German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the European Parliament in Strasbourg on November 13 that Europe needs its own army.
“The times when we could rely on others are over. This means we Europeans have to take our fate fully into our own hands,” Merkel said in the latest of the series of debates on the Future of Europe in the European Parliament. “We should work on a vision of one day establishing a real European army.”
However, she also stressed that such an army would not undermine the US-led military alliance Nato but would be complementary to it.
As reported by the Reuters news agency, the creation of a European army was also raised by French President Emmanuel Macron during his recent meeting with US President Donald Trump in Paris. The idea was criticised by Trump who tweeted that Macron is seeking to develop the EU’s own military to defend itself from the United States. However, EU and French officials said was a misunderstanding.
Supporters of a European defence union, however, say the EU has struggled in military and humanitarian missions in the Balkans, Libya and Africa, and that it was caught off guard by Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
According to Reuters, Merkel’s address comes at a time when the EU is searching for answers to a US president who views the EU with contempt, to the rise of illiberal democracies and nationalist parties within its borders, and to Britain’s vote to leave the bloc.
Merkel made appeals for tolerance and solidarity, saying “nationalism and egotism should no longer have a place in Europe” to a sustained applause.