If Germany and France get their wish of developing a European army, Austria wants no part of it. The defense minister’s office said it would opt out, as it would conflict with Vienna’s constitution and neutrality.
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Defense Minister Mario Kunasek’s office told Kurier newspaper that while Austria has no details on the army proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, it would still walk away from it because it is “contrary to the Austrian constitutional position” since Austria is neutral.
The idea of a unified European army was proposed by Macron earlier this month, with the French president insisting it is necessary in order to protect the continent from the likes of China, Russia, and “even the United States of America.”
Merkel was quick to put her support behind the proposal, saying that such an army would show the world that “there will never again be war between European nations.”
But US President Donald Trump isn’t so sure about that. He lashed out at the notion after Macron first mentioned it, reminding him that France’s enemy in both World Wars wasn’t the US, China, or Russia – it was Germany.
“They were starting to learn German in Paris before the US came along,” Trump tweeted.
Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two – How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2018
Despite the feelings of France, Germany, Austria, or any other EU member states, a European army won’t actually happen, international affairs specialist John Laughland told RT earlier this week.
“The idea of the European army is a complete fiction; there’s never been a European army and there cannot be a European army,” he said, noting that the EU cannot be legally independent from NATO unless it changes its treaties.
However, the European Commission seems to think it’s perfectly possible. A spokesman said the Commission is “delighted” by Macron and Merkel’s backing of the idea. That should perhaps come as no surprise, as Juncker himself put his support behind a European army four years ago.
“We have many times explained how we see these things. This is the Commission that wants Europe to have a meaningful defense identity,” the spokesperson said.
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