Europe responds to the Mattis ultimatum with barrage of initiatives

STEPHANIE LECOCQ

(L-R) Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti, Dutch Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, Spanish Defence Minister Maria Dolores de Cospedal, and Norwegian Defence Minister Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide greet each other during the NATO Defense Ministers Council at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, 15 February 2017. NATO defense ministers gathered a two-days meeting.

Europe responds to the Mattis ultimatum with barrage of initiatives


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While US Defense Secretary Mattis was delivering an ultimatum to NATO Allies on military spending, European states were ready to make specific commitments.

Germany and France are creating a joint fleet of Lockheed Martin Corp C-130J transport planes, Reuters reported on Wednesday. The fleet will join a Dutch-led fleet of Airbus A330 tanker planes with the participation of Luxembourg.

It is hoped Belgium and Norway will join.

One of the lessons of the ISAF NATO mission in Afghanistan was the need for increased airborne military capacity. Moreover, Joint initiatives help appease historically rooted fears arising from the rapid expansion of the German military.

Germany is also ready to sign a bilateral military cooperation agreement with Norway, which includes training, logistics cooperation and joint procurement for submarines and missiles.

Meanwhile, Norway, Romania and the Czech Republic have announced cooperation in training and land troop deployment.

 

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