presidency - Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Secretary General of NATO, showed up enthusiastic about the capability decisions taken by the Europeans. “Now is the time to act. If we don't take our defense seriously, North Americans will wonder why we should. » Strengthening the capacities of States is a good thing but is in no way "contradictory with a strong NATO". 

Building capacity: necessary...

"In our missions, we see that there are gaps" he added. For the NATO Secretary General, the urgency is in drone programs, in-flight refueling and heavy transport. “I welcome the growing emphasis on heavy airlift. There are currently 170 heavy lift aircraft. It's a very nice step. » On concrete decisions, he does not involve the Organization but gives his personal opinion. “It is up to the Union and not to NATO to manage these industrial policies. My personal opinion is that one of the ways to make them more competitive is to open up markets. »


... and not contradictory with NATO 

« It is neither the EU nor NATO that will manage or train these means. He makes it clear that he “It is not about creating a European army. NATO will remain the basis of European and transatlantic security. I see no contradiction between strong member states and a strong NATO. We reinforce each other. We must cooperate particularly in our approaches to maritime security and cybersecurity, but also in the training exercises of our partners, who need our support. » And to add: "Duplicates are a luxury you can't afford."

“We need countries like France” 

Asked by B2 about the need for European intervention in the Central African Republic, Rasmussen expressed his « appreciation for France's rapid and determined action in Mali and the Central African Republic. These operations are necessary to fight terrorism, to save lives and, in general, to stabilize our neighbourhood. » And to insist "We need more countries like France, with these capacities and this will to act". He also pointed out that France "will not be alone" in the Central African Republic.

Funding of CSDP missions

As for the financing of CSDP operations, the NATO Secretary General considers that there are three ways of "better use of security and defense resources: increase funding, better use current funding with 'smart defence' and redistribute resources".

Read also: The conclusions (Defence) of the European Council adopted

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).