Angela Merkel is again calling for the European Union to create its own army warning that the bloc will not be able to rely on others to guarantee its security any more.
She believes that the US and UK are both too weak now that Donald Trump is about to enter the White House and Britain is about to leave the EU
The Express reports:
The Berlin chief said Brussels will have to take on “more responsibility in the world” as she predicted a cooling in trans-Atlantic ties under the eurosceptic President-elect.
And describing Brexit as “emotional” for her she urged the remaining 27 member states to use Britain’s decision to leave to railroad through ever closer military cooperation.
Mrs Merkel made the remarks as she picked up honorary degrees from two Belgian universities which were awarded in recognition of her work towards a ‘unified Europe’.
They come as eurocrats continue to press forward with plans for much closer European cooperation on military matters – a so-called ‘Defence Union’ – which is seen by most observers as the back-door creation of an EU army.
EU chiefs were recently forced to drop controversial plans for a joint military headquarters in Brussels after Britain pledged to veto them, but Mrs Merkel hinted they will be back on the table immediately after Brexit.
Concerns have been raised that an EU army will fatally undermine NATO – the western military alliance which has kept peace on the continent for 50 years – by creating a competing command structure.
But Mrs Merkel insisted such a force will need to come into being in part because of the indifference of Mr Trump, who takes office on January 21, towards the entire euro project.
She said: “Let’s not fool ourselves. From the point of view of some of our traditional partners – and I am thinking here as well about the transatlantic relations – there is no eternal guarantee for a close cooperation with us Europeans.
“I’m convinced that Europe and the EU will have to learn to take on more responsibility in the world.”
The German leader insisted that only Brussels, and not individual member states, can successfully solve global problems, citing defence issues including Russian aggression in Ukraine.
She said: “Europe is facing the biggest challenges for decades. It would be naive to always rely on others to solve the problems in our neighbourhood.”
In a speech to delegates in the Belgian capital she also addressed the issue of Brexit, which she said was an “emotional moment” but also presented Europe with the opportunity to press forwards with its military plans.
She said: “We should see this decision as an incentive to work together, to hold Europe together now more than ever.
“We must not be allowed to divide ourselves apart. The 27 have to appear together in the negotiations.”