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, Jean-Claude Juncker, said in an interview published on Sunday.
He 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.
“You would not create a European army to use it immediately,” Juncker told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper in Germany.
“But a common army among the Europeans would convey to Russia that we are serious about defending the values of the European Union.”
“Such an army would help us design a common foreign and security policy,”
“Europe’s image has suffered dramatically and also in terms of foreign policy, we don’t seem to be taken entirely seriously.”
Juncker also said he did not want a new force to challenge the role of Nato.
A UK government spokesman said: “Our position is crystal clear that defence is a national – not an EU – responsibility and that there is no prospect of that position changing and no prospect of a European army.”