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Old 11-16-2016, 03:37 PM
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Arrow Dawn of EU Pentagon

Dawn of EU Pentagon
Brussels to build defense agency run by politicians playing soldiers
By VICKIIE OLIPHANT


http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/...n-EU-army-NATO


Although virtually unknown, the European Defense Agency could be a vital element if the EU hopes to forge tighter defense links in the future.

Currently, the organisation has a relatively tiny budget, staff of just 130 people, and is run by diplomats not military chiefs.

But there have been suggestions the EDA could become the European equivalent of the Pentagon - the headquarters of the United States Department of Defence.

While EU officials raised its military budget from £26.2 to £26.6 million on Tuesday, the sum pales in comparison to the Pentagon’s £464.5 million.

But the increase is the first for the agency since 2010, and comes as the EU pushes forward with other efforts to ramp up military spending - including establishing an EU defence fund.

And with the push for more military cooperation, the EDA is expected to gain new relevance new importance and most importantly new powers.

Plans drawn up by Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, will give it a central role in boosting efficiency and increasing the capability of European defence systems.

A spokesperson said: “The European Commission is ready to play an active role in fostering European defence cooperation.

“Europe’s soft power is not enough in the long run without at least some integrated defense capacities.”

Overall military spending in Europe hit £171 billion last year, but only four out of the 28 EU nations met the NATO spending target of 2 per cent of economic output.

Spending, which has long been a contentious issue within the EU, is likely to be all the more important following the US election of Donald Trump - who has repeatedly demanded that Europe bear’s more of the financial cost of NATO.

While Brussels bigwig Jean-Claude Juncker has shamelessly admitted he is determined his plans for the bloc’s own army would still go ahead.

He said: "We need more security in Europe, and I do not mean just the fight against terrorism.

"Talking about security, we need a different way of organizing a European defense.

"We have a lot to thank the Americans for, but they won't look after Europe's security for ever. We have to do this ourselves.

"We need a new approach to building a European security union with the end goal of establishing a European army."

The news comes after Britain declared victory over the EU yesterday, saying the UK had successfully won over enough other countries to block plans for an EU army.

Defense Secretary Michael Fallon claimed there was enough opposition to ensure the plans would be watered down.

But Jorqe Domecq, a Spanish diplomat who serves as the EDA’s chief executive, has blasted comments comparing the agency to the Pentagon - and slapped down any rumors over plans for an EU army.

He claims the EDA’s tiny budget reflects the job it does - which he says is not to supplant national militaries but instead to coordinate the efforts of EU countries to improve security.

He said: “The objective is not to become the Pentagon. We are not seeking a European army and we are not seeking a European Pentagon.”

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/...n-EU-army-NATO
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Last edited by Paparock; 11-16-2016 at 03:40 PM..
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