BRUSSELS/PARIS – (Reuters) - A $20 billion plan to give NATO more flexibility in facing military threats and climate change has hit firm resistance from France, which fears the move could undermine its defense priorities, four diplomats and a French defense source said.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg proposed in February that allies put more money directly into existing, albeit small common budgets, rather than rely on the current system that each government pays for its own military operations.
That was a response to long-standing tensions with the United States, which says European allies do not contribute enough to their own defense. A deal at a June 14 summit with U.S. President Joe Biden would likely shore up transatlantic unity, two of the four diplomats who spoke to Reuters said.
The proposal also seeks to heed French President Emmanuel Macron’s 2019 warning that NATO was “brain dead” because the alliance, formed in 1949 to contain a military threat from the Soviet Union, lacked a clear political strategy in the post-Cold War, multipolar world.