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Poor NATO-EU Relationship

EU Observer:
Speaking to EU officials in a Berlin conference hosted by the German foreign ministry on Monday (29 January), the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance's secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said it is "astounding" how far from the envisaged "strategic partnership" the two institutions have remained despite attempts to bring them closer.  "Some deliberately want to keep NATO and the EU at a distance from one another. For this school of thought, a closer relationship between NATO and the EU means excessive influence for the USA."
"I do not share European instinctive fears about undue influence of the USA in European affairs anyhow. Europe is sufficiently self-aware – and they know it in Washington too," Mr De Hoop Scheffer argued. The NATO chief added that even the US has overcome original suspicions towards the EU's security and defence policy and does not view the policy as a potential danger or the alliance and the EU as rivals. (...)
The EU's foreign policy chief Javier Solana - himself a head of NATO eight years ago - pointed out that defence spending still lags behind in Europe - in contrast to the US. "Only a handful of member states' defence spending is over 2 percent of gross domestic product," he said, stressing that the US spends twice as much with over 30 percent of budget put aside for research and equipment while Europeans invest less than 20 percent in new technology.
Related articles from DW World:  NATO Head Criticizes Poor Cooperation with EU: "The European Union and NATO could not deal jointly and effectively with a world crisis, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer warned in Berlin."
And: Report: German Pilots Train for Combat in Afghanistan

ENDNOTE: Secretary Condoleezza Rice is i
nterviewed about various issues by Germany's leading news program Tagesthemen (video).


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jr on :

anyone who knows how american personnel is treating europeans understands why europeans aren't eager to cooperate with american forces. period.

Pinkerton on :

How are American personnel treating Europeans? What do you have to back up that statement?

Don S on :

The answer is clear. NATO must expell the US, Canada, and Turkey. Then NATO will be the same as the EU, and automatically it will be able and empowered to deal jointly with any world crisis. Sad, but it's the right thing to do.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

To paraphrase Pres. Bush: "You forgot Norway and Iceland." Norway has some 500 troops in Afghanistan, I believe. At least one fatality and several soldiers were wounded. Iceland has military observers and some staff at the Kabul airport. Still, I got your point. Many in Europe, however, think that the US calls the shots in NATO, because it is always a US general, who heads NATO's military side as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander. The Europeans think that the NATO secretary general (who is always a European) is not all that important. He is just a secretary... Would the US be willing to change that? Would the US let a European general be Supreme Allied Commander? (Then an American can be the NATO secretary general.) I doubt it. Americans don't want to put US troops under the command of a non-American general, while at the same time Americans expect other countries to send thousands of their troops to be led by an American generals, who in the end follows orders from the Pentagon, which has not made such wise decisions lately. Yes, the US has committed about 10,000 troops to NATO in Afghanistan. Those troops are being led by a British general in Afghanistan. That is a noteworthy change. However, that is a fairly recent development. And in the end, NATO's overall strategy is determined by NATO headquarters, i.e. by a US general.

Pat Patterson on :

The US will have a general as head of NATO for the same reason that Agammemnon led the Greeks against Troy across "the wine red seas", he had the most soldiers and ships. When one of the other members of NATO designates the largest number of troops to NATO command then that country will pick the commander.

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