On the 70th anniversary of the formal end of World War II between the Allies and Nazi Germany,
once again finds itself in a perilous situation.
Officially a neutral non-participant in World War II,
became a founding member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) four years after the war ended. It remains a valued partner. Portugal
During a recent visit to
Lisbon, the chief of NATO, Jens
Stoltenberg noted, “we are facing a dramatically changed security environment
in Europe.” He was referring to new and
serious threats from both north and south.
Stoltenberg, the former prime minister of
praised Portugal for its contribution
to NATO’s presence in north-eastern Europe in the face of hostility from
Putin’s . Russia
Portugal sending ground troops to Lithuania and F-16 jets for joint patrols in the
Baltic airspace bordering . Russia
be one of the countries hosting Trident Juncture, NATO’s biggest exercise since
the end of the Cold War. The five-week exercise will involve more than 25,000
troops at various locations in Portugal Portugal,
Spain and . Italy
The aim will be to train and test the NATO Response Force, a high readiness and technologically advanced force comprising of land, air, maritime and special forces units capable of being deployed quickly on operations wherever needed.
None of this will be lost on ISIS operating in
While security forces are alert to the possibility of isolated jihadist terror
attacks in this country as in others in Europe, the expressed intention of
Islamic extremists to renew the centuries-old Umayyad Caliphate in southern Iraq Portugal and remains nothing more than a
fanatical pipe dream. Spain
ISIS and all other potentially hostile forces know that
an attack on any one member of NATO would be treated as an attack on all.
Relatively modest in EU terms,
defence budget is 1.1% of GDP, the same as Germany
and Italy but lower than France and . The number of military men
and women on active duty totals 43,000, backed by a reserve force of 212,000
and 47,000 paramilitary personnel. It works out at a fairly high total per 1,000-capita
The Portuguese military have seen action over the past few years in combating piracy off
Horn of Africa, and contributing to UN peacekeeping missions. Most recently
they have been called upon to help with the EU’s “comprehensive response” to
the North African migrant crisis. Somalia
There is no simple solution to this ongoing migration problem, but EU leaders have agreed to triple funding to help rescue operations and stop people-smuggling boats.
Participation in all of this is not easy for a small country immersed in an EU-wide economic crisis that could get worse before it gets better, but
Portugal is playing its part in keeping Europe peaceful.