Wednesday

18th Sep 2019

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

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join 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".

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.

Cyprus and Greece to create EU spy academy

EU ministers have agreed to create a new "intelligence school" and to jointly build new drones and attack helicopters, amid French and German calls for a future "EU army".

News in Brief

  1. Tusk praises Balkan bid for EU accession
  2. Apple and Ireland appeal €13bn EU tax ruling
  3. UK PM should provide witness statement, court told
  4. Italy's ex-PM Renzi quits ruling Democratic Party
  5. German top lawmaker scolds Bettel over Johnson snub
  6. Greens decide on Tuesday on talks on Five Star joining
  7. Belgian mayors give Juncker a tongue-lashing
  8. Von der Leyen defends 'way of life' slogan

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  2. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  6. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  8. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  9. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  10. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  11. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat

Latest News

  1. These are the crunch issues for 2019-2024 EU commission
  2. Defending the 'European way of life' name splits MEPs
  3. Hungary claims EU 'witch-hunt' over rule of law hearing
  4. Trumpworld In Europe
  5. How EU firms and banks help fund Amazon fires
  6. Amazon fires mean EP must rethink Mercosur trade deal
  7. EU must give full support to Ukraine to dissuade Kremlin
  8. EU divided on how to protect rule of law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us