Merkel ‘expects Cameron to back EU army’ in exchange for renegotiation

Angela Merkel will expect David Cameron to drop his opposition to an EU army in exchange for supporting Britain’s renegotiation, the Telegraph has been told.

The German chancellor will ask Britain to stand aside as she promotes an ambitious blueprint to integrate continental Europe’s armed forces.

It comes as Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said Britain will get a deal if it gives the green light to a raft of powerful new EU institutions..

A Berlin source said agreeing not to “block” Mrs Merkel’s defence plans is a “favour” that she would seek from Mr Cameron as he looks for her support in the renegotiation.

“If you want favours, you have to give favours,” the source said.

“If Cameron wants a ‘flexible Europe’, he must let other members integrate further. Yes – opt out, opt out, opt out – and then shut up.”

The Telegraph has seen an unpublished position paper drawn up by Europe and Defence policy committees of Mrs Merkel’s party, the CDU, that sets out a detailed 10-point plan for military co-operation in Europe.

It is understood to closely reflect her thinking, and calls for a permanent EU military HQ, combined weapons procurement and a shared military doctrine.

The paper says it is “urgent” to integrate armed forces “in the face of multifaceted crises”.

It calls for “a permanent structured and coordinated cooperation of national armed forces in the medium term.

“In the long run, this process should according to the present German coalition agreement lead also to a European Army subject to Parliamentarian control.”

Frances Burwell, vice president of the US-based Atlantic Council think tank, said the United States would welcome integration to make wasteful European defence spending more efficient.

However, the special relationship could be “downgraded” if Britain refused to join, in favour of the “very active” French military.

Mrs Merkel is backing a push by Mr Juncker to create an EU army.

Earlier this year his defence adviser, Michel Barnier, issued a paper through the EU’s in-house think tank calling for permanent military integration among member states that are willing using legal mechanisms known as PESCO created by the Lisbon Treaty of 2009.

Under the treaty, Britain could not be forced to join a joint army, but it cannot veto its creation. Until now, European leaders have been reluctant to push ahead with the plans, in part to avoid a split on defence with Britain, whose expenditure on defence is only matched by France.

Full article: Merkel ‘expects Cameron to back EU army’ in exchange for renegotiation (The Telegraph)

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