The governments of Poland, France and Germany pledged on Monday to make Europe a security and defense power with a greater ability to support Ukraine, as fears that former US president Donald Trump may will return to the White House and allow Russia to expand its aggression on the continent.
The foreign ministers of the three countries met in the Paris suburb of La Celle-Saint-Cloud to talk about Ukraine, among other issues. They discussed reviving the so-called Weimar Triangle, a long-dormant regional grouping designed to promote cooperation between France, Germany and Poland.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin on Monday, said he wanted to “restore” relations with his country among the main European partners.
“There is no reason why we should be clearly weaker militarily than Russia, and therefore increasing production and intensifying our cooperation are absolutely indisputable priorities,” Tusk said in the argument for of the EU to be “a military power” in its own right.
Former EU chief Tusk referred to the classic book of Alexandre Dumas, “The Three Musketeers”, as he said that Poland is ready to stand shoulder to shoulder with France and emphasized that the philosophy at the center of the relationship between European Union and NATO are based on principle. of “one for all, all for one”.
“With France we are ready to fight for this security” in “the whole of Europe”, he said, accompanied by Macron.
The diplomatic push comes after Trump shocked much of Europe over the weekend by appearing to invite Russia to attack any NATO member that doesn’t spend enough on its own defense.
“’You didn’t pay? You’re a delinquent?’” Trump referred to an unidentified NATO member during his presidency. “‘No, I will not protect you. In fact, I encourage them to do whatever they want. You have to pay. You have to pay your bills.’”
‘No one can play … in European security’
The Republican front-runner’s words at a campaign rally were especially shocking for NATO frontline countries like Poland, which experienced German and Soviet occupation during World War II and later. spent decades under Soviet control. Concerns abound over the ongoing war across Poland’s eastern border.
Speaking alongside Tusk in Berlin, Scholz blasted Trump’s comments.
“NATO’s promise of protection is unconditional — ‘all for one and one for all,'” Scholz said without mentioning the former president by name. “And let me say clearly for the present reasons: Any relativisation of NATO’s support guarantee is irresponsible and dangerous, and only in the interests of Russia.”
“No one can play, or ‘deal,’ with European security,” added the chancellor.
On Monday, Scholz inaugurated a new ammunition factory, underscoring Europe’s efforts to increase arms production.
Tusk also urged European countries to invest more in military projects to “achieve as soon as possible…
Asked about Trump’s comments, Tusk said they “should act like a cold shower for everyone who continues to downplay the very real threat Europe faces”.
Macron, who spoke alongside Tusk in Paris, said that Europe’s will “to further supply and meet the needs of Ukraine is essential”, after the leaders of the 27 EU member states signed a agreement to give Ukraine €50 billion ($54 billion) in support for its war. – broken economy.
This “enables us to create from Europe a security and defense power that is both complementary to NATO and a pillar of the Atlantic alliance”, said Macron.
Putin ‘will not be allowed to win this war’
Trump’s comments raised concerns that if re-elected, he could encourage Russia to attack countries other than Ukraine. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg issued a statement on Sunday saying Trump’s remarks put American troops and their allies at greater risk.
NATO does not require its 31 members to pay the bills, but they are expected to invest a certain percentage of their own budgets – ideally, 2% of their gross domestic product – in defense.
Some countries, such as Poland, have already met the target. Some European countries increased their military spending after Russia invaded Ukraine almost two years ago.
Germany, with its post-World War II political culture of military caution, has been a frequent target of Trump’s ire during his presidency for missing the 2% target, but Berlin has announced plans to increase military spending after the all-out invasion of Ukraine and plans to hit the benchmark this year.
France’s military budget has grown in recent years and has reached a level of about 2% of GDP.
Tusk returned to power as prime minister of his central European country in December after eight years of ruling a nationally conservative government that has often clashed with European allies, particularly Germany. As a result, Warsaw’s influence in Europe declined.
The Weimar Triangle was created in 1991 as Poland emerged from decades of communism as a platform for political cooperation among the three countries.
Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski noted on Monday that he and his French and German counterparts “met in a dramatic, but also solemn moment”. Russian President Vladimir Putin “must not be allowed to win this war. We must fulfill our obligations to Ukraine”.
French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné said that “every minute is important to prepare Europeans to absorb the shock of a scenario well described by Donald Trump”.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP and AP)