‘Give it up, Guy!’ Verhofstadt mocked over EU army plot as he clashes with Nato chief

Macron criticised over push for EU army by Italian MEP

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The Belgian MEP sparked a backlash on Twitter after he took aim at Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg after he cooled plans for a European military force. The Nato chief said he supported European Union’s plans to build a common defence policy, but he warned against any rapid reaction force.

Responding to an article on Twitter, Mr Verhoftadt disagreed with the Nato chief and said an EU army would help to increase cooperation with alliance.

The exchange prompted a huge response on the platform with many users condemning Mr Verhofstadt’s argument.

One user wrote: “Give it up Guy, Europe will never be a united defence force, too many different nations with opposing and political differences.”

A second added: “No, Verhofstadt. EU is union of independent states not European States and so far nothing going change that. Nato is better solution by far.”

A third commented: “You are NOT right about this. Nato has served Europe well since its foundation. The sheer thought of VDL being in charge of an army fills one with terror”

A fourth added: “Not sure many soldiers would be keen on risking their lives for the EU. Defending their country, for sure.”

Meanwhile, a fifth said: “No, Verhofstadt, EU military will introduce new duplications and waste money.”

The Nato chief made an intervention as EU officials are set to put forward proposals for a combined military force.

EU defence ministers are considering creating a “first entry force” of 5,000 troops to address conflicts beyond its borders.

Mr Stoltenberg stressed he was open to further collaboration of defence but warned against a move to undermine the work conducted by NATO.

He told the Telegraph: “Any attempt to establish parallel structures, duplicate the command structure, that will weaken our joint capability to work together, because with scarce resources we need to prevent duplication and overlapping efforts.”

He added: “I welcome more European efforts on defence but that can never replace Nato and we need to make sure that Europe and North America band together.

“Any attempt to weaken the bond between North America and Europe will not only weaken Nato, it will divide Europe.”

In response, Mr Verhofstadt tweeted: “No, Stoltenberg, European Defence as the European pillar of NATO will strengthen the Alliance by putting an end to the numerous duplications and waste of money between the armies of the EU member states.”

Calls for an EU army have been heightened following the humanitarian crisis which has unfolded following the decision by the US to withdraw from Afghanistan.

Nato faced questions over its ability to stand up and challenge the US on foreign policy decisions in Afghanistan.


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The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation is made up of 30 independent countries – including the UK, US, France and Germany.

The organisation was plunged into crisis during the reign of US President Donald Trump, who threatened to pull out of the pact unless member states increased their funding.

European Nato members set a spending target on defence of two percent of GDP by 2024 – the former US President had called for it to be increased to four percent.

The latest G7 summit was held in Cornwall in June and Joe Biden reaffirmed commitment to the alliance.
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