You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Top Stories

Emmanuel Macron calls for creation of a ‘true European army’ to defend against Russia and the US

The Independent logo The Independent 11/6/2018 Jon Stone
a group of people in uniform: French President Emmanuel Macron © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited French President Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron has called for the creation of a “true European army” to allow the EU defend itself from threats ranging from Donald Trump to Vladimir Putin.

The French president has pushed for closer EU defence union since coming to power last year but has been so far met with limited success amid foot-dragging by other member states.

“We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America,” Mr Macron told France’s Europe 1 radio in an interview.

Download the Microsoft News app for your Android or iPhone device and get news & live updates on the go.

“When I see President Trump announcing that he's quitting a major disarmament treaty which was formed after the 1980s euro-missile crisis that hit Europe, who is the main victim? Europe and its security.”

Germany's Angela Merkel has previously given the nod to Macron's proposal © Getty Germany's Angela Merkel has previously given the nod to Macron's proposal

The French president continued: “We will not protect the Europeans unless we decide to have a true European army.

“We need a Europe which defends itself better alone, without just depending on the United States, in a more sovereign manner.”

Mr Macron was speaking in Verdun in north-east France as part of a week-long tour of battlefields leading up to First World War armistice centenary commemorations on Sunday.

The French head of state will receive world leaders including Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin for commemoration ceremonies in Paris on Remembrance Sunday.

The election of Mr Trump to the White House appears to have given more urgency to the cause of boosting the EU's defence capabilities, with leaders warning they cannot simply rely on the United States.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said last year that "deference to Nato can no longer be used as a convenient alibi to argue against greater European efforts".

France is the strongest and most vocal proponent of an EU army but Germany has also tentatively endorsed Mr Macron's proposals for a joint command structure for military interventions.

Video: Trump says US will pull out of nuclear pact with Russia (The Independent)

UP NEXT
UP NEXT

A number of proposals have been put on the table for how EU nations could cooperate more closely on defence. The European Commission says closer defence cooperation "is not about creating an EU Army".

34 joint missions by member states have been launched under the EU flag since 2003 under the Common Security and Defence Policy.

Under the new "Permanent Structured Cooperation" (Pesco) initiative legislated for in 2009 and activated in 2017, 25 of the 28 armed forces are in the process of stepping up cooperation between their militaries. Denmark, Malta, and the United Kingdom have decided to opt-out of the voluntary system.

© Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited
AdChoices
AdChoices

More from The Independent

The Independent
The Independent
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon