The European Union needs its own army to help address the problem that it is not “taken entirely seriously” as an international force, the president of the European commission has said.
Jean-Claude Juncker said such a move would help the EU to persuade Russia that it was serious about defending its values in the face of the threat posed by Moscow.
However, his proposal was immediately rejected by the British government, which said that there was “no prospect” of the UK agreeing to the creation of an EU army.
“You would not create a European army to use it immediately,” Juncker told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper in Germany in an interview published on Sunday.
“But a common army among the Europeans would convey to Russia that we are serious about defending the values of the European Union.”
Juncker, who has been a longstanding advocate of an EU army, said getting member states to combine militarily would make spending more efficient and would encourage further European integration.