European nations move forward on drone, cybersecurity issues
European Union members have reached a consensus to cope with cyber and maritime security, as well as boost air defense and outer space cooperation — both moves that Chinese and European experts have identified as solid signals to push the European Union’s integration.
The experts also said that the 22-point agreement reached among the bloc’s 28 countries on Thursday at a summit in Brussels has left open the possibility for China and the EU to take the lead in coping with new challenges to security such as cyberattacks.
Partly due to mounting international ire arising from the US’ cyberspying on its European allies, EU members have agreed that they will come up with an EU cyberdefense policy in 2014. They also agreed to map out an EU maritime security strategy by June.
Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, said the main purpose of the discussions on common defense policy was to identify ways to cooperate better around defense assets.
“The discussions are on developing, acquiring, using and maintaining such assets,” Van Rompuy said. “Of course, cooperative approaches come in different shapes and sizes. But overall, working together has its clear advantages.”
The financial and debt crises already spurred Brussels to strengthen its governance of fiscal, monetary and economic issues. And after the US, Russia and other countries increased their investment in security and defense, the bloc decided to come up with policies to produce cutting-edge defense technologies
Shen Dingli, a researcher at Shanghai’s Fudan University, and Ma Gang, a military expert at the National Defense University of the People’s Liberation Army, both agreed that the EU’s new strategic arrangements are normal responses to security concerns and would not trigger any new arms races.
“I don’t think the EU will spend sizable amounts on defense; instead, it will spend more to correct the social problems it faces,” Shen said.