Paris - French President Emmanuel Macron has reiterated his calls for a European army in order to be able to defend itself against Russia without relying on the United States.
Joint European army
"We are not protecting Europeans if we do not decide to have a real European army," he said during an interview on French radio station Europe 1.
Macron had already voiced his opinion on a joint European army in his speech at the Sorbonne in September 2017, when he also called for Europe to create a joint defence budget.
"If there is a commission that has put forward the need for a meaningful defence identity for the EU, it's this commission," said European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas in response to Macron, adding that an EU army was not the right place to start.
"We have to start with the rest. And we'll see that at some point in time ... we may see something that people already describe as an EU army or an EU pooling of resources to make this EU defence identity more visible and more meaningful."
Realizing Macron's demands
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said that Europe had already established a route towards realizing Macron's demands.
"A European army must be created within the European Union, and not outside of it. This is why we founded the European Defence Union a year ago," she said in Berlin.