A German soldiers’ union has come out against proposed plans to allow non-German citizens into the Bundeswehr which could hamper plans for a European Union (EU) army.
The Armed Forces Association, which is the largest pressure group for the interests of soldiers in Germany, have come out clearly opposed to the German Federal government’s proposal to open up the armed forces to EU nationals, Die Welt reports.
“German citizenship is fundamental to us and must remain – because of the special mutual loyalty between state and soldier and the legal establishment,” said André Wüstner who heads the association.
The response comes after a new white paper was released by the Federal Government Security Policy in which policy makers look toward integrating the German forces further within the EU. In the 83-page document it states: “Finally, the opening of the Bundeswehr for citizens of the EU would not only mean a far-reaching integration and regeneration potential for reenforcing personnel of the Bundeswehr, but would also be a strong signal of the European perspective.”
Since the creation of the German armed forces, or Bundeswehr, in the aftermath of the Second World War, the forces have been comprised exclusively of German citizens.
For Mr. Wüstner the new proposal is simply not feasible and he argued that the life and responsibility of a soldier isn’t like any other profession and can’t be as readily open to change, saying: “The legal framework and the value-based management philosophy must never be diluted by the openness for new concepts.”
Many see the new proposal as just another step toward an EU armed forces. In the immediate aftermath of the Brexit result plans for an EU armed forces were leaked which included information that an EU army would include all member states. The document also revealed a potential membership in the Union for Turkey as well.
EU leaders have been calling for further integration of European military forces over the past year due to the fractured response to the migrant crisis. The referendum result for the UK to leave the Union has further intensified calls for an EU force from officials like German foreign affairs chief Elmar Brok who said: “We need a common (military) headquarters and a coalition (of EU countries) acting in accordance with the permanent structural cooperation of the EU Treaty. From such a group an EU army could eventually arise.”
The German government has already started plans to integrate the Bundeswehr with other European forces in the Netherlands as Breitbart London reported earlier this year. The statement by the Armed Forces Association is the first real push back to the plans for further integration, and may not be the last.