Germany's Merkel adds to growing calls for a European army

Pauline Gross
November 16, 2018

Speaking to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday (Nov 13) hours after US President Donald Trump mocked the very same idea in his tweets, Dr Merkel told MPs that the continent should one day consider creating a "real true European army".

Ms. Merkel broached the notion of a "real, true European army", during a speech before a session of the European Parliament, echoing calls for a similar force made by French President Emanuel Macron last week. "The times when we could rely on others is past", she said.

"This means that we as Europeans now have to really take our fate fully into our own hands if we want to defend our community". She did not actually mention the United States, the historic ally of the Europeans through North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

In a speech undoubtedly aimed at Trump's brand of "America First" nationalism, Macron called nationalism a "betrayal of patriotism". EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was previously widely criticized for making the same suggestion, particularly by the UK, a close ally of the United States.

However, Trump spent the past weekend in Paris to commemorate the 100th anniversary of WWI where strained relations between the American president and European allies was on full display. He also hit out at the Chancellor for failing to use her powerful status in Brussels and influencing European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier to protect German industry. He also appeared to back French nationalists, commonly associated with far-right politician Marine Le Pen, who placed second in last year's presidential election against Macron, and her party National Rally (formerly the National Front).

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"Your political decision to open up the doors unconditionally is the worst decision we've seen in post-war politics in Europe", the former UKIP leader added.

Germany said this week it favoured the proposed European Union plan to tax big internet firms such as Google and Facebook on their turnover, which European Union officials say unfairly pay less tax than other companies.

European leaders have found themselves at odds with the Trump administration over numerous issues, including environmental concerns, the Iran nuclear deal and bilateral trade.

Merkel's comments came as Germany's cabinet prepares to present an artificial intelligence (AI) strategy to help Europe's biggest economy adjust to the digital era.

"It is always easier to say "we have sparkling tax revenues, we could also dole some out", she said.

Other reports by GizPress

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