News / Europe

European Ministers Meet to Discuss Military Defense

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton (R) speaks with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen before a Defense Council meeting at the European Union headquarters in Brussels, 9 Dec 2010
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton (R) speaks with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen before a Defense Council meeting at the European Union headquarters in Brussels, 9 Dec 2010

Multimedia

Audio
Lisa Bryant

European defense ministers are meeting in Brussels to examine how to remain militarily effective, including sharing resources, at a time of fiscal austerity.

Less than a month ago, U.S. President Barack Obama and European leaders agreed to revamp the NATO defense alliance to meet new and daunting challenges in the 21st century. Obama announced the aims of the new, so-called 'strategic concept' during a NATO summit in Lisbon.

"We have reaffirmed the central premise of NATO - our Article 5 on commitment that an attack on one is an attack on all," said president Obama.  "And to ensure this article has meaning, we agreed action in a third area, to modernize our conventional forces and develop the full range of military capabilities that we need to defend our nations."

But doing this takes money - at a time European countries are slashing their defense budgets, sometimes drastically. That's the dilemma European defense ministers are confronting as they meet in Brussels.

Tomas Valasek, director of foreign and defense policy at the London-based Center for European Reform, says Europe's defense cuts pose a big problem for the NATO alliance and Europe's own ability to defend itself.

"This is serious," said Valasek.  "The reality is that all of the assumptions in the new strategic concept which NATO has just approved a few weeks ago in Lisbon depend on all these ideas being resourced."

Deeper defense collaboration among European countries may offer one option of saving money by pooling resources. In Brussels, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is outlining ways EU countries can share military resources.

France and Britain paved the way last month, striking a deal to collaborate on nuclear weapons research, aircraft carriers and training programs, among other areas.

"There's simply no need for the European members of NATO to have all these duplicating commands, educational systems, exercise ranges," added Valasek.  "There's a lot more we can do together and a lot of money to be saved by abolishing duplication in Europe."

Valasek says similar military cooperation is possible among Nordic and Benelux countries. But Valasek, for one, does not expect these regional initiatives to expand to a European-wide project - since military defense is ultimately a very politically sensitive issue.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid