Defence Minister: “EU Army” Should Not Duplicate NATO

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Croatian Defence Minister Josip Buljević comments on the idea that EU should have its own army.

Defence ministers of EU member states, including Croatia’s Defence Minister Josip Buljević, gathered at an informal meeting in Bratislava on Tuesday, where they for the first time heard details about the German-French initiative on the most ambitious defence plan for the European Union in the past two decades, reports Večernji List on September 28, 2016.

Although some have already interpreted this as a step towards the creation of an EU army, the outgoing Defence Minister pointed out that it would be just cooperation between the militaries. “At the moment, this is indeed just a military cooperation, and not the beginning of a process towards the EU army. There is a high degree of agreement among member states that we should not duplicate capacities which already exist within NATO”, said Buljević.

The German-French proposal includes stronger funding for military missions, joint development of military technology, the expansion of EU military missions in the world and building stronger defence structures for cyber attacks. Great Britain, which still has veto power until its leaves the EU, said that it would not allow any EU plans to undermine NATO.

“We will continue to oppose any idea of ​​a European army. We agree that Europe needs to do more as it is facing terrorism and migrations, but duplicating or undermining NATO is not a good way to do it”, said British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon. German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and her French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drain said that this was not a plan about Europeans wearing the same military uniform. “On the contrary, it is a unification of forces of European countries to be ready to act together quickly”, said von der Leyen.

According to Reuters, the German-French plan would strengthen the EU’s ability to act without the assistance of the United States if someone challenges it on its borders, such as a failed state or increasingly aggressive Russia. Britain has been the biggest opponent of creating common European defence capabilities because it sees it as a transformation of the European Union into a “super state”. But now when it is on its way out of the EU, the rest of the European Union is trying to intensify cooperation in the field of defence.


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