Left Menu
Development News Edition

UPDATE 1-'Poison pills':Pentagon tells EU not to block U.S. companies from defence pact

Reuters | Updated: 14-05-2019 22:08 IST | Created: 14-05-2019 22:08 IST
UPDATE 1-'Poison pills':Pentagon tells EU not to block U.S. companies from defence pact
A new European Union military pact risks shutting American companies out of defence contracts and undermining NATO, the United States has told the bloc, hinting at possible retaliation.

In a May 1 letter, the U.S. government said limitations on the involvement of non-EU countries under consideration in the European pact amounted to "poison pills". "It is clear that similar reciprocally imposed U.S. restrictions would not be welcomed by our European partners and allies, and we would not relish having to consider them in the future," said the letter from two U.S. Department of Defense undersecretaries, Ellen Lord and Andrea Thompson, to the EU's foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini.

Any rules limiting U.S. defence contractors' participation would also amount to "a dramatic reversal of the last three decades of increased integration of the transatlantic defence sector," said the letter, seen by Reuters. Mogherini said the American concerns over the EU accord - agreed in December 2017 and aiming to fund, develop and deploy armed forces together - were unfounded.

"The European Union is and remains open to U.S. companies and equipment," she told reporters on Tuesday, adding the European procurement market is more open than that of the United States, which is already dominant in the global weapons trade. EU defence ministers, who discussed the rules governing the pact on Tuesday, are trying to agree legislation by June on how to allow the involvement of non-EU countries, including Britain after it leaves the bloc and the United States.

Dutch Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld said the Netherlands wanted U.S. involvement and had proposed an "emergency brake" mechanism for EU governments to trigger if they felt unease about the participation of non-EU states in a defence project. President Donald Trump's administration told EU governments in February last year the United States should play a central role in the European pact.

However Trump's "America First" policy, problems for European firms breaking into the U.S. weapons market and years of overlapping defence spending by individual EU members have spurred European efforts to better integrate its armed forces. The U.S. letter, which says Brussels should not harm damaging burgeoning EU-NATO ties, was the most vocal U.S. opposition to the EU military pact.

'RESTRICTIVE LANGUAGE' As France and Germany seek to develop a next-generation European fighter jet, Washington said it noticed "restrictive language" in draft texts that failed to reciprocate U.S. openness to involving European companies in its contracts.

U.S. concerns about being frozen out of the European pact, known formally as Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and its multi-billion euro defence fund, have sown confusion in Brussels, which is also the headquarters of U.S.-led NATO. One European government official said the letter showed a "misunderstanding of how the European Union works" because the defence pact and fund were only one way to coordinate with the United States.

"They are reading language into it (the pact) that fences the European continent off from American cooperation, and that is not true," the official said. Unlike past attempts at European defence integration that NATO took a dim view of, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has publicly backed the defence pact as long as it does not lead to duplication.

Caught off guard by Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea and facing threats ranging from state-sponsored computer hackers to militant attacks, EU governments say the pact is justified by EU surveys that show most citizens want the bloc to provide security. A Franco-British air campaign ran out of munitions and equipment in Libya in 2011 and Europe was again forced to turn to the United States. That was considered an enduring embarrassment for the EU, a global economic power. (Reporting by Robin Emmott Editing by Mark Heinrich and Frances Kerry)


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Rethinking Rural Livelihoods in the Times of COVID-19

The reverse migration caused by COVID 19 pandemic has put an additional burden of about one crore people on Indian villages particularly in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Bengal and Odisha. Besides increasing the risk of spreading the ...

‘Discounted Deaths’ and COVID 19: Anthropology of Death and Emotions

Death is a social event rather than the mere cessation of biological functions. As seen by anthropologists, death is not just physical but intensely social, cultural, and political....

Indigenous knowledge of communities a must for maximizing impact of community work

Generally, it has been observed that the majority of the academicians in higher education institutions neglect the wisdom of community people and throw their weight around thinking that they know everything and the community knows nothing. ...

In rebuking FBR, Pakistan’s courts take a stand for public health

The system, if implemented effectively, will allow Pakistans revenue service to combat the illicit trade in tobacco products and potentially add hundreds of millions of dollars to the states budget each year. ...

Videos

Latest News

Cancer-stricken boxing hero Dingko Singh tests positive for COVID-19

Already battling liver cancer, Asian Games gold medal-winning former boxer Dingko Singh has tested positive for COVID-19, adding to his health complications which earlier came in the way of an urgently-arranged radiation therapy. The 41-yea...

Chartered flight with 300 Indians stranded in Nigeria arrives in Kochi

A chartered flight carrying over 300Indian nationals stranded in Nigeria due to COVID-19-inducedlockdown arrived here on Sunday afternoon, an airport officialsaidThe Air Peace flight from Lagos, Nigeria carrying 312passengers on board, land...

Adani Power board to consider delisting from BSE, NSE on Wednesday

Adani Power board will consider a proposal to delist its entire equity shares from the BSE and NSE in its meeting scheduled on Wednesday. ...meeting of board of directors of Adani Power Ltd to be held on June 03, 2020 to consider the propos...

Noida-Delhi border to stay sealed for most travellers, say latest guidelines from Gautam Buddh Nagar administration.

Noida-Delhi border to stay sealed for most travellers, say latest guidelines from Gautam Buddh Nagar administration....

Give Feedback