EC President Michel Says 2022 Should Be Year of European Defense
(Bloomberg) -- European Council President Charles Michel said 2022 should be the year of European defense as the bloc toughens its security strategy following the recent diplomatic crisis between the U.S. and France.
Ahead of a European Council meeting in March that’s expected to be dedicated to the bloc’s defense strategy, the body will lead a strategic debate on the place of the European Union in the world, Michel said in a speech in Aachen, Germany, on Saturday.
“We want less dependence, and more influence, in order to be stronger in the world,” Michel said, according to a copy of his prepared remarks.
The bloc plans to adopt a new partnership declaration with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which has started an evaluation of its strategic concept ahead of a summit planned for next year.
“Strengthening European defense is strengthening” NATO, Michel said. “Stronger allies make stronger alliances”.
The comments come weeks after a spat between France and the U.S. over a canceled $65 billion submarine contract with Australia that saw France recall its ambassadors to the Washington and Canberra for the first time.
The row led France’s President Emmanuel Macron to promote what some call a “Europe First” strategy that aims to make the EU more independent from Washington on matters of defense and sensitive technologies.
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