There are a few reoccurring issues that come up around the EU water cooler and that is the idea of a European Defense Force, commonly known as a “European Army”. The concept of a European Army has its roots in the early 1950s when strengthening joint defense capabilities against threats such as the Soviet Union were in discussion. Since then, the debate reemerges often after political or security shifts in the EU but primarily when the US’s priorities shift. 

Best highlighted in 2018, when the EU found itself dealing with a disengaged US global leadership under the Trump administration. French President Emmanuel Macron has established himself as a driving force of the ‘European Army idea, calling for a united Europe able to defend itself from external threats, without the auspices of the US. Macron’s urge was later endorsed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with the caveat that such an army would complement NATO, not compete with it.

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