WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel, the leading Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding the “European reassurance initiative” that President Obama announced today in Warsaw:
“With his announcement today, President Obama has sent a clear message that standing for a Europe whole and free remains a priority for the United States, and that President Putin's challenge to our allies and friends will not go unanswered.
“We need to be clear-eyed about what has happened in recent months: by seizing Crimea, Russia became the first country to forcibly annex territory in Europe since World War II. Russia’s continued destabilizing actions in Ukraine demand a renewed focus on European defense, and the President's plan will help to meet that challenge.
“Now is the time for our NATO allies to do the same. Currently, only four members are meeting their obligations in terms of defense spending. If NATO is to play a role in the 21st century, the alliance must be a shared commitment and a shared responsibility. I call on my friends in Congress—Democrats and Republicans—and our allies abroad to follow President Obama's lead and support a strong defense for Europe's democracies.”