EU and NATO countries, including Turkey

EU borders are defended by non-EU countries, including Turkey

The EU only contributes with just 20% of NATO defence spending, while its borders are mainly defended by the US, Canada, the UK and Turkey.

The EU borders are, ironically, defended by non-EU countries: Turkey is the main defence of the southeast border, while the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom defend the northern borders of the European Union, the secretary general of the Atlantic Alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, has warned.

Speaking after giving a conference in Belgium, Stoltenberg stressed that Europe’s defence depends fundamentally on maintaining its trans-Atlantic ties and strong ties with its external allies. “I don’t believe in a single Europe. I don’t believe in a single North America. I believe in a North America and a Europe together in a strategic solidarity within NATO,” he insisted.

“I do not believe that any country or continent can handle the security challenges that we face today,” added Stoltenberg, amid debates within the European Commission to pursue a more important geopolitical role for the EU by strengthening a foreign policy and defence industry less dependent on the United States and NATO.

Only 20% of NATO defence spending comes from the EU

Stoltenberg considers, however, that the idea of ​​an autonomous Europe in defence is a chimera. “More than 90% of the population of the European Union lives in a NATO country. But only 20% of NATO defence spending comes from EU member NATO countries,” he said.

“But the most important thing about this is that it is about politics … Because any attempt to weaken the (trans-Atlantic) bond, to separate Europe from North America, will not only weaken NATO: it will also divide Europe,” he said.

According to the NATO secretary general, the borders of the EU are defended in the North Atlantic against a hypothetical Russian aggression mainly by countries that are not members of the EU: the USA, Canada and the UK. And on the southeastern border of the European Union, Turkey – another non-EU country – guards the borders with countries such as Syria or Iraq, Stoltenberg noted, adding that Turkey is “extremely important in the fight against Daesh and international terrorism.”

Turkish President hails Stoltenberg’s “objective” words

Through his Twitter account, Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan praised the comments made by Stoltenberg on the defence of Europe and Euro-Atlantic security. “We would like to thank NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg for his objective assessments,” Erdoğan wrote on social media.

“Turkey, as an ally in NATO, will continue to fulfil all its responsibilities (in defending the EU’s borders) and serving global peace and security,” added the Turkish president.