A DEFENCE expert has dismissed Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron’s plans for a ‘true European army’ stating it will not happen for a “few decades” at least after the leaders called for an increase in protection against external threats.
On Monday EU Foreign and Defence ministers had agreed upon joint military operations between countries to develop medium-range missiles and set up an intelligence training school.
Last week German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the European Parliament in Strasbourg: “We should work on a vision of one day establishing a real, true European army.”
However, a full alignment remains a distant prospect according to Ulrike Franke, a defence analyst at the European council on Foreign relations.
He told the Financial Times: “The term European army is very imprecise. It is a bit like talking about the United States of Europe: you can talk about it but it is clearly not meant to happen tomorrow.
“A real European army would mean a genuine fusion of Europe’s armed forces. And that is not something that we want to do or can do in the next few decades.”
However, German Defence minister Ursula von der Leyen believes an ‘army of Europeans’ is a more plausible option which will see military operations work closely with Europe but remain independent of one another.
He said: “The path we have taken leads step by step to an ‘army of Europeans’. Military forces that remain national responsibilities, but that are closely linked, uniformly equipped, and trained and ready for joint operations.”
It was agreed this week that France, Belgium and Cyprus will join together to develop a new medium-range missiles whilst Greece and Cyprus will lead a project to set up an intelligence training school.
French President Emmanuel Macron first suggested the idea of a ‘European army’ after claiming Europe had become a “victim” of foreign policy, firmly aiming criticism at Washington.
Mr Macron said: “We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America.