French, German defence ministers call for more European defence

  • Petr Boháček
  • 16.2.2018 17:50

French and German Defence Ministers, Florence Parly and Ursula Von der Leyen, opened up the annual Munich Security Conference on 16 February with calls for more European security integration and a new European security culture.

In their opening speeches, both ministers signaled appetite for more defence spending, but while Parly pledged France would reach the 2% of GDP requirement by 2025, Von der Leyen did not refer to the threshold, which was left out of the CDU/CSU-SPD coalition agreement. The German minister, however, committed to increases in spending, defence cooperation and troops numbers. Both ministers agreed on the indispensability of NATO, while stressing that Europe needs to achieve strategic autonomy by adding military capabilities to its diplomatic and development support tools. Germany should be more active in counter-terrorism, or in Mali and Iraq, and Parly added that Europe must be able to fight terrorism in Northern Africa without the US, emphasizing that the French-proposed European Intervention Initiative would nurture a common strategic culture. The East-West divisions, or EU's potential rivalry with the US defence industry or NATO will stay as something to watch for with regard to the European defence integration projects.

About author: Petr Boháček

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