Liberal and Democrat MEPs have today strongly welcomed plans drawn up by Germany and France defence ministers for closer EU defence cooperation, including a new military HQ and swifter deployment of overseas missions.
Commenting this afternoon, Guy Verhofstadt, President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats Group in the European Parliament said: “This is a timely and much needed step forward. With Brexit, an expansionist Russia and the real possibility of a Trump Presidency, the European Union can no longer rely on others to provide security in Europe. The European Council should now seriously discuss these proposals in Bratislava and commit to an ambitious timetable for the integration of EU military forces.”
“But I believe we should be even more ambitious; the ALDE Group last year adopted proposals for a European Defence Union, which called for an integrated European pillar of NATO based on battle groups, a joint and permanent EU military headquarters and a single EU budget for military research. The EU must be able to act autonomously in operations abroad, in particular when it comes to the stabilisation of our neighbourhood. “
Hilde Vautmans, the ALDE Group’s defence spokesperson and author of ALDE’s roadmap on EU-defence said: „The French-German initiative is a step forward, but it doesn’t go far enough. The time has come to go beyond basic co-operation and solidarity.”
“EU-citizens want the European Union to take care of their security. The time has come for an integrated EU military force under one political command and one clear EU-budget; we need to take decisions, not just little steps forward.”