Monday

4th Jul 2022

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

Become an expert on Europe

Get 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

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.

Analysis

CDU election - Merkel's big gamble or master move?

As the functions of Christian Democratic Union party leader and chancellor have historically always been held by the same person, the next CDU leader could take over Merkel's main job as well.

Opinion

The euro — who's next?

Bulgaria's target date for joining the eurozone, 1 January 2024, seems elusive. The collapse of Kiril Petkov's government, likely fresh elections, with populists trying to score cheap points against the 'diktat of the eurocrats', might well delay accession.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  4. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  6. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022

Latest News

  1. ECB announces major green shift in corporate bond-buying
  2. Ex-Frontex chief 'uninvited' from parliament committee
  3. Czech presidency and key nuclear/gas vote This WEEK
  4. The human rights aspects of Grenoble's 'burkini' controversy
  5. Council must act on core of EU migration package
  6. Nato's Madrid summit — key takeaways
  7. Czech presidency to fortify EU embrace of Ukraine
  8. Covid-profiting super rich should fight hunger, says UN food chief

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us