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France, Germany say EU must have ‘strategic autonomy’ in response to security threats

EU states need to ensure they have the “strategic autonomy” to respond to security threats, even while bolstering commitments to NATO, the French and German defense ministers said Friday. “When we are threatened in our own neighborhood, particularly to the south, we have to be able to respond, even when the US or the [NATO] alliance would like to be less implicated,” French defense chief Florence Parly said at the Munich Security Conference. Parly added EU nations must be ready to act “without asking the US to come to our aid,” AFP reported. Her German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen agreed that building up Europe’s military autonomy was compatible with shoring up the NATO alliance, adding that the goal was “to stay trans-Atlantic.”