EU risks US-China domination with military cuts: France

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France sounded the alarm bell against drastic cuts in military budgets in Europe on Friday, warning its partners that they would leave them under Sino-American domination.

French Defence Minister Herve Morin said he told his European Union counterparts at a meeting in Ghent, Belgium, that plans to step up European military cooperation would falter without proper budgets.

"Most European states have given up on a simple ambition, which is that Europeans obtain a military tool allowing them to weigh on world affairs," Morin told reporters on the sidelines of a two-day meeting of European defence ministers.

"At the pace we're going, Europe is progressively becoming a protectorate, and in 50 years we will become a game in a balacing act between new powers in which we will be under a Sino-American dominion," he said.

Morin warned that "every country in the world is rearming" while European states that already had weak military budgets before the economic crisis are proceeding with new cuts.

"Do Europeans want to be actors on the international stage or do they want to be the actors in a play they are not writing?" he said.

Morin urged EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton to take the mantle of Europe's military ambitions and give it "impetus."

European governments should examine which capacities they want to keep sovereign and which they would share, he said

The Belgian presidency of the 27-nation EU will present the proposals of members states, including France, to European institutions in Brussels, he said.

© 2010 AFP

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