Merkel calls for creation of ‘real, true European army’

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday called for the creation of a “real, true European army” at a meeting of the European Parliament.

“We have to create a European intervention force so that we can tackle issues immediately on the ground,” she said. “We have already achieved cooperation in the military sphere, that is good, and we are going to continue to support this. But what we should do, and this is really important if we look at the developments over the past years, we have to work on a vision of one day creating a real, true European army.”

{mosads}Merkel’s remarks come just days after similar comments from French President Emmanuel Macron, who said a European military force is needed to deter potential threats from Russia, China and the U.S., noting that the continent needs “to defend itself better alone.”

“We must have a Europe that can defend itself on its own without relying only on the United States,” Macron said during a radio broadcast last week.

Merkel echoed Macron’s concerns that the U.S. may no longer be a reliable partner in defense.

“Only a stronger Europe is going to be able to defend its values and interests worldwide, and the times when we can rely on others are past,” she said. “This means that we as Europeans now really have to take our fate fully into our own hands if we want to fully defend our community.”

The chancellor added that a European ally would not act as a replacement to existing security alliances.

“I’m not saying it would be against NATO, of course not. We can be a good supplement to NATO,” she said, receiving applause from members of the European Parliament.

President Trump has spent the past few days slamming Macron’s comments about the need for a European fighting force.

“President Macron of France has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the U.S., China and Russia. Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly!” the president tweeted on Friday.

“Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two – How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!” Trump added on Tuesday.

Trump’s repeated threats to European allies if they do not increase their NATO funds, coupled with his proclamations that he is a nationalist, has raised concerns that the U.S. relationship with the European Union is weakening.

“Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism,” Macron said on Sunday. “Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. By saying our interests first … we erase what a nation holds dearest, what gives it life, what gives it grace, and what is essential: its moral values.”

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