Macron wants a European army

French President Emmanuel Macron has called for the creation of a "true, European army", arguing that Europe needs to be able to defend itself "with respect to China, Russia and even the United States". Is his demand reasonable, and what would be the consequences if it is implemented?

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Stuttgarter Nachrichten (DE) /

Violation of national sovereignty

Christoph Reisinger, editor-in-chief of the Stuttgarter Nachrichten, takes a dim view of Macron's proposal:

“The fact is that a European army would above all mean one thing: the violation of national sovereignty where it counts most: when war and peace are at stake. ... Ultimately a 'true European army' means that an EU institution will have the say on where and how troops are deployed. As far as the division of labour is concerned, at the very least that means that if Germany supplies parachutists, for example, they must be at the disposal of all other states participating in the joint army. And naturally also for missions whose purpose hardly anyone in Germany understands or agrees with. And that's supposed to be the ideal solution?”

Ria Novosti (RU) /

Trump would be left empty-handed

Ria Novosti recalls that the US president has long been demanding that the Europeans raise their defence budgets:

“With his declaration on a European army that acts independently of the US on principle and even protects Europe against the US, Macron is on the one hand showing the willingness to spend money on improving Europe's security (and thus depriving Trump of his main line of argument). On the other hand he insists that these funds must stay in the EU and not end up in the Pentagon's coffers. In such a scenario Washington lacks any really good options for continuing the discussion. Naturally one could cast the French and Germans as notoriously incompetent in military affairs. But while voters in Alabama might fall for that kind of talk, in the EU it would only strengthen anti-American initiatives.”

The Independent (GB) /

British can't expect protection

In the event that a European army is established Britain is unlikely to benefit, The Independent fears:

“Yet closer military cooperation in the EU is unlikely to involve the UK after Brexit - not that a Conservative government would embrace this if it were on offer anyway. Why would an EU army have an interest in protecting the UK when Brussels has played a hardball game in negotiations on customs, trade and the divorce bill? A reforming EU, of which Macron is a leading player, is trying to discourage other nations from pursuing an exit strategy - so allowing the UK another Brexit opt-in, on military cooperation, is highly unlikely.”