Thu, Oct 13, 2005 - Page 6 News List

EU and NATO must pool their defense resources: generals


Two retired NATO generals prepared to issue a warning yesterday that Europe may be unable to meet mounting security risks like international terrorism unless it reverses a failure to pool its defenses, a newspaper reported.

General Joseph Ralston, the retired US officer who headed NATO until 2003, and retired General Klaus Naumann, Germany's former chief of defense and head of NATO's military committee, argue that European leaders have "lacked the political will" to improve military capabilities, the Financial Times reported.

Their conclusions in a 97-page study were to be presented yesterday to EU and NATO leaders in Brussels.

"Failure to meaningfully improve Europe's collective defense capabilities in the coming years would have profoundly negative impacts on the ability of European countries to protect their interests, the viability of NATO as an alliance and the ability of European countries to partner in any meaningful way with the US," according to the report, a copy of which was obtained by the FT.

The report was a year in the making, involving consultation with former defense chiefs of almost all European powers, the FT said. It said the two generals will brief European and US officials in the coming weeks.

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