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France’s Macron calls for ‘European army’ to counter US, China, Russia

French President Emmanuel Macron (en.Kremlin.ru/Released)
November 07, 2018

French President Emmanuel Macron has called for a “true European army” to counter threats from major powers like the U.S., China and Russia.

“We will not protect the Europeans unless we decide to have a true European army,” Macron said during an interview on French radio, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

“We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America,” he said.

Macon has been calling for a joint European military force since last year when he was elected. Given recent collaborative efforts among European nations, a joint military force may be a close possibility.

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Last year, the E.U. established a joint defense spending fund, and France led the development of a crises response force with nine countries.

Macon seems to be addressing the joint military force possibility with urgency now that President Donald Trump has withdrawn the U.S. from the weapons treaty with Russia.

“When I see President Trump announcing that he’s quitting a major disarmament treaty, who is the main victim? Europe and its security,” he said, according to Time Magazine. “We need a Europe which defends itself better alone, without just depending on the United States, in a more sovereign manner.”

Europe remains dependent on the U.S. for its defense due to short military capabilities. European countries have struggled to meet the NATO-directed defense spending contribution of two percent of GDP. Additionally, European countries have not had much success in establishing joint military initiatives outside NATO.

The E.U. has attempted to address this problem with initiatives to establish defense needs, and encouraging a joint effort to develop procurement projects to meet these needs.

Spokesperson for the European Commission Margaritis Schinas said this week that it was too early to be discussing an E.U. army.

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“I don’t think this defense identity will start with an EU army,” Schinas said, adding that areas of focus included research, funding and procurement.

Macron is set to invite world leaders – including those from the U.S., China and Russia – to celebrations on Nov. 11 marking the World War I Armistice. Commemoration ceremonies are set to take place on Remembrance Sunday.