European Parliament study criticizes unilateral defense cuts within NATO and the EU

"The most dramatic defense cuts of more than 30 percent have taken place among the small EU member states"

From Julian Hale, Defense News:  A study commissioned by the Security and Defence Committee of the European Parliament is calling for an European Strategic Defence and Security Review to help countries identify capability improvements and set a target for their cooperative or collective use.

"[It] would be a first step to review how member states’ efforts to meet the demands imposed on them by the financial crisis and the effect of cuts in military expenditures will influence their capabilities within the EU and NATO," said the study, which was presented to MEPs in the Security and Defence Committee on June 14.

Study authors Christian Mölling and Sophie-Charlotte Brune, both researchers at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, argued that such a review would make it possible to draw up "a profile of each member state’s capability strengths and weakness in order to identify areas in which pooling and sharing would make particular sense. . . ."

The report is highly critical of member states for implementing spending cuts without NATO or EU consideration, forgoing coordination when enacting reforms, and knowing little about other member states’ defense reforms and cuts. "Hence, they seem to be willing to accept and even actively work towards reduced levels of common security by cutting capabilities without informing one another of the consequences or gaps that are created by the alliance or EU as a whole," the study concludes.

The authors see pooling and sharing initiatives such as the Franco-British Defence Pact, Nordic Defence Cooperation, the Visegrad Four, the Weimar Triangle or the Franco-German Cooperation as potentially being "the first sign of a new political momentum for bottom-up processes for capability development that draws first lessons from the financial crisis and more sensibly take into account the security repercussions of ill-conceived cuts in capabilities."  (photo: EPA)

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