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Beyond NATO: Proposed Defense Union Should Safeguard European, not US, Interests

© AP Photo / Alik KepliczFlags wave in front of soldiers who take positions with their army vehicles during the NATO Noble Jump exercise on a training range near Swietoszow Zagan, Poland. file photo
Flags wave in front of soldiers who take positions with their army vehicles during the NATO Noble Jump exercise on a training range near Swietoszow Zagan, Poland. file photo - Sputnik International
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The countries of the EU should distance themselves from NATO when creating the newly conceived 'Defense Schengen', retired general Didier Tauzin, a presidential candidate for the 2017 elections in France, told Sputnik.

An undated US Navy picture shows what appears to be a Russian Sukhoi SU-24 attack aircraft making a very low pass close to the U.S. guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea. - Sputnik International
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In an interview with Sputnik, retired general Didier Tauzin, a presidential candidate for the 2017 elections in France who left the army after 31 years of service, urged the countries of the EU to distance themselves from NATO when forming the proposed Defense Union.

The interview came after the French daily Le Monde published an article by the Italian Defense and Foreign Affairs Ministers, Roberta Pinotti and Paolo Gentiloni, who called for launching a new project – "a kind of a Defense Union", or a "Defense Schengen."

"Importantly, such a defense system should be in line with European interests, not necessarily American ones. It is clear that Washington and European countries do not share the same interests in the world," Tauzin said.

He added that he "strongly adheres to the idea of European defense, but under certain conditions," which he said should include the possibility of EU countries distancing themselves from NATO when dealing with the task.

"It is necessary to develop a common strategy, find a kind of unified European sovereignty and formulate common goals. If implemented, the initiative of the Defense Schengen may become the European pillar of NATO. In this case, we will only strengthen NATO, which currently leads us to war," he pointed out.

Tauzin said that the new structure should not replace NATO, but added that the alliance is essentially a throwback to the era of the Cold War against the Soviet Union, which no longer exists.

According to him, "Russia is no longer an enemy of Europe and it is necessary to drastically change the structure by including Russia and other countries in it to resolve modern challenges."

As for NATO, it should be transformed into an organization for promoting world peace, and not vice versa, he said.

In their article in Le Monde, the Italian Ministers said that the outcome of the British referendum on withdrawing from the EU and the recent terror attacks in Europe should prompt the EU member states to take effective security measures, including in the defense sector.

Demonstrators take part in a protest titled There is no Peace with NATO in front of the venue of the 51st Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, southern Germany (File) - Sputnik International
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As for a Defense Schengen, the aim of the initiative will not be the creation of a "European Army," but of a "European Multinational Force."

According to them, the force will include a single command and budget and it will not compete with NATO, but rather supplement the alliance.

During the latest NATO summit in Poland in July, the alliance agreed to deploy four battalions to Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland. Its member states also decided to launch a European missile defense shield and bolster their presence in the Black Sea.

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