Comments made by Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson last week to the Royal Institute of Foreign Affairs suggesting that Britain would not seek to obstruct EU based efforts to develop closer defence co-operation between themselves may well be sensible politically but they beg more questions that the UK Government must also be prepared to answer including how such move by the EU might damage the NATO alliance and if they did, what would Her Majesty's Government propose to do about it? Put simply, remarks made by Mr. Johnson last Friday might have been better not said.
Independent commentator Howard Wheeldon reflects that Mr. Johnson's remarks came just a few days ahead of the two-day planned meeting of NATO Foreign Ministers in Brussels today at which he is expected to preach that Europe's 25 other members of NATO must spend more on defence. Clearly, in the wake of in this case, well-made remarks by US president-elect Donald Trump, that European members of NATO need to take a bigger share of the cost of NATO and the inference from this that America is no longer prepared to pay 70% of alliance costs means that Europe will have no alternative but to increase spending on defence. This also suggests to me that while attaining the minimum 2% spend of GDP on defence that NATO members agreed to work toward back in September 2014 must not be allowed to be fudged and that while 2% of GDP should in my view be a marker for smaller members states to achieve others need to spend at least 3% of GDP on defence.
Tuesday, 06 December 2016 15:32