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EU must not develop own nuclear weapons — member of German Bundestag

Wolfgang Hellmich noted that the union "needs to expand and boost NATO’s nuclear defense system"

BERLIN, February 15. /TASS/. The European Union should not develop its own nuclear weapons program, but rather must work toward bolstering the "nuclear umbrella" within the NATO framework, Wolfgang Hellmich, a member of the German Bundestag Defense Committee representing the Social Democratic Party (SPD), said.

"It is better for the EU to be guided by NATO’s nuclear umbrella instead of developing the European nuclear doctrine," he told the RND portal. The politician added that the union "needs to expand and boost NATO’s nuclear defense system."

The German politician was commenting on recent remarks by European Parliament Vice President Katarina Barley, a fellow SPD member, to the effect that the EU may begin thinking of developing its own nuclear weapons in response to recent statements by former US President Donald Trump, who is currently seeking to return to the White House. On February 10, Trump recalled a meeting with NATO leaders during his presidency in which one of the European leaders asked him whether the US was ready to defend member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance in the event of a potential threat from Russia if a given country had not met its mandatory defense spending obligations. "No, I would not protect you," the former US leader, who is the presumptive Republican nominee for the November 5 presidential election, replied. "In fact, I would encourage them (Russia - TASS) to do whatever the hell they want," he added. Trump did not specify when and where the conversation took place, nor which NATO leader posed the question.

Hellmich also pointed out that Trump "merely clarified what has been known all along with regard to the European defense potential."