Europe-NATO Ties No Longer Efficient in Solving Afghan, Other Issues, EU Parliamentarian Says
13:30 GMT 06.09.2021 (Updated: 13:59 GMT 05.08.2022)
BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - A US-led NATO has exhausted its strategic role in Europe in terms of coordinating efforts to intervene in major challenges worldwide, Athanasios Konstantinou, a Greek independent member of the European Parliament, told Sputnik, citing the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan as an example of the alliance's failure.
NATO allies deployed their forces to Afghanistan after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, in line with Article 5 of the alliance's charter on collective defence, under which the members must assist an ally in case of attack upon it.
The withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and the large-scale and chaotic evacuation operation, which were completed on August 31, 2021 —a deadline agreed by the US and Taliban — have prompted dismay among several European nations regarding Washington's decisions.
In view of that, Europe should no longer rely on the US-led alliance, which "has lost the moral advantage to intervene or arbitrate worldwide," Konstantinou, who served with NATO as a high-ranking Greek air force officer for about eight years, is convinced.
"I cast my vote with those who believe that the time has come for the appropriate termination of NATO Alliance. This is so tragically highlighted by the Afghanistan fiasco, a historical defeat, the scale of which we are not yet able to correctly measure at this time," he said.
In May, EU defence ministers discussed a proposal to create a 5,000-strong rapid reaction mission to provide military response to conflicts worldwide in their first stages. At least 14 out of 27 EU member states supported the plan as part of the bloc's scheme for next year to boost military capabilities as a guarantor of international security.
Konstantinou expressed skepticism about the initiative.
"In regard of [to] a specific European military force (something in the lines of a permanently European Army) again I think that [the] EU is not ready (or even willing) to place such a force in action. I am sorry and with all due respect to his office, I do not consider [European Council] President Charles Michel the exactly suitable person to design and/or implement the military policy for the EU," the expert noted.
The EU authorities should first address existing challenges across the member states, such as public health issues, unemployment, a rise in criminality, the instability of the euro, rather than taking action somewhere else, Konstantinou believes.
"So first as European operatives, we must answer all the above and make the Europeans feel secure and prosperous in our own countries before think of intervene 'NATO style' to other countries," he stressed.
As for bloc-wide cooperation, all member states are perfectly capable of coordinating their military efforts "if the necessary political will is applied," the expert went on, adding that the US military is no longer suitable to take part in combined operations between the European armies.
"In history, everything changes, and near the first quarter of the 21st century I believe it is now the time for Europe to take full control of our continent, without any help of our overseas 'cousins'," Konstantinou concluded.
Since the militant takeover of Afghanistan, many countries have been reluctant about establishing ties with the Taliban, saying that they have to prove themselves worthy of international recognition as the legitimate power in the Central Asian state.
In the meantime, the movement, which seized Kabul on 15 August, claimed on Monday morning to have taken under its full control Panjshir, the last of the 34 Afghan provinces to hold out against the Taliban. Panjshir opposition forces have called the claims false.