EU should not compete with Nato, says Polish MoD

Błaszczak (L) stressed that all participants had agreed that the EU should be aware of threats coming from the east and south, and that the threats posed by Russia's new imperial politics were real. John Thys/PAP/EPA

EU should not compete against Nato, the Polish defence minister has said and added that most EU countries share this opinion.

Minister Mariusz Błaszczak told a press briefing in Brussels on Thursday, after a meeting of EU defence ministers, that there is no need to build new military structures. "The point is to use the existing ones and to jointly undertake all actions with Nato," he said.

According to the Polish defence minister, it would be bad if EU military structures were to be formed besides Nato units. "Rivalry between the EU and Nato would be wrong," he stated and added that this point of view has been shared by most countries.

The ministers discussed the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in the area of security and defence policy. It was established by the Council of the EU in December 2017. It offers a legal framework to jointly plan, develop and invest in shared capability projects, and enhance the operational readiness and contribution of armed forces.

"I am glad that the capabilities, which belong to Nato, are being supplemented by EU projects," Błaszczak said, adding that Poland was of the opinion that non-EU countries should also be able to join PESCO, and that this point of view had been approved.

Błaszczak also stressed that all participants had agreed that the EU should be aware of threats coming from the east and south, and that the threats posed by Russia's new imperial politics were real.

"This is the principle of not neglecting the threats existing in the EU's neighbourhood."