December 18, 2013
NATO Chief Hopes for New EU Defense Commitment
By Bryan McManus, AFP
"We need a Europe that is committed to security, we need a Europe that is outward looking and taking on a global perspective," Rasmussen told AFP in an interview.
The 28 European Union leaders meet Thursday and Friday in the first summit dedicated to defence since 2008, trying to balance tight budgets against the ever rising cost of military hardware.
It is expected they will agree to invest in drones and air-to-air refuelling, key assets which the NATO-led Libya campaign of 2011 showed were lacking in Europe's arsenal and forced it to rely on the United States at key points in the conflict.
"We need a stronger Europe -- a stronger Europe also means a stronger NATO," Rasmussen said. . . .
Duplication is a waste.
"We need complementarity ... for instance, if European nations give priority to developing an air-to-air refuelling capacity there is no reason for NATO to do the same," he said. . . .
Rasmussen said he thought it was legitimate that Washington asks its NATO allies to foot more of the bill.
"Personally I agree. I think Europe could do more and in that respect I welcome" the EU summit.
"I hope the outcome will be a stronger European commitment to investing in necessary military capabilities," he reiterated.