EU army will weaken Nato says deputy foreign minister

The creation of an EU army will “weaken” the armies of Nato’s member states, Poland’s deputy foreign minister said on Thursday.

Pawel Jablonski was speaking following statements by a senior EU official, cited by the Reuters agency, on the formation of an EU military force.

Reuters reported that 14 EU countries, including Germany and France, had proposed the creation of common armed forces for rapid reaction, which could intervene in an international crisis at an early stage.

According to these countries, the EU should create a brigade numbering 5,000 soldiers equipped with maritime capabilities and aircraft to assist democratic foreign governments in need of urgent help.

Reuters said the idea would be discussed at a Thursday meeting chaired by High Representative of the European Union Josep Borrell.

Jablonski was asked on public radio on Thursday whether the creation of an EU force would be a means by which to halt Russia's aggressive policy. "Unfortunately, that is a manifestation of wishful thinking," he replied.

"In theory it is not the worst idea, for us to have a strong European army," Jablosnksi continued. "But the strong defence capabilities of Europe are based primarily on strong national armies, which within the framework of Nato create an alliance. If we lack the capacity to finance defence at the level of 2 percent of GDP, then creating another unit, a European army next to Nato, is a weakening of the member states' armies."

Mariusz Blaszczak, Poland’s defence minister, also commented on the topic saying that Poland has consistently underscored that the EU and its defence capabilities should be consistent with Nato.

"We do not want the EU to rival Nato in defence matters," he said. "That is a principle we have adhered to consistently."