France Maintains the Goal of Creating a ‘European Army’
Members of the French army walk on patrol through the base of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. (Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg)

France Maintains the Goal of Creating a ‘European Army’

(Bloomberg) -- France’s long term “ambition” is to work with several other states to create a European Army to share in procurement, command and operations, Defense Minister Florence Parly said in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper, reasserting the plan announced by President Emmanuel Macron.

Details of a continental army have yet to be defined and may emerge from the current European Intervention Initiative, an existing effort at military cooperation that has focused on procurement and operations among 10 nations. More countries, including Sweden and Norway, are expected to join, Parly said.

Heads of states and ministers from countries that are already part of the initiative will join Macron at today’s Bastille Day military parade in Paris and then lunch with him at the Elysee palace. German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be attending the events. In a statement today on his web site, Macron said “reinforcing our ability to act together” was his priority.

Ever since taking power, Macron has called for a European Union army, which has led to tensions with U.S. President Donald Trump, who has interpreted the initiative as an effort to shut out the U.S. The U.S. currently provides more than 40% of the military personnel to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Parly said Trump’s past threats to quit NATO has given the European army project a boost.

“President Trump has been an excellent ambassador for Europe’s defense,” she said, citing “the questioning and the almost transparent threat” to the continuation of the U.S.’s commitment to Europe’s protection.

While NATO was created to build a collective umbrella against the Soviet Union, with the U.S. at the forefront, Parly said a possible conflict with Russia wasn’t a motivation for creating a continental army.

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