NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg appeared critical of EU defense initiatives and bilateral pacts within the bloc such as the one between Greece and France.
“What I don’t believe in is efforts to try to do something outside the NATO’s framework or compete with or duplicate NATO because NATO remains the cornerstone, the bedrock for European security and also for the North American security,” Stoltenberg said speaking at an event organized by the Brookings Institution and Georgetown University on Tuesday.
He made the remarks at U.S. event organised by the Brookings Institution and Georgetown University on Oct 5. https://t.co/hLaFU8hU2T
— Derek Gatopoulos (@dgatopoulos) October 7, 2021
The remarks by NATO Secretary General came ahead of the ratification of the Greek-French defense agreement by the Greek Parliament scheduled for late Thursday.
Addressing the plenary of the Parliament on Thursday morning, Greek Prime Kyriakos Mitsotakis called the Greek-French defense deal “a first step towards the strategic autonomy of Europe.”
The defense deal with France includes a mutual assistance clause, which states that the two sides will come to each other’s aid “with all appropriate means at their disposal, and if necessary with the use of armed force, if they jointly ascertain that an armed attack is taking place against the territory of one of the two.”
Mitsotakis said last week that the mutual assistance clause “essentially says that if any of the countries is attacked, if its territory is challenged, its sovereignty is challenged, then there is an obligation by the other party to assist it.”
The idea of collective defense is a principal tenet of NATO, of which both Greece and France are members, as is Turkey, the associated press notes adding that “Article 5 of the alliance’s treaty stipulates that an attack on one member nation is considered an attack on all.”
“Does Article 5 apply in the case of an attack by a NATO member? I’m not sure NATO has ever been very clear on that issue,” Mitsotakis had said when asked during the conference why Greece needed an extra alliance agreement. “My obligation is to defend my country and to form the necessary alliances over and above the security arrangements that we already have.”
The deal also includes a provision for Greek participation in French-led military operations such as those it has conducted in the Sahel region of Africa.
The dispute at the Greek Parliament today, ahead of the ratification, is not the NATO but whether Greek soldiers will be deployed to defend French interests in Africa.
The pacts is expected to be ratified with the votes of ruling New Democracy and opposition parties KINAL/PASOK and nationalist Greek Solution.
PS Maybe opposition was convinced by the PM’s argument at the Parliament today that “the only nuclear super-power in Europe is on our side.