European Army: Merkel Calls for Development of EU Weapons Systems

A French soldier of the European Union peacekeepers carries his gears as he walks into Farchana camp, East of Chad after returning from patrol on June. 27, 2008 where EUFOR contingent have deployed to secure refugees camps and protect local population from attacks by different local militiamen. The mainly French …
ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that the European Union must deepen its defence cooperation, including developing shared weapons systems.

“It is good that after several decades we want to develop a common defense policy… We must develop weapons systems together,” Dr Merkel said in comments on Saturday reported by Reuters.

The German chancellor went on to tell her fellow Christian Democratic Union (CDU) members in a speech in Rostock, in Merkel’s home state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, that the EU should consider sweeping aside its “very strict export rules” because “anyone who develops an airplane with us would also like to know whether they can sell the plane with us.”

“We will have to make compromises, that is what we are talking about at the moment,” she added.

The comments come after Merkel expressed support for French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron’s call for the European Union to have its own army to protect itself from a number of external threats, including the United States — comments which were condemned by U.S. President Donald J. Trump as “very insulting.”

The prospect of an EU army was once labelled a “dangerous fantasy” by Remain campaigners during the UK’s referendum on membership of the bloc, until November 2017 when Brexiteers’ fears were realised after 23 nations signed up to the Permanent Structured Cooperation process, or PESCO.

PESCO is key to the bloc’s Defence Union plans set out by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who had declared the bloc needs a fully-fledged army by 2025.

At the end of last year, the EU unveiled plans for a series of military projects including medium-range missile development and a spy school as part of its proto-army force.

In January, Germany’s defence minister confirmed that “Europe’s army is already taking shape.”

“Reforms in recent past months and years have brought our armed forces closer together. We’re working quickly,” Ursula von der Leyen wrote.

She added that “Germany and France are the driving forces in defence” and welcomed Merkel and Macron’s decision to sign a treaty for closer cooperation including further blurring the borders between the two countries and shared defence strategies.

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