أخبار العالم / مفكرة الاسلام

Defence spending boost best answer to Trump - EU, NATO officials

By Andrea Shalal | BERLIN

BERLIN Top NATO and European military officials called in Berlin on Wednesday for more military spending to deal with threats to Europe and said that would help address concerns raised by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

During his election campaign, Trump questioned whether the United States should protect allies seen as spending too little on their defence, raising fears he could withdraw funding for NATO at a time of heightened tensions with Russia.

In Brussels on Wednesday, the European Union unveiled its biggest defence funding and research plan in more than a decade to reverse billions in cuts and demonstrate that it wants to pay for its own security.

"The best answer to Mr. Trump is to prove that he's wrong, to prove that Europe is strong enough to defend itself," French Admiral Philippe Coindreau, vice chief of defence staff, said during a panel discussion at the Berlin Security Conference.

"I think European nations should increase their defence budgets."

Trump's comments have unsettled many in Europe. But NATO said he spoke with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg earlier this month and they agreed on the "enduring importance" of the Western alliance.

Trump has also spoken twice with British Prime Minister Theresa May and touched on the importance of NATO for European and U.S. security, Peter Watkins, director of general security policy for the British Ministry of Defence, told the conference.

Watkins said he was "pretty confident" that Trump would make a clear statement about his commitment to the NATO alliance.

Czech General Petr Pavel, who heads the NATO military committee, said U.S. demands for higher military spending were nothing new.

Pavel said it was more important to focus on tangible improvements in military capabilities than fixate on the 2 percent target, which he said was "too far and too big" for many NATO members to meet anytime soon.

NATO's European members cut defence spending to historic lows after the break-up of the Soviet Union a quarter of a century ago, leaving the United States to make up around three-quarters of the alliance's military expenditure.

Spending has increased in recent years after Russia's annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine, the growing threat of Islamist attacks and large migrant flows. However, only Britain, Poland, Greece and Estonia meet a NATO goal of spending at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on defence.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

Next In World News

Trump says will back away from business to focus on White House

NEW YORK U.S. President-elect Donald Trump vowed on Wednesday to step back from running his global business empire to avoid conflicts of interest, as concern over his dual role mounts ahead of the Republican's inauguration on Jan. 20.

Syrian rebels vow to resist army advances in Aleppo

BEIRUT Syrian rebels on Wednesday vowed to fight on in east Aleppo in the face of sudden government advances that have cut the area held by the opposition by a third in recent days and brought insurgents in the city to the brink of a catastrophic defeat.

Germany's Merkel says will work with Trump on climate policy

BERLIN Germany's Angela Merkel said on Wednesday she would try to work on climate policy with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who has said he may pull out of a landmark international accord to fight global warming.

MORE FROM REUTERS

Sponsored Content

From Around the Web Promoted by Taboola

اشترك فى النشرة البريدية لتحصل على اهم الاخبار بمجرد نشرها

تابعنا على مواقع التواصل الاجتماعى

قد تقرأ أيضا