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  1. What are the implications of a serious change in foreign and defense policy in EU on Bangladesh and its defense industries? Excerpts of a feature story on EU's thoughts on independence from US in defining its own position at the global level: "After the EU blocked US citizens from entering Europe, Merkel and Macron called for stepped-up military spending and austerity to ensure Europe’s ability to wage war independently from Washington. .... Currently the European powers are working closely together on transforming the EU into a military alliance that—unlike NATO—can act independently of and if necessary against the US. But conflicts are also re-emerging between the European capitals. When Merkel suggested in her interview that the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) “can be used by everyone” hit by the crisis, Conte rebuffed her: “I’m the one who keeps the books. I take care of the Italian budget, together with Finance Minister Roberto Gualtieri, the state’s accountants and the other ministers.” What keeps the European governments together at this point is not a unity of interests, but a desperate search for allies against foreign enemies and the working class at home. The only policy they can agree on is one of austerity, repression and militarism. Thus, the defense ministries of France, Germany, Italy and Spain issued a joint letter to Josep Borrell, the EU foreign and military policy chief, calling for a major joint EU military build-up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic, they wrote, “Our Armed Forces have been instrumental in helping to deal with the challenges posed—both in Europe and beyond. Today, the effects of the pandemic have already started aggravating existing conflicts and crises, further weakening fragile states and putting additional pressure on already strained systems and regions. Security and Defence must therefore remain a top priority. We want to live up to our responsibilities and be able to face present and upcoming challenges, at home and abroad.” They called for strengthening the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) on military issues; reinforcing EU defence industries; developing a “Strategic Compass” governing common EU military missions; stepping up military operations in Mali, Libya, and the Gulf of Guinea; and further coordinating EU military policy. Cooperation with NATO was listed dead last, in a section that committed the four EU powers to “strengthening the European pillar within NATO” as well as to taking “forward the cooperation in security and defence with other partner organisations.” They stressed that building the EU’s ability to wage large-scale military actions independently of Washington would require pouring financial resources into Europe’s war machines. They added, “Building Europe’s industrial, technological and digital sovereignty requires us to link our economic policies even stronger with our security interests … The European Defence Fund (EDF) is key to financing and fostering defence research and capability development that will reinforce our ability to act and to face future military crises and global threats. We therefore advocate for an ambitious EDF budget as a priority in the defence area and a swift adoption of the EDF regulation, in full respect of the discussions on the Multiannual Financial Framework.” As the European powers prepare for war, they openly acknowledge that their relations with America are collapsing. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) told DPA: “Anyone who thinks that with a president of the Democratic Party everything will be the same again in the transatlantic partnership as it once was underestimates the structural changes.” Source: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/06/30/mese-j30.html
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