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15 Jul, 2020 15:38

‘Nothing new’ in saying EU can’t rely on American defense, but it is still needed – Austria’s ex-foreign minister to RT

‘Nothing new’ in saying EU can’t rely on American defense, but it is still needed – Austria’s ex-foreign minister to RT

European countries have a long history of feuding with the US on the issues of defense and security, author and former Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl told RT. But Europe still needs Washington’s help, she said.

Berlin growing more annoyed with the US is “nothing new,” Kneissl explained. She recalled how Trump blasted his European allies for not spending enough on defense at the contentious 2018 NATO summit in Brussels. A decade earlier, there were “harsh debates” among European states over whether to join an American-led invasion of Iraq, the diplomat said.

On Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters that it is “no longer self-evident” that the US would defend the EU, and the EU must find “the right answer” to that. Merkel made her remarks several weeks after Trump unexpectedly promised to withdraw nearly 10,000 US troops from Germany, while accusing Berlin of not compensating Washington enough for protection.

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The EU countries have “very different approaches” on dealing with the US, which makes it difficult to form a consolidated position, Kneissl noted.

“Twenty-seven [EU member states] around the table [make it] very difficult to shape a common decision that is then really implemented in the way it was envisaged,” she said.

At the same time, the EU still needs American military assistance, the diplomat stressed, noting a “very broad scope of cooperation” between Europe and the US.

We can discuss in an academic, political environment the need for a European army or a European pillar of NATO… But as somebody who has been teaching at military academies to officers and high-ranking chiefs of staff, I do know about the situation we have in terms of equipment and in terms of moral image inside the various countries.

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