Ilta-Sanomat has reported that Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö had spoken in favour of shared European defence for years, and now he has received support from both France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.
German Chancellor Merkel spoke at the European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg on Tuesday and she said the European Union should establish a joint army. French President Macron and European Commission President Juncker have also spoken on behalf of a European army.
According to Ms Merkel, EU joint defence is a supplement to NATO, and it is time for Europe to take its fate into its own hands. Ms Merkel also emphasised tolerance and solidarity in her speech. She said the EU needs a joint approach to immigration.
President Niinistö said he was pleased that the matter is being discussed, but stated that it is about deeper security cooperation rather than a common army. Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker spoke about a common army five years ago, but it is important to understand this correctly. The EU has 28 armies and NATO also relies on the armies of its member states.
Mr Niinistö pointed out the fact that NATO has no own army at all. NATO relies on the national armies of its members. A European army would be something like that – close cooperation with the defence sector. He noted that common troops are hard to define as a term and lead to misguided perceptions.