Friday

19th Aug 2022

Nato wants EU countries to buy more drones

  • Rasmussen also said Nato and the EU might help to build a new Libyan army in a precedent for other north African countries (Photo: nato.int)

Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen wants EU countries to buy more drones, refuelling planes and naval radars.

The head of the military alliance is expected to call for the measures at a speech in the Carnegie Europe foundation in Brussels on Thursday (19 September).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"I believe that European nations can, and should, do more, to match America's commitment … [and] help to rebalance Nato," he aims to say.

"I would like to see European allies playing their part to acquire more drones to improve surveillance. More large transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft to enhance their ability to deploy on operations. And more upgraded radars on their ships so they can be integrated into our Nato missile defence," he plans to add.

Looking ahead to an EU summit on defence in December, he also plans to endorse European Commission ideas on how to create "a strong European defence industrial base."

He is to say "the European defence industry remains too national and too fragmented."

He also aims to urge EU leaders to "demonstrate strong political commitment" to spend more on defence when their economies recover from the crisis and "to assume more security responsibilities in Europe's neighbourhood."

The EU commission in July published a draft blueprint for EU defence co-operation.

It proposed a series of actions, including the creation of EU-level certification standards for military equipment, such as chemical and nuclear detection technology, airworthiness of aircraft and data encryption instruments.

It aims to crack down on state aid and other market distortions in the sector.

It intends to give more EU money to train defence sector workers and to fund research into military technology.

It wants EU countries to pool buying of military and commercial satellite technology.

It is also keen to launch an assessment of whether some kinds of assets, especially "dual-use" technology, which can be used in civilian or military missions, should be "directly purchased, owned and operated by the Union."

The commission paper said EU countries' total defence budgets have gone from €251 billion a year to €194 billion since 2001, while total EU military R&D spending is just €9 billion, seven times less than the US.

It noted that 80 percent of current defence spending is done at national level.

It also said the future of the 1.36 million people who work in member states' military-related companies is at risk unless Europe makes the sector more competitive.

Like Rasmussen, it noted that "the US is rebalancing its strategic focus towards Asia."

It added: "Europe must be able to decide and to act without depending on the capabilities of third parties. Security of supply, access to critical technologies and operational sovereignty are therefore crucial."

Opinion

EU should press Obama on drone secrecy

As EU officials and Obama knuckle down on Russia, the summit should not forget another issue: US drone killings, which claimed more than 2,500 lives since Obama took office.

No breakthrough in EU-hosted Kosovo/Serbia talks

Serbia's president Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovo's prime minster Albin Kurti met in Brussels with the EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, in the hopes of finding a solution the recent spike in tensions between the two sides.

Opinion

Could the central Asian 'stan' states turn away from Moscow?

The former Soviet states of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan have retained close ties with Russia since 1989. Yet this consensus may be shifting. At the UN, none of them supported Russia in the resolution condemning the Ukraine invasion.

Column

Is this strange summer a moment of change?

It is a strange, strange summer. The war in Ukraine continues, 60 percent of Europe is in danger of drought, and Covid is still around and could rebound in the autumn. At the same time, everyone is desperate for normalcy.

News in Brief

  1. China joins Russian military exercises in Vostok
  2. Ukraine nuclear plant damage would be 'suicide', says UN chief
  3. Denmark to invest €5.5bn in new warships
  4. German economy stagnates, finance ministry says
  5. Syria received stolen grain, says Ukraine envoy
  6. Truss still leads in next UK PM polling
  7. UN chief meets Zelensky and Erdogan over grain exports
  8. Fighting stalls ahead of UN visit, Ukraine says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  4. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis

Latest News

  1. European inflation hits 25-year high, driven by energy spike
  2. No breakthrough in EU-hosted Kosovo/Serbia talks
  3. Letter to the Editor: Rosatom responds on Zaporizhzhia
  4. Could the central Asian 'stan' states turn away from Moscow?
  5. Serbia expects difficult talks with Kosovo at EU meeting
  6. How scary is threat to Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant?
  7. Slovakia's government stares into the abyss
  8. Finland restricts Russian tourist visas

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us