NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg urged EU countries not to compete with the alliance by forming their own rapid reaction forces at a time when the allies face threats from Russia and China, RIA Novosti reported.
Against the background of the aggravation of the crisis in Afghanistan and criticism of the hasty withdrawal of the American military to the EU, the question of “strategic autonomy” of the union, including the creation of a European rapid reaction force, began to be discussed again.
“For many years now, NATO has been calling on European allies to increase their military spending in order to have a better opportunity for action. I welcome the fact that Europeans are investing more. But this should not happen outside NATO or create competition. This needs to fit in with broader efforts to strengthen NATO, because we need Europe and North America to join forces to confront Russia, which is increasingly aggressive towards the global balance of power. There is also China. Therefore, we must stick together and protect each other as Europe and North America. Together we are stronger and safer”, Stoltenberg said in an interview with the Belgian TV channel RTBF.
Moscow has repeatedly expressed concern about the buildup of the alliance’s forces in Europe. In recent years, Russia has declared unprecedented NATO activity along its western borders, while NATO is expanding initiatives and calls it “containing Russian aggression”.Russian fighter MiG-31 escorted a Norwegian Air Force patrol plane over the Barents Sea