Lajes air base on Terceira Island, Azores: Image: António Araújo/ Lusa
Lajes air base on Terceira Island, Azores: Image: António Araújo/ Lusa

NATO, EU will not be enough to protect Europe in future – specialist

International experts meet in Azores to discuss “New Security and Defence Challenges”

While attentions on the mainland are glued to World Youth Day, an international conference hosted by the regional government of the Azores and focused on “New Security and Defence Challenges” has heard that the European Union and NATO “will not be enough to protect Europe in the future”.

International relations expert Miguel Monjardino believes it is time to “move towards a different institutional architecture”.

“At this moment of transformation, since we talk so much about NATO, the European security, defence and economic architecture is based on two institutions: the European Union and NATO. (…) In my view, that will not be enough in the future”, he said.

“We will have to move towards a different, denser institutional architecture, which ultimately anchors Europe and the United States better, not only in the military field, but in other fields.”

A professor at the Institute of Political Studies of the Portuguese Catholic University and himself of Azorean origin, Monjardino admitted that in the future there could be a “tension” between those who advocate “greater integration or greater European flexibility”.

He also warned of the diminishing geostrategic importance of the Azores – an issue that is not consensual.

José Manuel Boleiro, president of the regional government told the same conference that he believes the archipelago retains this geostrategic importance, as well as geoeconomic relevance for the future.

His deputy, Artur Lima, went so far as to highlight the geopolitical role of Terceira Island (home of the Lajes airbase) suggesting it stands as “a reference point for the preservation of world peace”.

Earlier, at the same conference, Finland’s minister for European affairs and property management deplored the “political game” surrounding NATO accession processes and warned that Europe is “too dependent” on the United States for defence.

“It is sad to see the extent to which the ratification process has been played out politically. An alliance that relies essentially on the principle of the three musketeers – one for all, all for one – and that cannot quickly ratify the membership of two candidates that unequivocally strengthen it, has a problem,” said Anders Adlercreutz.

Source: LUSA