Sunday, October 16, 2016

NATO head backs stronger European defence

NATO head backs stronger European defence: NATO head Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Friday European efforts for a more closely integrated defence policy, boosted since Britain's vote to leave the EU, but warned against trying to create "an alternative" to the North Atlantic Alliance.

"Stronger European defence will be good for the European Union, it will be good for Europe and will be good for NATO," he said at a press conference with Italian foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni in Rome.

Stoltenberg said enhanced cooperation between European nations could only be positive and urged countries to increase defence spending because "we live in a more dangerous world with new challenges and new threats and we have to respond and adapt".

But he said "we must make sure to avoid duplication with NATO structures and that what Europe does is complementary to NATO".

"I'm very much assured by the strong statements from minister Gentiloni and many other European leaders that this is not about establishing something that is an alternative to NATO," he added.