EU is ‘incapable’ of pursing common goals on Syria

The EU’s main problem in regards to Syria is “lack of political will,” former MEP Glyn Ford told RT as he discussed NATO Secretary-General Anders Rasmussen’s speech which stated that a military strike option should be kept open.

Rasmussen said on Thursday that the option of carrying out a military strike on Syria must remain available. "I think, irrespective of the outcome of the deliberations in the UN Security Council, the military option will still be on the table," he said at an event organized by the Carnegie Europe think tank.

In response to the comments, former MEP Glyn Ford told RT that European Nations are deeply divided over Syria. Moreover, he said that EU members are “completely incapable of military integration and political integration in terms of actually pursuing common goals.”

RT:Secretary-general of the NATO military alliance, Anders Rasmussen, said today that a strong NATO needs a strong Europe - including strong and united political commitment. Is that something the alliance is lacking at the moment?

Glyn Ford: Absolutely. The problem is not money; the problem is lack of political will to actually work together. The 28 members of the European Union are probably collectively the second largest military spenders in the world. But the impact we have is actually minimal because we are completely incapable of military integration, and secondly political integration, in terms of actually pursuing common goals.

RT:Mr. Rasmussen said he is urging EU nations to step up military spending to strengthen the alliance. How will this go down, considering the financial misery that a lot of members are in?

GF: Firstly, we should be strengthening the military alliance by reducing military spending. The problem is at the moment everybody buying their own. If we actually started pooling operations, imagine even an Anglo-French nuclear deterrent, we could actually save money and be more integrated.

RT:The Head of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, said recently that European states do not have a unified stance on Syria. How deep do you think the divides are?

GF: There clearly are significant divides on Syria, but in a sense, everyone is going in the same direction at very different speeds. And of course there is a reflection of public opinion – very clear in the UK, for example, that Ed Miliband’s stance of opposing an intervention was actually welcomed by a majority of people. We uproar the use of chemical weapons, but [using] military intervention every time people do terrible things is not a way forward.

RT:Do you think that NATO itself is refraining from pushing direct involvement in Syria?

GF: I think a lack of a common approach is holding things back. But what worries me about NATO is that direct involvement used to be a sort of military involvement. If we had a common political line, with NATO sort of standing behind us, then we might be able to get something done. My view of a successful common policy is not one that automatically leads to if you want military intervention.