German foreign minister backs idea of European army

France 24 (Link) - AFP (February 6, 2010)

Germany�s foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, backed the idea of a permanent European army Saturday. While speaking to the Munich Security Conference, Westerwelle said a parliamentary run army would help the EU in its role as a �global player.�

Germany supports the creation of a European army in the long term so that the EU can be a �global player,� Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle told the Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

�The long-term goal is the establishment of a European army under full parliamentary control. The European Union must live up to its political role as a global player. It must be able to manage crises independently. It must be able to respond quickly, flexibly and to take a united stand,� he said.

�We want strong European crisis management. This is not intended to replace other security structures. More Europe is not a strategy directed against anyone. No one has any reason to fear Europe, but everyone should be able to depend on Europe,� he added.

He said however that this would require a pooling of resources and distribution of responsibility �even in times of ever scarcer means.�

The concept of a European army was set out in the 27-nation EU�s reforming Lisbon Treaty,� he said.

�United Europe will only be secure if my generation, which has never experienced war, suffering or hunger, is strongly committed to European integration,� Westerwelle said.

�And my generation has a chance to extend this cooperation model far beyond Western Europe, perhaps even to the whole of the European continent.�