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EU unlikely to create common army due to huge expenses, US opposition — Russian official

March 11, 2015, 21:48 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The United States will not allow the European Union to increase its military potential, which may counterbalance the US military potential
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© EPA PHOTO/ FEHIM DEMIR EPA/FEHIM DEMI

MOSCOW, March 11 /TASS/. The idea of creating a united European Union army is not new but is unlikely to be realized because of the huge expense involved on the one hand, and Washington’s stance on the other hand, Alexey Pushkov, the head of the Russian State Duma Committee for Foreign Affairs, told TASS on Wednesday.

The United States will not allow the European Union to increase its military potential, which may counterbalance the US military potential, Pushkov explained commenting on the initiative of European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker to create a European army.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in turn that the European army should not duplicate NATO’s functions.

"First and foremost, the European army will require considerable financial spending on the part of the European Union, which is already facing huge financial hardships," Pushkov said adding that Greece and Ukraine provided very good examples. According to Pushkov, the Europeans value NATO largely because the United States pays 75% of expenses on NATO’s military activities while Europe economizes on the military aspect.

"That is why Europe is going to invest what it saves on NATO in its own army," the Russian deputy said.

He added that the area of application of the European army was also unclear. "Where it will operate? It is not going to fight in Ukraine, is it? No, but then its function should be defensive," Pushkov said.

He fully agreed with Jens Stoltenberg that the European army would start duplicating NATO assuming the same functions.

"It means that the European army will either have to be subordinate to the NATO command or the same Americans so to speak; or it’s going to be a parallel structure with unclear tasks," the Russian deputy said.

The third aspect, according to Pushkov, will be Washington’s opposition to the idea. "I assume that the idea of creation of European armed forces separately from NATO will meet a strong resistance on the part of the United States, which has enough means to influence Europe," Pushkov said in conclusion.

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