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EU is already building ‘united’ army, Germany’s defence minister says

Read: 1578     11:47     11 January 2019    

The German defence minister has said how a European joint force is 'already taking shape'. 

Ursula von der Leyen said Germany and France are 'driving forces' in European defence and said the two countries would assist each other in the event of an armed territorial attack.

She also hit back at those sceptical at the European Union's PESCO defence scheme activated in 2017, where national armies will co-operate on military projects.

The PESCO scheme, an acronym for Permanent Structured Cooperation, involves 25 armies working with one another.

One such project, adopted in late November, involves France, Belgium and Cyprus developing a Beyond Line of Sight Land Battlefield missile systems family.  

Another project, adopted in March last year, involves Greece, Italy and Slovakia developing and building a prototype European Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle.

She said that 25 countries had joined 'not because we’re following requirements from Brussels but voluntarily because the benefits are obvious and because it’s in Europe’s security interests'.    

Responding to an article by former German economics minister Wolfgang Clement on European defence, she had written in German newspaper Handelsblat on how reforms brought national armies closer together.

She said: 'We are making good progress. Despite Brexit, and the controversial debates us Europeans have among ourselves, Europe remains a unique creation, uniting half a billion citizens in the name of freedom and prosperity. 

'This community needs to be able to defend itself.'

The German politician has also proposed to create a security committee of parliaments in Europe which could be informed of 'crisis scenarios' as they happen.

It comes as the German government agreed on the text for an extended Elysèe Treaty. 

The original treaty was signed in 1963 as a friendship pact between West Germany and France. 

The extended treaty will be signed later this month by Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.


Tags: EU  

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