16:14 EU Central Time 06.06.2003
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17.01.2003 - 09:35 CET

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Top military official predicts EU merge with NATO

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GUSTAV HÄGGLUND - chairman of the Military Committee of the European Union said the new goal for Europe is to maintain the relevance of NATO in American security thinking. (Photo: EUobserver.com)
The European pillar in NATO and European security and defence policy (ESDP) will be merged, according to Gustav Hägglund, chairman of the Military Committee of the European Union.

Speaking at the University of Helsinki, the European Union's highest military official added that if Finland does not decide in favour of NATO membership by the end of this decade it really makes no difference. By that time EU security and defence policy and the European pillar in NATO will all be the same.

American worries
Mr Hägglund expressed deep concern about America neglecting the importance of NATO and Europe. He referred to the new security strategy presented by US President, George Bush, in September which barely mentioned NATO and Europe. "The new goal for Europe is to maintain the relevance of NATO in American security thinking", Mr Hägglund said.

The Finns are in the middle of a heated debate over whether to join NATO and give up their traditional neutrality. This could end up being decided by referendum.


Press Articles  Hufvudstadsbladet  Die Presse  Helsingin Sanomat  

Official Documents  Military Committee of the European Union  
 
Written by Lisbeth Kirk
Edited by Nicola Smith