'Wrong signal at a disastrous time' German ex-defence chief savages EU Army plan

Willy Wimmer said building an EU-wide force when the world is “more fragile than we want it to be” is just a scare tactic.

The former Germany deputy defence secretary hit out at Brussels for even putting forward the idea.

He added the way EU bosses have gone about the proposal has been abysmal as the European people have no idea what such an army would entail.

The 74-year-old told RT: “I think it’s a wrong signal at a disastrous time.

“The world is more fragile than we want it to be, and there is a fear of war everywhere, in all corners of the world.

“And in such a situation, I think it is disastrous when the European Union comes up with such a proposal.”

He said such a massive decision needs a public and political debate in all EU member countries as people need to know what an army means for them and it needs to fit in with the United Nations’ charter.

Mr Wimmer added: “And nothing has been done by the European Commission, therefore it’s a disaster.”

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, has called for an EU army because he believes Europe’s largest military powers “can’t defend it from external threats”.

Mr Juncker refused to admit he had plans for an EU army until last month after it emerged France and Germany were behind a joint defence fund to pay for drones and robots to bolster protection of the bloc.

Mr Wimmer, said he believed Brexit was the catalyst as the European Commission and German Chancellor Angela Merkel suddenly started talking about “common European defence” after Britain voted to leave the bloc.

British forces have to leave Germany by the time Britain leaves the EU in 2019, but Mr Wimmer said that is “not a reason to have this debate now”.

He added: “I think this proposal has been made just to overcome the Brexit impression of last year.”

The European defence expert said there is much confusion as to what an EU army would be, questioning whether it would be for “defensive purposes, or is it following the path of NATO and going for an offensive alliance in all corners of the world”.

On whether an EU Army would affect Europe’s relations with the US, especially regarding Donald Trump’s calls for members to increase NATO contributions, he said there is an “ongoing debate” in Germany.

He added: “Things have changed. NATO is no longer a defensive alliance; it is an offensive force in other parts of the world.

“German soldiers don’t want to fight French wars in other parts of the world.

“And we do not want to have German soldiers for American and British wars. Such a debate will be very crucial in Europe.”

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Daily Express :: World Feed

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