Merkel calls for a 'real, true' European army

Merkel calls for a 'real, true' European army

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a debate on the future of Europe during a plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on November 13, 2018. AFP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday made a clear call for a future European army, in an apparent rebuke to US President Donald Trump who has called such proposals "very insulting".

Addressing European MEPs on her vision for the future of Europe, Merkel also called for a European Security Council that would centralise defence and security policy on the continent.

"What is really important, if we look at the developments of the past year, is that we have to work on a vision of one day creating a real, true European army," Merkel told a session of European Parliament, drawing applause and some boos.

Merkel added that the proposal could be run in parallel to trans-Atlantic cooperation within the Nato military alliance, but that "only a stronger Europe is going to defend Europe".

"Europe must take our fate into our own hands if we want to protect our community," she added.

Merkel also said: "I will propose the establishment of a European Security Council with a rotating presidency."

Merkel's call came as Trump again mocked French President Emmanuel Macron for his own suggestion to create a European army, a proposal that Washington fears could overshadow the Nato alliance.

Last week, Trump slammed the idea in a tweet as "very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of Nato, which the US subsidises greatly!"

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Sunday that any European army "will have to align with Nato forces" and not be in opposition to or competition with US forces.