The EU cannot protect Europe without the United States, and therefore US security guarantees, the presence of its troops on the continent, and nuclear deterrence measures are urgently needed. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg expressed this opinion in an interview published on Tuesday with Funke’s German media group.
“The fact is that the European Union cannot protect Europe. After “Brexit” (the UK’s exit from the EU), 80% of the defense spending of NATO States will fall on non-EU countries,” the Secretary-General said. “US security guarantees, nuclear deterrence, and the presence of US troops are necessary to protect Europe,” he said. Stoltenberg acknowledged that the Europeans should invest more in their own defense, but, in his opinion, these efforts can never replace the transatlantic Alliance.
“Any attempt to weaken the link between North America and Europe will weaken not only NATO but also split Europe,” Stoltenberg warned. Moreover, according to him, if the United States gets the impression that the EU can ensure its own security alone, then a new problem will arise, namely, “political forces in the United States that oppose multilateralism and transatlantic cooperation, use this as an excuse to reduce their obligations.”
The NATO Secretary-General expects that the United States and under President Joseph Biden will maintain pressure on the EU to increase defense spending. He noted that Donald Trump has “his own style” of expressing opinions and expectations. “But I am sure that President-elect Biden has expressed the same expectations to European partners. It will send an obvious message that they must do more as the world becomes more dangerous,” Stoltenberg said.