Germany Floats Push for EU ‘Defense Union’ After Brexit Vote

  • Merkel’s defense minister quoted in newspaper interview
  • ‘Core group’ for stronger military cooperation seen emerging

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen suggested that European Union countries expand military cooperation, saying in a newspaper interview that the EU needs a new sense of purpose after the U.K. voted to leave.

“I want to push ahead on this and invite my European colleagues to such a joint project,” the Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag quoted von der Leyen as saying. “I’m certain that a core group will emerge soon.”

The absence of a mobile military hospital is one example where European armies lack joint capabilities, she was quoted as saying. “This kind of an intensive-care unit is needed in any major mission,” von der Leyen told the newspaper. ”That’s a small example of how a European defense union could take shape.”

Cooperation with the U.K. will remain close, according to von der Leyen, a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union who has served in her cabinet since Merkel took office in 2005. While Britons voted in favor of leaving the EU in Thursday’s referendum, both will remain key members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization military alliance.

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