The European Union is increasing its military research budget for the first time since 2010 in a bid to gain independence from the U.S. security umbrella.
“It is still a symbolic increase,” EU Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini told reporters after the announcement. “It is a clear demonstration of all EU member states, including the United Kingdom, to increase the budget of the agency to reflect the work to be done.”
“The best approach to the Trump presidency is for European countries to step up their own defense spending,” British Secretary of Defense Michael Fallon conceded to reporters Monday. French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian echoed this sentiment to reporters, “This will allow Europe to take a step towards its strategic autonomy.” Reuters notes that “strategic autonomy” is coded EU language for pursuing defense independence from the U.S.
President-elect Donald Trump frequently disparaged U.S.-NATO allies who are not fulfilling their NATO defense spending obligations. The alliance targets defense spending for countries at 2 percent of a member nation’s GDP. More than 20 countries in the alliance flout this defense spending target.
“I think the distribution of costs has to be changed. I think NATO as a concept is good, but it is not as good as it was when it first evolved,” Trump told The Washington Post in March 2016. Trump doubled down in a CNN interview the same day, saying, “frankly they have to put up more money. They’re going to have to put some up also. We’re paying disproportionately. It’s too much. And frankly it’s a different world than it was when we originally conceived of the idea.”
“We are spending a tremendous amount in NATO and other people proportionately less. No good,” Trump declared.
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