EU creates defense and space branch "to complement NATO"

EU creates defense and space branch "to complement NATO"
# 10 September 2019 20:29 (UTC +04:00)

The European Union will create a new defence and space arm to help fund, develop and deploy armed forces, the bloc’s incoming chief executive said on Tuesday, naming an ally of French President Emmanuel Macron for the role, APA reports citing Reuters.

The creation of a defence branch in the European Commission, long resisted by Britain, is an attempt by President-elect Ursula von der Leyen to stem a decline in EU influence, as it faces heavy U.S. pressure to do more for its own security.

“The European Union will never be a military alliance,” von der Leyen said. “But the European Union member states have been told many times ... that common procurement for their armed forces is of utmost importance,” she told a news conference.

Von der Leyen, a former German defence minister, said the plans would benefit the U.S.-led NATO alliance to which many EU states belong, adding: “NATO will always be (our) collective defence.”

Sylvie Goulard, a former long-time EU lawmaker currently at France’s central bank, will be responsible for the new directorate general, as commissioner for industrial policy.

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