Jean-Claude Juncker mounts fresh push for EU army
Jean-Claude Juncker has launched a fresh drive for an EU army after the election of Donald Trump.
Mr Juncker argued a “community of defence” is required in Europe amid concerns the US will now withdraw from its leading role in Nato.
Mr Trump has previously cast doubts over his commitments to Nato agreements, as he questioned whether members of the group were “paying their bills”.
The push for an EU army has caused alarm in Britain, with MPs and security experts warning the UK could find itself isolated if the bloc established its own defence force and the US turned away from Nato.
“We need more security in Europe, and I do not mean just the anti-terror fight. Talking about security we need a different way of organising a European defence,” Mr Juncker said.
He said the French National Assembly prevented a European community of defence being established in 1954 over concerns of national sovereignty.
“We need it now. The idea that the Americans will eternally see to... European security is not true,” he said.
“Independent of the outcome of the US election, the Americans will not see to Europe’s security forever. We have to do it ourselves.
“And this is why we need a new approach to the European community of defence, including a European army.”
EU defence ministers will convene next week, with Britain vowing to block any move that could weaken Nato while it remains a member of the European Union.
According to the Times, British ministers and military chiefs will be working with counterparts in the Pentagon to demonstrate to the new administration why Nato membership is essential for American and European security.
UK officials would also like to see EU countries to strengthen commitments to Nato, rather than set up a rival defence structure.
A Tory MP and former defence minister has called on the Government to consider spending more than 2% of GDP on defence spending in light of events across the Atlantic.
“We [the UK] will have to revisit our level of defence spending because of the rising threat to our security and the Trump victory,” Julian Brazier said.