Nato chief warns Europe over defence budgets

Press Conference by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, February 7, 2011.

From James Blitz, the Financial Times:  Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Nato’s secretary-general, has issued a stark warning that European nations “cannot afford to get out of the security business” by slashing national defence budgets in order to help meet fiscal deficit targets.

As US and Nato officials become increasingly concerned by the decline in European military spending, Mr Fogh Rasmussen warned that too many people in Europe were coming up with “naive” and “dangerous” suggestions that the continent should engage in humanitarian projects, leaving the US to do the hard fighting in conflict situations.

Instead, he said that European nations needed to boost their presence in the Nato family, pooling capabilities and co-ordinating policies to develop what he called “smart defence”.

At a press conference in Brussels on Monday, Mr Fogh Rasmussen listed a striking set of figures on European defence spending, echoing remarks he made in a speech at the Munich Security Conference at the weekend. (photo: NATO)

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