EU defense ministers meet to boost military cooperation amid tightening budget

21:27, December 09, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

European Union (EU) defense ministers met here Thursday to strengthen military cooperation and share capabilities among their countries as the ongoing financial crisis has squeezed military budgets of some EU members.

The meeting was the first-ever formal gathering of EU defense ministers, who had only met in informal sessions or in formal ones together with their foreign counterparts.

Since the Lisbon Treaty took effect last December, defense ministers have called for their own formal sessions.

At Thursday's session, the EU defense ministers would mainly focus on greater pooling and sharing in the field of military capabilities amid mounting financial pressure.

A senior EU official told reporters on Wednesday that due to the finance crisis, "you have to do with less resources, you have to do better and you have to cooperate."

Since the beginning of this year, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece and Bulgaria and other EU members have announced or are planning to cut military expenditures.

The cuts in military spending have raised serious concerns over the development of defense capabilities of EU members.

However, the impact of the shrinking military budgets has forced EU countries to cooperate and give a boost to the EU's Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP), instead of the institutional improvements stipulated in the Lisbon Treaty.

At the informal meeting in Ghent of western Belgium last September, EU defense ministers recognized the need to further cooperation, by increasing pooling and sharing in the fields of training, logistics, medical affairs, transport, information and communication, to reduce the impact of budget cuts.

Recently, Germany and Sweden issued a joint paper to urge EU countries to carry out a "systematic analysis of military capabilities and support structures" to identify areas of potential cooperation.

The paper suggested capabilities such as combat forces, fighter planes, warships, and intelligence should remain strictly sovereign of EU member states.

Areas that could be pooled together include personnel training, strategic airlifts and logistics capabilities, it says, adding that military academies, pilot training and maritime surveillance could be areas where nations decide to share tasks and roles.

The recent France-Britain defense cooperation agreement would also be a focus of the meeting.

In November, France and Britain signed a historical military cooperation agreement to share unclear weapons research, pool aircraft carriers, and train joint expeditionary forces.

However, the bilateral agreement driven by financial pressure has raised controversy over its influence on the CSDP.

Source: Xinhua

(Editor:张茜)

  • Do you have anything to say?

双语词典
dictionary

  
Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Five-month-old twin girls, An An (left) and Xin Xin, meaning safe and relieved in Chinese and carrying the good wishes of their parents, leave a Shanghai hospital yesterday, less than four weeks after a September 5 surgery to separate the conjoined twins from Zhejiang Province. They were born connected at the liver, chest bone and heart sac, the covering around the heart. Though they shared one liver and used one pericardium, they have their own hearts.
  • Models present cheongsams designed by Chen Yanqin during a fashion show in Yantai, east China's Shandong Province, Sept. 30, 2011. More than 100 creations of cheongsams, a traditional Chinese women's dress also known as mandarin gown or Qipao, were displayed here Friday. (Xinhua/Li Mingfang)
  • Citizens watch fireworks exploding over the Jingtian Lake during a music firework show in Shanghai, east China, Sept. 30, 2011, on the eve of the National Day. (Xinhua/Pei Xin)
  • A member of the media takes a look at a Bluecar, an electric-powered car made by French company Bollore, at a media presentation in Vaucresson, west of Paris, yesterday. The Bluecars have a range of 250 kilometers in urban use and a maximum speed of 130km per hour, and will be available to rent in the streets of Paris under the name of Autolib. The four-seater Bluecars will be positioned at 1,200 stations in the French capital, where customers can pick them up and drop them off, and will be available around the clock. Users must have a valid driver's license and pay a subscription fee to borrow one of the vehicles.
  • Tourists watch a performance about an ancient court trial. (Photo/Xinhua)
  • U.S. President Barack Obama (4th L, front) shakes hands with outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen (1st R, front) as Vice President Joe Biden (3rd L, front), Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (2nd L, front), and Army General Martin Dempsey (1st L, front) look on during the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Change of Responsibility Ceremony at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, the United States, Sept. 30, 2011. Army General Martin Dempsey succeeded Mike Mullen to become the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff on Friday. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)
Hot Forum Discussion