The German defence minister ahs said the The EU should have its own army
Ursula Von der Leyen warned the EU should create an army to stop terror threats, but insisted NATO is not outdated.
Earlier this month, Donald Trump, said NATO had failed to prevent terrorist attacks on US and EU soil and was therefore “obsolete”, sparking fears that the President would withdraw America from the intergovernmental military alliance.
Mrs Von der Leyen shrugged off Mr Trump’s comments, but admitted the European Union had to step up its game by modernising its military defence to match NATO’s.
She said: “The EU needs a new defence policy. As Europeans, we must take greater responsibility for our security, but in order to do so, we must remain confident. We must, however, strengthen EU defence cooperation in a manner that is complementary with NATO.”
But Mrs Von der Leyen said NATO is not just about defence.
She added: “It’s a military and political alliance based on common values of individual liberty, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”
German defence secretary Ursula Von der Leyen
Mrs Von der Leyen added that, in light of the current political turmoil, these common values were “more important now than ever before” and that it was time to “move from words to action”.
The EU needs a new defence policy
Ursula Von der Leyen
She said: “We need to sit down with the Trump administration to discuss NATO’s future, because I am confident that, despite what’s been said, the relationship between the US and NATO member states is one based on trust.”
When asked whether the Brexit vote would tear Europe apart, Mrs Von der Leyen said that the nationalist tide that had swept – and was continuing to sweep – across the bloc had served as a brutal reminder that member states had to remain “united”.
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Donald Trump recently called NATO 'Obselete'
NATO: Things you need to know
Tue, January 24, 2017
NATO – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty which was signed on 4th April 1949. The organization constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.
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One of the world’s major international institutions. It is a political and military Alliance of 28 member countries from Europe and North America. Photo shows: View of leaders of NATO, 1960.
She said: “Last year’s events taught us one thing: never take anything for granted. If we want member states to remain strong and united; stable and prosperous, we must reinforce our solidarity and defence capabilities."
Mrs Von der Leyen added that, in order to promote peace and stability across the bloc, member states also had to reach out to Vladimir Putin, who has made no effort to hide his disdain for the EU.
Mrs Von der Leyen believes the army would help to stop terror attacks
She said: “Mr Putin is not interested in a strong and stable Europe. It is not in Russia’s interests. That said, we, as Europeans, are convinced that a strong Europe is in our neighbour’s best interests.
"As is maintaining good relations with Russia. Because resorting to scare tactics to belittle others get you anywhere.”