Borrell Disagrees With NATO Chief on EU's Strategic Autonomy

© AP Photo / Francisco SecoEuropean Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell addresses a joint online press conference with European Commissioner for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova following a weekly College of Commissioners meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, June 10, 2020
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell addresses a joint online press conference with European Commissioner for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova following a weekly College of Commissioners meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, June 10, 2020 - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.09.2021
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The importance of Europe's strategic autonomy is indisputable, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said, disagreeing with the NATO Secretary-General on this issue.
During an interview with the French Le Monde newspaper, Borrell was asked to respond to Jens Stoltenberg's comment that the development of an autonomous defence system in Europe would negatively affect its own unity and that of the military alliance.
"I appreciate the concerns of Mr Stoltenberg about the unity of Europeans, but he is not responsible for developing a common defence and security policy of the EU... Strategic autonomy is not an alternative to NATO, and NATO does not have an alternative due to the role it plays in the territorial defense of Europe," Borrell told the reporter.
The EU official also said that NATO will not make the European Union less vulnerable as far as military potential.
"How can the fact that Europeans will become stronger tomorrow weaken the alliance? The other way around — a stronger Europe, in military terms, meets the interests of NATO and the US. Such a Europe should take on responsibility for its interests and defend them. And not only in military terms, as what has just happened [in Afghanistan] also showed the limits of military power. The world's strongest army with the help of others failed to achieve victory in one of the poorest countries on the planet," Borrell stated.
A joint defence program has been discussed by EU members for several years. The Strategic Compass program is planned to incorporate the common goals and interests of the European nations in security and defence. It is expected to be adopted by March 2022, according to European Council President Charles Michel.
The issue of the strategic autonomy of the bloc, including the creation of a European quick-reaction force, has been raised again amid the hectic withdrawal from Afghanistan.
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