Czech President: EU Must Independently Strengthen European Component of NATO
The President of the Czech Republic, Petr Pavel, has stated that Europe should reduce its dependence on the United States and bolster its own European defense within NATO. His views may reflect certain trends in European politics and security, as reported by Politico.
According to Petr Pavel, reducing dependence on the United States may involve developing European defense and security capabilities and increasing defense funding within the framework of NATO. This could be a significant step in ensuring greater independence for Europe in the realm of security and defense.
"The leading role of NATO as a security provider should no longer mean that Europe neglects its defense commitments. Reducing dependence on the United States and developing European strategic capabilities should be seen as our contribution to the transatlantic partnership," Pavel said.
The President of the Czech Republic also believes that European countries are likely to exceed the 2% of GDP defense spending target agreed upon by NATO countries. At the NATO summit in Vilnius in July, member countries agreed that defense spending at 2% of GDP should be considered a floor, not a ceiling.
"We confirm that in many cases, expenditures exceeding 2% of GDP will be needed," stated the joint communique at the time.
Currently, only about a third of NATO member countries out of 31 participants have reached or come close to meeting the 2% of GDP target for defense spending.
In his speech, Pavel also voiced support for EU expansion, emphasizing that it should not be postponed until a hypothetical future moment when candidates fully meet European Union standards. He also underscored the importance of Western countries countering Russian influence in Africa.
Petr Pavel, a former general and high-ranking official in NATO, assumed the presidency of the Czech Republic at the beginning of 2023. Given his extensive experience as a former general and NATO official, his views could be crucial in addressing strategic security and defense issues in Europe.
It's worth noting that in July, the Czech parliament approved an agreement on defense cooperation with the United States. The approximately forty-page document discusses various issues related to the potential presence of American soldiers in the Czech Republic or cooperation between American and Czech armed forces on Czech territory.