Merkel’s European Army: More Than a Paper Tiger?

Merkel’s European Army: More Than a Paper Tiger?

In an interview with the mass-circulation German tabloid Bild Zeitung, German Chancellor and current EU president Angela Merkel marked the EU's 50th birthday celebration by revealing that her wish list includes a European Army. What Merkel and other EU leaders want is not a perpetuating of existing arrangements, but a "European fighting force" independent of, but working with, NATO.

Given the complexities of existing EU defense arrangements, it is easy to understand the desire of European leaders for the kind of unified command and control structure a European Army would need. While Merkel claimed the prospect had "come closer," the current gap between aspiration and reality still appears considerable.

However, no one should underestimate the strength of EU political will to overcome the major political obstacles and draw together the disparate strands that make up the current European defense capability. So just how close is the reality of a European Army?

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