EU toughens language towards Russia in its defense plan – POLITICO

The more aggressive Russia becomes in Ukraine, the more the EU needs to change – and tighten – the blueprint for the bloc’s defense ambitions.

“The return of war in Europe, with unwarranted and unprovoked Russian aggression against Ukraine, as well as major geopolitical shifts, are challenging our ability to advance our vision and defend our interests,” the document’s new summary, titled “Strategic,” reads. . Compass and seen by POLITICO, which the EU ambassadors discussed on Friday. Foreign and defense ministers will discuss it on Monday, and EU leaders are expected to endorse it later in the week.

Work on the document has almost started two years ago and the first draft was presented last November. Since then, the Strategic Compass has grown from 28 to 42 pages and there have been four more revisions, mainly to strengthen language on Russia, particularly at the request of Poland and the Baltic States.

In the original version of the document, which POLITICO also saw, Russia was not mentioned at all in the summary. There are now 19 references to the country throughout the document, up from six in the November version. And the phrase “involving Russia in some specific issues” that was in the November draft has completely disappeared.

The bloc now says it wants to prosecute “those responsible for… crimes” committed in Ukraine and that they “will be held accountable”. This is similar to the language used by EU leaders in a joint Explanation They said goodbye at a meeting in Versailles last week – where they vowed that “those responsible for their crimes will be held accountable”.

Also in line with this Versailles Declaration, there is now language in the Strategic Compass on military spending, in which leaders commit to: “By mid-2022, consistent with national prerogatives and consistent with our commitments, targets for higher and set out improved defense spending.” It states that the “Commission will develop additional incentives to stimulate joint investments by Member States in strategic defense capabilities”.

The nuclear risk language in the draft has also been beefed up, now warning that “both Russia and China are expanding their nuclear arsenals and developing new weapons systems,” and emphasizing how “the Russian leadership has used nuclear threats in the context of their own invasion.” in Ukraine.”

A key decision taken between the submission of the first and final draft was the EU’s decision to allocate around €500 million in arms and other aid to Ukraine’s military, a move the bloc called a “tipping point” for it is history.

Diplomats say the decision has again demonstrated the need to improve military mobility across the bloc. And this is reflected in the new draft, which states: “Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine has confirmed the urgent need to significantly improve the military mobility of our armed forces inside and outside the Union.” It adds that “we By the end of 2022, will make new commitments to significantly improve and invest in military mobility and agree on an ambitious, revised plan of action.”

The EU is also in the process of agreeing a further 500 million euros in aid for the Ukrainian army. Both the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell and European Council President Charles Michel announced ahead of time that this had already been agreed, but diplomats say the decision is expected to be finalized by the end of next week after the German Bundestag advised about it.

The decision to increase the funds was due to the fact that the first 500 million euros will soon expire: “The total value of the requests received so far … already exceeds the size of the package of 500 million euros,” said a senior EU official on Friday.

The document contains few updates on China compared to previous EU communications. Most significantly, it avoids entirely the most potentially destabilizing scenario in East Asia: China’s threat to “take back” Taiwan by force if necessary.

The wording is reminiscent of Germany’s largely failed approach Change through Handel (“Change Through Trade”), Beijing describes it by saying: “China’s development and integration into its region and the world at large will shape the rest of this century… We must ensure that it happens in a way that contributes to more global security.”

Nevertheless, the EU document criticizes Beijing’s dealings with Europe. “China takes advantage of our divisions, tends to limit access to its market and seeks to promote its own standards around the world. It pursues its policies, among other things, through its growing presence at sea, in space and online.”

“There’s also a growing reaction to his increasingly assertive regional demeanor,” it adds. EU toughens language towards Russia in its defense plan – POLITICO

Fry Electronics Team

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