GERMANY’S defence minister says an EU army is “already taking shape” as the bloc looks to deepen military cooperation between member states.
Ursula Von der Leyen said Europe “needs to improve its ability to act on behalf of its own security” at a time of global uncertainty, adding major progress has been made towards realising a joint defence force.
Like the development of the EU’s single market and free movement principle, developing a European army will take time, she said.
But she said cooperation between member states has been boosted in recent months thanks to new reforms and the “obvious benefit” of working together.
Writing in the German newspaper Handelsblatt, Ms Von der Leyen hit back at claims by another German politician who argued the EU should forge ahead with building a “real European army” instead of just talking about it.
In response, she said Wolfgang Clement was right in principle but had neglected to mention “the progress we Europeans have made in the last few years”.
She said: “Europe’s army is already taking shape.
“Reforms over the past months and years have brought our armed forces closer together. We’re working quickly.
“But let’s not forget that achievements that are now taken for granted, such as the internal EU market or freedom of movement didn’t happen overnight.
“They came about thanks to careful, measured progress, and member states pursing clear goals, one step after another.”
EU leaders including Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron have previously expressed their hopes of forming an EU defence force.