Germany to deepen military ties with France, others: sources

A German soldier holds NATO flag during a ceremony to welcome the German battalion being deployed to Lithuania as part of NATO deterrence measures against Russia in Rukla, Lithuania February 7, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

 

Germany will move forward this week with plans to set up a joint fleet of Lockheed Martin Corp C-130J transport planes with France and join a Netherlands-led fleet of Airbus A330 tanker planes, defense ministry sources said on Monday.

Those and several other initiatives with Norway, Romania and the Czech Republic are part of a broader drive to expand European defense cooperation to be announced at a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, the sources said.

The agreements come as Germany and other NATO members face increasing pressure from the United States to spend more for their own military and reach NATO’s target of devoting 2 percent of gross domestic product to defense spending.

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who last week said U.S. demands for greater burden-sharing were “fair,” will sign an expanded declaration of intent for a joint C-130J fleet with France, a plan first floated in October, the sources said.

Germany will also sign a declaration of intent to join a European multinational fleet of Airbus tankers that is led by the Netherlands and already includes Luxembourg.

Germany will also sign an expanded defense cooperation agreement with Norway that includes already procurement plans for submarines and missiles, as well as joint training, logistics and maintenance efforts.

There will also be declarations of intent for joint training and deployments of land forces with the Czech Republic and Romania, the source said.

Full article: Germany to deepen military ties with France, others: sources (Reuters)

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