Friday

1st Mar 2024

Merkel calls for 'real, true' EU army

  • Merkel received a standing ovation - but also boos from some MEPs (Photo: European Parliament)

German chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday backed the idea of creating a "real, true" army for the European Union as the geopolitical alliances are redrawn all over the world.

Merkel spoke to MEPs in Strasbourg on Tuesday (13 November) backing up France's Emmanuel Macron's call last week for a European army, and rebuking US president Donald Trump, who has tweeted that the idea was "insulting".

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The German chancellor, who has already announced this is her last term in office, also called for a European security council with a rotating presidency of each EU member state, "where decisions can be made more rapidly".

"The time when we can rely on others have passed, we have to take our fate into our own hands if we want to defend our community," Merkel told the European Parliament.

She said EU countries have to coordinate more on foreign policy and stand united in the world.

EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in September said the EU executive would propose new rules to shape some foreign policy issues by majority decisions, rather than unanimity among member states to avoid EU countries blocking common positions.

Merkel called for an EU rapid reaction force that would be turned into a "real, true" EU army, which would be a "supplement" to Nato, the military alliance with the US and Canada.

"What is really important, if we look at the developments of the past year, is that we have to work on a vision of one day creating a real, true European army," Merkel said drawing applause - and some boos - in the chamber.

At the weekend, Merkel, Macron, Trump and other world leaders marked the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One in Paris.

While Merkel, in her concise speech of just under 30 minutes, on Tuesday, backed Macron on defence, she did not call for deeper eurozone integration, something the French president hoped previously he could secure from the German chancellor.

Instead, Merkel joined in the chorus of EU leaders calling for innovative technologies in Europe.

Merkel stressed that solidarity among member states is needed, and only a united Europe can survive. She described Brexit as a "deep wound".

"Tolerance is the soul of Europe, it is an indispensable, basic value for us Europeans," she said.

'This is great, I am annoying people'

Merkel recently announced she would not seek re-election as chair of her political party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), making her current term as chancellor the last, which ends in 2021.

She called for a common asylum policy to better manage migration, and to avoid secondary migration: asylum seekers moving form one EU country to another. Merkel also called for a swift agreement to the already agreed ramping up the EU's border protection.

Throughout her speech Merkel was hackled by some of the MEPs, which the German chancellor seemed to take light-heartedly.

"I am pleased about this, this is great, I am annoying people," she said at one point during her speech to those who booed her.

France calls for EU 'army' to contain Russia

The EU needs a "real European army" to stand up to Russia, the French president has said. It must also fight populism at home by being less "ultra-liberal".

Opinion

How Ukraine made the case anew for an EU army

The Kremlin attacked Ukraine because it believed it could afford to. It perceived nuclear deterrence between Russia and the West as reciprocal, and therefore almost a non-issue. It also saw, in military terms, Europe is disappearing from the world map.

Opinion

A free Europe needs an army

A war in Ukraine would lead to an influx of refugees, and an unprecedented energy shortage. A Chinese takeover of Taiwan would shut down our economy due to a scarcity of semiconductors.

Opinion

Europe's military weakness is indefensible!

An EU army is not some ultra-federalist fantasy but a common-sense answer to the real-world challenges we face as European countries, says Guy Verhofstadt.

EU Commission clears Poland's access to up to €137bn EU funds

The European Commission has legally paved the way for Poland to access up to €137bn EU funds, following Donald Tusk's government's efforts to strengthen the independence of their judiciary and restore the rule of law in the country.

Latest News

  1. Deepfake dystopia — Russia's disinformation in Spain and Italy
  2. Putin's nuclear riposte to Macron fails to impress EU diplomats
  3. EU won't yet commit funding UN agency in Gaza amid hunger
  4. EU Commission clears Poland's access to up to €137bn EU funds
  5. Right of Reply: The EU-ACP Samoa agreement
  6. The macabre saga of Navalny's corpse
  7. Belgium braces for Flemish far-right gains, deadlock looms
  8. Podcast: Hyperlocal meets supranational

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us