US gives EU ultimatum for defense cooperation

The US has demanded that European countries make changes to their defense policy, otherwise Washington will discontinue its joint military development projects with the EU, El Pais reports, citing documents in its possession.

According to the news outlet, the parties met on 22 May to discuss matters relating to the European Defense Fund, which will finance military technology research and procurement.

The US believes that the European rules are too restrictive with respect to intellectual property and export control, and could prevent American companies from working on defense projects in Europe.

“When a crisis emerges and your defense fails, your citizens will not be very impressed by the fact that the acquired weapons were only from European countries,” said Michael Murphy, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

Unless the restrictions are changed, the EU will have two choices: to stop using the “best technological capabilities”, or to make its own, Murphy explained.

He added that, if there is a serious crisis, the EU will need assistance from the US, UK, Canada and Norway. However, such assistance may not be possible if Brussel’s military plans prevent the US and Europe from working together in the weapons industry. The US State Department representative did not specify exactly what steps Washington will take if its demands are not met.

At the end of April, US President Donald Trump announced that the US was withdrawing from the Arms Trade Treaty, which regulates the trade of tanks, armored vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, military aircraft, helicopters, ships and missiles, firearms and small arms. Trump claimed that withdrawing from the treaty is a step towards the protection of Americans’ rights. The EU did not support Trump’s decision, and commented that by doing so, it will make it harder for the US to fight against the illegal arms trade.

  USA, EU, Trump