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American and EU diplomats, along with NATO officials, continue to grapple with the consequences of a separate European military capability, specifically in regard to undermining the purpose of NATO, but more generally in terms of how it would operate in international affairs. America is most concerned with proposals for an operational EU military headquarters, describing such a reality as a serious threat to the continued existence of a viable NATO. Adding more concern to the American side is the recent middle-of-the-road course taken by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who maintains resistance to the most ambitious Franco-German plans, but believes that Europe needs a military capability independent of NATO.
At an extraordinary meeting on Monday, European countries adamantly assured the U.S. that a EU military would complement NATO and go to great lengths to avoid duplication. It was obvious, however, that they failed to address America's primary concern that a EU military headquarters could conduct planning and operations outside NATO supervision and control.
Propelling the discussion is the drafting of the European Constitution, which would include a definition of European defense commitments.
Source: International Herald Tribune