Angela Merkel heckled during speech in German Bundestag
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An EU-led military strategy should encompass Britain, said Armin Laschet, amid calls for strengthened armed forces within Europe. These calls for bolstered military capacity have grown louder since the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August.
EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, advocated for the existence of a “first entry force” which would respond efficiently to crisis situations, like Afghanistan, and diminish EU reliance on the United States.
“Sometimes there are events that catalyse history, that create a breakthrough, and I think that Afghanistan is one of these cases,” Mr Borrell said.
According to Mr Laschet, writing in the German daily Handelsblatt, security off the back of the Afghanistan takeover would be a fundamental principle of his approach to European policy.
“This European approach,” he continued, “deliberately includes Great Britain.”
An Express.co.uk reader said: “A key reason I voted to leave. We must not be a part of this EU army.”
Another said: “Simple answer ‘NO’.”
And someone else said: “This guy completely lost the plot. The UK and many EU countries are already part of NATO so there’s a framework for military cooperation. However, an EU army would be a feature of a super state that the British voted not to be a part of.”
Meanwhile, Spanish MEP Hermann Tertsch told Express.co.uk: “It would be very scary to have an supranational police which is able to violate sovereignty of other members.
“For the same reason I strongly oppose this renewed ridiculous appeal to create a ‘European army’.”
NATO’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, also hit back at Mr Laschet’s calls for an EU army, saying in an interview with The Telegraph that an “EU rapid reaction force” could push NATO capabilities beyond their limits.
Mr Stoltenberg, in this interview, stressed that an EU army would “divide Europe,” and debilitate transatlantic alliances.
Tory MP for Wokingham, Sir John Redwood, told Express.co.uk that “the EU needs to make a bigger contribution to NATO if it wants to strengthen its defences.”
As well as pushing for an EU army, Mr Laschet has pushed the idea of a “European FBI,” spearheaded by Germany and France.
This “European FBI” would build on the current Europol, based in The Hague.
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It would take a more digitally combative approach to European security, according to Mr Laschet, who is hoping to succeed Angela Merkel as German Chancellor.
Mr Laschet called for the creation of this new supranational “FBI” ahead of talks with French President, Emmanuel Macron.
He said: “A well-defended state must also be able to defend itself in the digital world, which is why we have to think more digitally about internal security.
“This includes, on the one hand, protecting critical infrastructures that enable our daily lives, and, on the other hand, preventing cybercrime and effective online criminal prosecution.
“In doing so, we must create European opportunities for cyber self-defence and develop Europol in the cyber sector into a European FBI in order to react in a networked manner to digital threats that are often harbingers of analogue crimes.”
One Twitter user voiced his concern about the proposed EU army, commenting: “One of the big dangers of the nascent EU Army is that it will be used to threaten countries that want to leave the bloc or refuse to comply with orders from Brussels.”
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