“We have to reflect on how this mission could end so abruptly,” European Commission chief Von der Leyen says about the Afghanistan debacle.
She promises more humanitarian aid for the country, an increase by €100 million, but quickly moves towards security and defence.
“There will be missions where NATO or the United Nations will not be present. But Europe should be,” she says, announcing that EU and NATO will have a “joint declaration” before the end of the year.
“We can combine military and civilian, alongside the diplomatic, and we have a long history in building and protecting peace,” she said (well, yes, but quite messy so far?).
This push for more collaboration between the two organisations comes while various proposals for new defence tools have been flying around in the past few weeks.
Von der Leyen’s defence duality though has a reason: The proposals have drawn criticism, especially among Eastern European and more NATO-reliant EU member states, as to being a duplication in force and financial means to the Western military alliance.
Von der Leyen says that she and French President Emmanuel Macron will convene a European Defence Summit in the first half of 2022, during the French presidency of the Council of the EU.