EU Lawmakers Endorse Joint European Defense Plans After Trump Victory

European Parliament, Nov. 2, 2012The European Parliament on Tuesday backed an EU plan to deepen coordination of member states’ defense policies and rely less on the United States, driven in part by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s suggestion he may scale back protection of NATO allies.

EU lawmakers voted 369-255 in favor of plans to increase European spending on military missions, as well as developing and sharing assets like helicopters. There were 70 abstentions.

While the parliament’s backing is not binding on European governments, it represents a sign of cross-party political support for the European Union to pursue its most ambitious defense plan in decades after years of spending cuts.

Our Union is not equipped to face overwhelming defense challenges,” said liberal lawmaker Urmas Paet, a former Estonian foreign minister who drew up the resolution put to the parliament in Strasbourg. “Europe continues to rely heavily on NATO capabilities and on U.S. solidarity,” he said….

[T]he U.S. election and broader concerns about Europe’s ability to maintain its citizens’ security at a time of growing instability in North Africa and a more assertive Russia helped garner support from centrists, lawmakers said.

The Americans will not care about security in Europe for the long term,” said German center-right lawmaker Michael Gahler. “The outcome of the U.S. election … makes building up European defense capabilities even more urgent.”

Image: European Parliament, Nov. 2, 2012 (photo: Pablo Borowicz)