French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that Europeans cannot be protected without a “true, European army”, as he marks the centenary of the World War One Armistice.
On a visit to the former Western Front in Verdun, he said Russia had shown it could be a threat and Europe had to be able “to defend itself better alone”.
Russia’s president will be among world leaders marking the Armistice in Paris.
Mr Macron has already proposed a joint intervention force for crisis missions.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel backed the idea of an intervention force in June, but said it would have to be part of “the structure of defence co-operation”.
The UK, while in favour of such a joint force, is opposed to a European army, because of the potential risk of creating a parallel structure to Nato.
President Macron has already warned that Europeans can no longer rely on the US to defend them, and he revived the theme on Tuesday, in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of a 1987 nuclear treaty with Russia, banning medium-range ground-launched missiles.
“We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America,” he told French radio station Europe 1.
“Who is the main victim? Europe and its security. I want to build a real security dialogue with Russia, which is a country I respect, a European country – but we must have a Europe that can defend itself on its own without relying only on the United States.”
SOURCE: BBC News