Now you want us! Merkel’s successor calls for Brexit Britain to be included in new EU army
Armin Laschet 'trying to save his reputation' says expert
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The German Chancellor hopeful backed calls for the formation of an EU army and claimed Brexit Britain should be included in the renewed European project for security and defence. Writing in the German daily Handelsblatt, Armin Laschet claimed security will be at the centre of his European policy.
In matters of foreign and security policy, he advocated introducing the majority principle in the EU – so far, unanimity has been required.
He called on EU NATO states to commit to the two percent target and “strengthen the European pillar of NATO”.
To do so, he claimed, Great Britain must be included.
He wrote: “In order to increase the unity of the EU on foreign and security policy issues, the majority principle is required, which increases the ability to act and implementation competence.
“Such a core Europe of foreign and security policy should not act exclusively, but should also integrate those states whose security interests are particularly affected, such as the eastern flank of NATO.
“The basis for all of this must be the creation of a new strategic compass for Europe and a common definition of foreign and security policy interests between the European Union and the USA with clear and realistic goals.
“This European approach deliberately includes Great Britain.”
Calls for an EU army soared in the wake of the Taliban reconquest of Afghanistan last month.
EU defence ministers met last month to discuss the plans as the crisis in Afghanistan highlighted the bloc’s ever-growing dependency on the US military.
The EU will present a draft proposal of a potential “first entry force” in November and wants to seal the deal when France takes over the six-month EU Council presidency from January 2022.
Germany called on the European Union to enable coalitions of the willing within the bloc to rapidly deploy a military force in a crisis.
And EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell urged the bloc to create a rapidly deployable “first entry force” of 5,000 troops to reduce dependency on the United States.
He said: “Sometimes there are events that catalyse history, that create a breakthrough, and I think that Afghanistan is one of these cases.”
He added that he hoped for a plan in October or November.
He said: “It represents a warning for the Europeans, they need to wake (up) and to take their own responsibilities.”
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Emmanuel Macron also put into question the bloc’s military alliance with the US within NATO while admitting the EU is “too weak” militarily as it stands today.
He said: “As I have done at every point in front of the French people, I would today like to say with resolute conviction: the Europe of today is too weak, too slow, too inefficient.
“But Europe alone can enable us to take action in the world, in the face of the big contemporary challenges.”
But NATO Secretary-General warned the formation of a united military force in the EU would divide Europe and undermine decades of efforts in geopolitical matters by the Alliance.
He said: “Any attempt to establish parallel structures, duplicate the command structure, that will weaken our joint capability to work together, because with scarce resources we need to prevent duplication and overlapping efforts.
“I welcome more European efforts on defence but that can never replace NATO and we need to make sure that Europe and North America band together.”
He added: “Any attempt to weaken the bond between North America and Europe will not only weaken NATO, it will divide Europe.”
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