Spain, Portugal and Italy have joined the calls from Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to push forward proposals for a European defence policy. The three countries' defence ministers said the EU needed a more strategic division of investments by military sector between member states.
The ministers addressed the need for a common European defence strategy and redefinition of the relationship between the EU and Nato on that matter.
Italy’s Mario Mauro argued that a differentiation of the roles of each of the two organisations would make them both more effective in maintaining security on the world stage.
Currently, the 28 member states spend more on defence than Russia, China and Japan combined, but while these three countries have increased their defence budgets by more than 100% over the last ten years, EU States have been progressively cutting them down.
According to Mauro, the lack of a common European policy to maximise defence resources from each country, decrease spending, and avoid the duplication of efforts and capabilities are the biggest handicap for Europe in comparison with Asia. Better coordination would also allow more balanced spending and reallocation of funds to areas such as research and employment, he said.
While 20 years ago, Eastern Europe was a sensitive region, today the Middle East and North Africa represent the biggest instability risk in Europe’s immediate surroundings.
“Our proximity to these nations has increased our responsibility to promote a joint proposal setting out our countries’ priorities for the upcoming European Council in December”, said Mauro. The three Ministers are convinced that the military sector could boost the European economy, through technologies available to civil industries.