EU needs a stronger defence arm , says Juncker

Commission president says his call is not aimed at weakening

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said the way ahead ‘starts with making sure we spend what is needed on our defence’. Photograph: Reuters

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said the way ahead ‘starts with making sure we spend what is needed on our defence’. Photograph: Reuters

 

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said on Friday EU’s plans to deepen security and defence ties were not aimed at weakening Nato.

“No-NATO is not an option for the EU. It would be a disaster for the EU,” Mr Juncker told a Prague conference during which he made a call for more European defence in the view of the new US president Donald Trump’s lukewarm view of Nato.

Mr Junker also said the way ahead “starts with making sure we spend what is needed on our defence”.

Mr Juncker said the EU needs to “invest more, and invest in a more efficient way”.

EU member states are spending only 1.3 per cent of their overall budget on defence, much less than the United States, Russia and China, Mr Juncker said.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says that after years of debates on defence, “this is the time now to get things done”.

Agencies