Senior Brussels figures have expressed their ‘delight’ after French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel backed forming an EU army.
Addressing media this week the senior spokesman for the European Commission said: “I’m now reading it as a Franco-German agreement. Of course, we are delighted the president of the French Republic and German chancellor within a few days publicly backed this idea.”
“We have many times explained how we see these things. This is the commission that wants Europe to have a meaningful defence identity.”
The spokesman was keen to add that “The first one that has spoken of an EU army four years ago was someone called Jean-Claude Juncker.”
The arch-Eurocrat called for an EU army in 2015, again stating in September 2017 that the bloc needed a “full-fledged” EU army by 2025.
On Tuesday, senior Member of European Parliament and leader of the progressive-liberal ALDE Parliament group Guy Verhofstadt congratulated his German and French colleagues, saying: “I am very pleased that both Merkel and Macron are now fully behind a European army. We fought for this for many years.”
“It was President Macron in a speech during the commemoration of the First World War who said 28 different armies — it’s a waste of money. At the same time it’s also a danger for our collective security and that has to change in Europe. So, that’s our project,” Verhofstadt added at the ALDE Congress in Madrid.
Deemed a “dangerous fantasy” by Remain campaigner Nick Clegg during the 2016 referendum, Brexiteers’ and UKIP’s fears of an ever-closer union resulting in a single army were vindicated Tuesday when Chancellor Merkel told the European Parliament that the bloc needed a “real, true, European army” a week after Macron called for the same to defend against Russia, China, and the U.S.