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Juncker Calls For Greater EU Cooperation On Defense

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker made his remarks at the Conference on Defense and Security in Prague on June 9.

PRAGUE -- European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said the United States is "no longer interested in guaranteeing Europe’s security" and that the European Union must push for more defense and security cooperation among its members.

Speaking at a defense and security conference in Prague on June 9, Juncker said Europe’s "deference to NATO can no longer be used as a convenient alibi to argue against greater European efforts."

Juncker also said that Europe has "no other choice than to defend our own interests in the Middle East, in climate change, and in our trade agreements."

Juncker’s remarks follow U.S. President Donald Trump's repeated criticism of some European members of NATO for failing to meet defense spending targets, and his withdrawal of the United States from the 2015 Paris climate accord.

A speech in late May by Trump at NATO headquarters in Brussels caused concern among NATO members because he did not specifically endorse Article 5, the keystone NATO principle that an attack on one member is an attack against all.

NATO Deputy Secretary-General Rose Gottemoeller welcomed Junker’s call for greater cooperation on defense by EU countries, saying that a "stronger European defense means a stronger NATO and a stronger NATO means a stronger European defense."

With reporting by Reuters and AFP