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Speech in front of EU Parliament: Merkel calls for “real European army”

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In her speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Chancellor Merkel called for the introduction of a European army. Merkel said, “We must work on the vision of creating a true European army.” In response to this announcement, many MPs gave long-lasting applause – but also many boos and noises. “A common European army would show the world that there is never again war between the European countries,” said the Chancellor.

Merkel also said that such a step was not a departure from NATO. It could not see any contradiction if a European army were to operate within NATO. In addition, such a structure could lead to efficiency gains if Europeans reduced the large number of different weapon systems through the joint forces.

The boos for Merkel came, according to deputies in the room mainly from right-wing parliamentarians. Members of the EU-critical British UKIP also participated, participants reported. Merkel only said: “The fact that I hit the core is shown by the protest. That is beautiful and honorable. “Parliament Speaker Antonio Tajani asked rhetorically,” Do we need a veterinarian in this room? “

France’s head of state, Emmanuel Macron , once again launched a ” real European army ” last week for more independence from the US, repeatedly criticizing US President Donald Trump. Last spoke also SPD leader Andrea Nahles and Merkel’s possible successor in the CDU chairmanship, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, for a European army from.

Structure of the army so far completely unclear

What a European army might look like is so far unclear. According to France, a small group of states could, as a first step, build up a powerful intervention force for crisis operations, for example in Africa. Only in the next stage would the project of a “real European army” be tackled. However, the Federal Government views this critically, because Macron wants to build the intervention force outside the EU framework in order to include the British who are leaving the EU.

“A European army must be established within the European Union and not outside. That’s what we created the European Defense Union a year ago, “said Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen last week. She also repeatedly made it clear that responsibility for troop missions must remain with the states and parliaments. Instead of a European army she spoke on Monday of an ” army of Europeans “.

The EU has had crisis response forces since 2007. However, the so-called battlegroups have never been used, among other things, because the troop contributors would have to bear the cost of the operation itself.

Trump is against European army

US President Trump had recently spoken out against the idea of ​​a European idea. Europe should first pay “its fair share of NATO,” he criticized. Macron, on the other hand, openly demands that Europe become less dependent on the US. “What I do not want to see are European countries that increase their defense budget to buy (US) American or other weapons,” he told CNN on Sunday.

Then Trump tweeted on Tuesday: “Emmanuel Macron proposes to build up his own army to defend Europe against the US, China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One and Two – how did that go for France? They started learning German in Paris before the US passed. Pay for NATO or not! “

Further topics: Economy and Migration

In addition to foreign and security policy Merkel went into two other fields: In economic and financial policy, she appealed to the euro countries to abide by the rules. Anyone who insists on solving problems solely through new debts and disregards previous commitments would question the euro area, Merkel said on Tuesday in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. The euro can only work if each member fulfills the responsibility for sound finances.

Merkel did not name a country by name. However, the EU Commission is currently arguing with Italy about the state budget 2019, which provides for a much higher debt than previously agreed.

Merkel called for a strengthening of European institutions in the field of flight and migration. Europe must find common ways of dealing with flight and migration, she said about the future of Europe. If everyone keeps their national jurisdiction and no one wants to give responsibilities to the European border patrol, “then no matter how big and good, they will not be able to carry out their work”. Here, Member States would have to do without national competencies.

She called for a common European asylum procedure. If everyone made their decisions differently, the affected people would immediately know that they would then move on within the EU. Without joint action it would not be possible to cope with the task, she added under applause as well as boos to parliamentarians.

Mutual respect and solidarity always means to overcome national egoisms, stressed Merkel and acknowledged that Germany “did not always behave perfectly”: So you have in the years before the escape and migration movement of 2015 “much too long needed “To accept the refugee issue as a pan-European task.