Published On: Tue, Oct 22nd, 2019

EU Army: NATO insider brutally snubs Verhofstadt’s plan ‘don’t know what they’re talking a | World | News

Mr Verhofstadt tweeted last week that “since Trump became President, the US is not a reliable ally anymore. High time for a European Army to take matters in our own hands.” The plan would see all of Europe’s military centralised under the umbrella of a single EU force.However, despite the support for this in some corners of Brussels, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy Jim Townsend believes this idea wouldn’t suit anyone’s interests as European countries face threats from Russia in Eastern Europe.

Mr Townsend said: “There will never be an EU Army. That’s a lot of people talking who don’t know what they are talking about.”

European Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen has also called for similar plans, although she said she preferred an “army of Europeans” as opposed to “an EU army.”

Mr Townsend, who worked in Barack Obama’s administration and as a key figure in NATO’S European defence policy, has claimed that Europe can be more independent in its defensive capabilities but still needs help from the US.

He said: “The European military capability can take care of things on its own up to a certain point, but the US would have to come in and help out with bigger threats.

“I think a strong European pillar is important. Back in the 1990s, during that time the US felt threatened by perceived challenges to the US by Europe to counter balance the power, there has been a lot of rhetorical flourishes and words exchanged between Paris and Washington.

“But I think those days are behind us. And I think Europe with watching what Trump has been doing, we have had three administrations of rhetoric that made it seem like the US wasn’t as committed to Europe as we were during the Cold War. 

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He said: “They have made strides towards doing that, but there is a limit to what Europe can do as a collective or as individual nations. There is only so much the European countries are willing to do politically to build that military capability.

“Therefore, I don’t think they can build a pillar that can challenge the US one for one, right now it doesn’t have that capability.”

If Mr Townsend’s assessment is correct, the European nations would be unwise to distance themselves from the power of Washington, and Verhofstadt’s ambitions would likely see Europe become more vulnerable should they come into fruition.

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