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Germany

Struck Defends Plans for EU Military

Peter Struck, Germany's defence minister, has defended plans to set up an autonomous EU military planning cell alongside NATO, but insisted the U.S.-dominated alliance remained the "first choice" for crisis operations. Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday in Berlin, Struck said developing an EU capability was not about duplicating the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation but providing "a necessary complement in a changing environment." He said he had spoken with his US counterpart Donald Rumsfeld to press the case. "Whether I have succeeded in doing so will be known in a few weeks," Struck said. He added that he saw NATO as the first choice for any crisis operation for American and European allied forces. But the EU would decide whether it would be willing to take over leadership if NATO did not want to engage in a particular situation, Struck said.