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Old 02-14-2018, 08:40 AM
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Arrow Don’t undermine NATO, U.S. envoy warns EU

Don’t undermine NATO, U.S. envoy warns EU
By: The Associated Press - Posted: February 14, 2018 at 3:30 a.m.
RE: http://www.nwaonline.com/news/2018/f...?news-national

BRUSSELS — The United States is warning the European Union not to use its deepened military cooperation as an excuse to protect Europe’s defense industry, saying such practices could undermine NATO.

The U.S. ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison, said Tuesday that “we do not want this [cooperation] to be a protectionist vehicle for EU.”

She said Washington is “going to watch carefully, because if that becomes the case then it could splinter the strong security alliance that we have.”

EU leaders — 22 of whose nations are also members of the U.S.-led NATO alliance — agreed last year to jointly develop or purchase military equipment like drones. Washington is concerned now that the bidding process might exclude U.S. firms.

EU countries also drew up a list of criteria and binding commitments to set their cooperation in stone, rather than rely on the vaguer promises of the past. On top of that, they agreed to use EU funds to finance Europe’s battle-groups — small, expeditionary forces that can rapidly be deployed to crisis hot spots.

Hutchison called for a transparent contract bidding process.

“We want the Europeans to have capabilities and strength, but not to fence off American products of course, or Norwegian products, or potentially U.K. products,” she said.

NATO and the EU have been trumpeting their cooperation on things such as crisis management, the development of military equipment, maritime security and coping with hybrid warfare and cyberthreats.

They have constantly underlined that their aim is to complement, rather than compete with, each other.

“More European defense spending and capabilities can strengthen NATO and contribute to fairer burden-sharing, but only if the EU’s efforts are developed as a complement and not an alternative to NATO,” alliance Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday, on the eve of a meeting between U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis and his European and Canadian counterparts in Brussels.

A senior Pentagon official also said that Washington is concerned that EU defense cooperation might eventually draw resources away from NATO, which the U.S. and allies like Britain see as Europe’s top security apparatus.

“Thus far we don’t see signs that that is actually going to be a concern,” said the official, Katie Wheelbarger. “But we just want to make sure that there has to be full transparency, so it’s implemented right, so, therefore, future initiatives will be based on a positive example.”
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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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