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Germany

Schröder Stands by his NATO Reform Ideas

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder stood by his call for an overhaul of NATO on Tuesday despite the dismay and disapproval it earned at a transatlantic security conference last weekend. Germany wants a panel of experts to present ideas on revamping the 26-nation alliance and wants it to become a forum for discussion of non-military issues, including areas of dispute across the Atlantic. "That some people at the conference itself may have held a somewhat different view is something I can fully understand," Schröder told a news conference after meeting the president of the European Commission in Brussels on Wednesday. "But I really believe that it contributes to a strengthening of NATO and transatlantic relations if we speak more openly on political issues than we have tended to in the past." NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer rejected the idea of setting up an expert panel on the organisation's future. Nevertheless, the German proposals do reflect efforts de Hoop Scheffer has already launched to mould NATO into a forum where politics are raised along with military matters.

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