The EU should accelerate its efforts to build its own military capacities and rely less on America, said Manfred Weber, chairman of the center-right group in the European Parliament.
Although the EU member states have hundreds of thousands of soldiers, they were not able to secure Kabul, Weber. Airport noticed in an interview published on Sunday with the German Funke media group.
“The national armies, of course, remain the pillars of defense. But we have to build European capacities step by step, like a European reaction force with a few thousand men. And we also need a cyber defense brigade, ”said Weber, Chairman of the Group of the European People’s Party – the largest group in the European Parliament.
The EU has already taken some steps towards a common military approach. In 2017, it launched a pact to encourage EU countries to work together on a range of military projects, including maritime surveillance, drone defense and military disaster relief. At the beginning of this year, 14 EU countries joined forces to suggest a 5,000 strong rapid reaction unit.
But the dependence on the US for the evacuation mission in Afghanistan has intensified calls for stronger European military cooperation.
President of the European Council Charles Michel said last week that the development of the EU’s military capabilities is “of paramount importance for the future of Europe”.
However, the EU member states are divided on this issue. Many, particularly Baltic and Eastern nations, fear that the EU’s efforts could duplicate and dilute NATO’s capabilities. Some governments also fear that such moves could further damage delicate US relations
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has repeatedly warned the EU in recent weeks about initiatives that could weaken the alliance.
Weber said a closed European military cooperation would save billions of euros and make the bloc more independent.
“Belarus, Ukraine, North Africa, the Middle East – the Americans are not going to solve these problems for us,” he said.