EU Summit Participants Argue about Relations with the US and NATO

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At an informal meeting of EU leaders in Slovenia, the French President called for strengthening the independence and sovereignty of Europe at the technological, financial and defense levels. Representatives of Eastern Europe spoke out against it. At the first EU summit following the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan, the heads of state and government of European countries discussed the future of relations with the United States. French President Emmanuel Macron called on the European Union to “strengthen its independence and sovereignty”. “We must create a basis for a stronger Europe at the technological, industrial, financial and defense levels,” he said on Tuesday evening, October 5, on the first day of an informal meeting in the Slovenian city of Brdo near Kranj. His demand was opposed by the leaders of the Eastern European and Baltic states, who consider the United States and NATO to be the guarantors of security with respect to Russia. In their opinion, it is necessary to begin the process of redefining the role of NATO, including, among others, Eastern Europe and France. The head of the European Council called for expanding the EU's autonomy in the fields of economy and defense In turn, the head of the European Council, Charles Michel, pointed out that it is about the issue of the EU's influence in the international arena and the protection of its values and interests. He stressed the need to expand the EU's ability to act autonomously in the economy and defense. It is necessary to “reduce dependence and achieve sustainability in such areas as energy, digital technologies, cybersecurity, industrial policy, trade and strengthening the single market.” Michel said that the European Council will “regularly revise these topics, starting in October.” At the same time, he stressed the commitment to cooperation with allies and partners, in particular the United States and NATO, which is the cornerstone of European security. Stoltenberg criticized the plans of the Europeans Meanwhile, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg questioned the feasibility of creating a purely European community in the field of defense. The head of the alliance does not believe in the need to create a structure outside of NATO that would compete with it or duplicate it, he said on the same day in Washington. According to him, he understands the disappointment of France having lost a major defense contract with Australia after the country concluded an agreement with the United States and Great Britain, but the North Atlantic Alliance is still “the foundation of European security, as well as the security of North America.” Any attempt to “weaken the transatlantic community by creating new structures” will not only weaken NATO, but also “fracture Europe”, he said, speaking at a conference at Georgetown University. The scandal surrounding the AUKUS Defense Union In mid-September, the United States, Great Britain and Australia announced the creation of a new defense alliance in the Indo-Pacific region called AUKUS. As part of the pact, American technologies for the construction of nuclear submarines, as well as developments in the field of cyber defense, applied artificial intelligence and underwater capacity building will be transferred to Canberra. The decision drew sharp criticism from France and the EU, since Australia broke the already signed contract with Paris on the supply of submarines worth 56 billion euros. France recalled its ambassadors from the United States and Australia for consultations, and the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, called the actions of the allies unacceptable towards France. DW