Germany’s Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has revealed that “Europe’s army is already taking shape” in an op-ed published in German newspaper Handelsblatt Thursday.
She wrote, “Given the global environment, Europe needs to improve its ability to act on behalf of its own security” and continued to explain that among the nations of the EU, Germany and France are the “driving forces in defense.”
Defense Minister Leyen also defended the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) defense plan against its critics, which coordinates 25 separate European armies to operate alongside each other. She said that each of the 25 nations included in PESCO joined the program “not because we’re following requirements from Brussels, but voluntarily, because we see the obvious benefits, and because it’s in Europe’s security interests.”
She concluded her article by saying that Europe “remains a unique creation” that unites half-a-billion citizens in the name of freedom and prosperity “despite Brexit.”
Defense Minister Leyan’s statements come after French President Emmanuel Macron’s and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s called for “a true European army” in response to Russia’s military encroachment in Ukraine as well as the United States’ decision to withdraw from a Cold War-era arms control pact with Russia. (RELATED: Merkel Backs Macron: Calls For A Real, True European Army)
In November, President Macron claimed that a European army might be necessary for Europe to defend itself against Russia, China and even the U.S, to which President Trump responded by saying that perhaps Europe should pay its fair share of NATO before bolstering its military.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 9, 2018