Thursday

21st Sep 2017

Military chief: EU becoming 'marginal' in Asia-centric world

  • Chinese soldiers - the changing world order is leaving EU countries behind (Photo: Patrick Rodwell)

EU countries must share military resources or become "marginal" powers on the world stage, a Swedish general has said.

Hakan Syren issued the warning after chairing a regular meeting of EU military commanders in Brussels on Wednesday (31 October).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"We have shrinking budgets and we have changing responsibilities. It was shown in the Libya conflict ... I would say there's a new world out there," he told press.

"The centre of gravity is moving from our continent to the Far East and we must come up with a long-term response to make sure we are not marginalised," he added.

Syren's remarks echo US President Barack Obama last year when he said the end of the Cold War and the rise of China mark the beginning of a "Pacific century."

They also come after former US defence chief Robert Gates said EU countries could not have toppled Libya's Muammar Gaddafi - "a poorly armed regime in a sparsely populated country" - without American help.

For his part, Syren said "pooling and sharing" - an EU agreement on military resources - has to be "taken to the next level" in 2013 as a response.

He noted the pooling pact has spawned 15 projects over the past two and half years.

But he added: "There are several, over 12, manufacturers of armoured vehicles [in the EU]. Do we need that? We are buying four different types of combat aircraft right now. Do we need that? Do we have the money for that?"

He identified joint EU war schools, joint equipment maintenance and military manoeuvres as future areas for co-operation.

He also referred to joint EU operations in Somalia and Uganda as a "success."

But he noted that a new operation in Mali will have to be tailor-made rather than using Somalia as a model.

EU officials earlier this week told Reuters member states are planning to send 200-or-so military experts to Mali and another 200 soldiers to keep them safe.

The EU force will try to get Mali's army in shape to attack Tuareg tribes in the north of the country.

EU countries fear the Tuareg-controlled territory of Azawad is becoming a base for Islamist extremists on the model of Afghanistan.

Opinion

Old Europe, New China

How will the new Beijing approach Europe, asks Dan Steinbock.

EU takes time to ponder tax on tech giants

The EU commission published a paper that outlined several options on how to increase tax income from internet companies' activities, but fell short of proposing legislation.

EU hopes for clarity on Brexit payments

May to give first major speech on Brexit since notifying EU that the UK was leaving. Negotiations have stalled, but she could revive them with a financial offer.

News in Brief

  1. Le Pen's right-hand man leaves National Front
  2. Spanish PM calls on Catalan leaders to 'stop escalation'
  3. Dutch government to appeal Srebrenica ruling
  4. Verhofstadt: Northern Ireland could stay in single market
  5. Catalan leader decries Spanish government intervention
  6. Hungary set for fresh campaign against public enemy Soros
  7. Iceland's PM leads in polls ahead of October elections
  8. Erdogan demands Iraqi Kurds cancel referendum

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUGermany Stands Ready to Deepen Cooperation With China
  2. World VisionFirst Ever Young People Consultation to Discuss the Much Needed Peace in Europe
  3. European Jewish CongressGermany First Country to Adopt Working Definition of Antisemitism
  4. EU2017EEFour Tax Initiatives to Modernise the EU's Tax System
  5. Dialogue PlatformResponsibility in Practice: Gulen & Islamic Thought
  6. Counter BalanceHuman Rights Concerns Over EIB Loan to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline Project
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina Leads the Global Clean Energy Transition
  8. CES - Silicones EuropeFrom Baking Moulds to Oven Mitts, Silicones Are a Key Ingredient in Kitchens
  9. Martens CentreFor a New Europeanism: How to Put the Motto "Unity in Diversity" Into Practice
  10. Access MBAGet Ahead With an MBA Degree. Top MBA Event in Brussels
  11. Idealist QuarterlyIdealist Quarterly Event: Building Fearless Democracies With Gerald Hensel
  12. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Urges Bigger Global Role for Emerging Economies