He believes that Europe cannot continue to pit “bonsai armies” against a more threatening strategic landscape, including adversaries using high-intensity warfare.
Europeans must jointly consider their options in the event of an intense war and cooperate to improve their defense capabilities in the face of new strategic challenges .
This opinion was expressed by the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell in a blog on the website of the European External Action Service.
According to him, this summer has added reason to think about European defense and its future. Borrell noted that the main goal of European armies over the past 20 years has been “expeditionary operations” such as in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Sahel. He noted that during this time there have been a series of sharp and uncoordinated cuts to defense budgets across Europe (only partially reversed in recent years), just as the US, China, Russia and others have significantly increased their (Europe +20%, Russia + 300% and China + 600%). “Consequently, the relative gap between European countries and others has increased dramatically. As I have repeatedly argued, this is something that we must urgently address,” he stressed.
In the note, Borredi drew attention to China. “Right now, its navy has more ships than the US fleet. In addition, we saw around Taiwan this summer how China is ready to use its military to send clear messages,” he said.
At the same time, according to Borrell, the European armed forces turned into a kind of “bonsai armies”.
“European armies have been emasculated and described as ‘bonsai armies’: they look like real ones, but have been reduced to miniature versions,” the diplomat said.
As an example, he cited a statement by the Chief of the General Staff of France, who openly questioned the ability of the French army to wage a conflict of “high intensity” on European soil.
“The question is what to do. What type of conflict are we preparing our armies for and the decisions that follow from that in terms of position, budget, training? We cannot continue to pit “bonsai armies” against a more threatening strategic landscape, including adversaries using high-intensity war. At the same time, we cannot pretend to be satisfied with our experience of expeditionary warfare,” Borrell said.
“All of this requires a willingness to think deeply and seriously about the choices and trade-offs we face and make decisions accordingly. The true meaning is to think it through together, like Europeans. Our armies must be capable of both territorial defense and asymmetrical war at a distance,” he said.
According to Borrell, this should be done within the framework of NATO, since almost all EU member states are now members of the Alliance.
“But we also need to be able to rely on ourselves and demonstrate our strategic responsibility when our security interests are at stake on our borders and beyond. That’s why EU member states should better invest together and cooperate on defence,” he said. concluded the chief diplomat of the EU.
As UNIAN reported earlier, EU Foreign Policy Representative Josep Borrell said that the Europeans are preparing a special mission to train Ukrainian fighters. The training will take place in a state neighboring Ukraine.