Air Force secretary warns against European military force

Air Force secretary warns against European military force
© Stefani Reynolds

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson on Monday warned against the creation of a European military force separate from NATO.

“Anything that Europe does to increase the percentage of its GDP [gross domestic product] that goes to defense is a good thing,” Wilson said a talk at the Future Security Forum, according to the Washington Examiner

“But I think the most important thing for Europe to consider, and NATO has always thought this way, is that it is vital for the security of Europe to maintain the close connection with Canada and the United States.”

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Wilson also reportedly warned that if a European force appears to be disconnected from its North American allies, “then that will weaken us all.”

French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronBrazil's Bolsonaro tells world not to meddle as Amazon rainforest burns The Hill's Morning Report: How will Trump be received at G-7? Macron calls Amazon rain forest fires an 'international crisis' to discuss at G-7 summit MORE suggested last year that Europe needed a separate military force to deter potential threats from Russia, China and the U.S.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel echoed that call in November, telling the European Parliament that a “real, true European army” was needed.

Both leaders suggested that the U.S. may no longer be a reliable partner in defense.

“Only a stronger Europe is going to be able to defend its values and interests worldwide, and the times when we can rely on others are past," Merkel said. "This means that we as Europeans now really have to take our fate fully into our own hands if we want to fully defend our community.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? MORE ripped the idea of European army when first proposed.

"President Macron of France has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the U.S., China and Russia," Trump tweeted in November. "Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly!"

Seven of the 29 NATO member nations spend the 2 percent of GDP on defense which Trump has called for, according to a report released by NATO last year.