Ursula Von Der Leyen praises France for displaying EU flags
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The EU has been mulling the deployment of 5000 troops from across the bloc as a backup plan in emergency missions in the name of enhanced “strategic autonomy”. The idea, first floated by French President Emmanuel Macron, is taking shape around the EU Commission’s table and will reach Parliament in Strasbourg soon.
New Dutch defence minister Kajsa Ollogren attempted to minimise the plan saying the troops are not to be called “EU army” per se.
But Nexit Denktank campaigners warned: “Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren (D66) says that the 5000 soldiers that can be quickly deployed by the EU should not be called an EU army.
“Just because you don’t call it an EU army doesn’t mean it isn’t an EU army… 5,000 soldiers are just the beginning.
“They know they don’t have the people on their side, so they play games with language.
“Only 10 percent of the Netherlands wants more EU integration (EenVandaag), let alone that people want an EU army.
“70 percent do not trust the EU, according to the same poll.”
Earlier this month, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said her team will work with President Macron to strengthen the Schengen area and launch “Defence Europe”.
Speaking alongside the French President for the inauguration of France’s Presidency of the EU Council, she said: “We will also work on strengthening space Schengen, shifting into high gear on Defence Europe, and deepening our partnership with Africa at our summit in Brussels in February.
“We have major projects ahead of us,” she continued.
“The first is that of the climate.
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“We are counting on France’s EU presidency to move forward on our 2030 goals, Fit for 55 and a just transition for all.”
She added: “Let’s make Europe a digital powerhouse shaped by our rules and values.
“We have made proposals to promote innovation and confront the platforms with their democratic responsibility.
“I hope France will move quickly on it.”
She also pledged to launch a new “European growth model”.
She said: “We are working on a new European growth model, in line with Next Generation EU.
“Competitive and social.
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“I also hope that we will reach an early agreement during France’s EU presidency on the historic reform on the minimum tax rate.”
Confirming the two leaders’ defence ambitions, a senior French government official told Politico on Thursday: “I would like the EU in the coming years to become aware of its power, because power not only gives you prosperity but also the ability to defend your values.
“You can see how we sometimes hesitate to defend our values against China.
“Why do we hesitate? Because we are not powerful enough, because we want to have access to the Chinese market, because we depend on certain technologies.
“Power gives prosperity, power gives independence.
“And if we could all collectively realise that, that it’s better to be powerful than weak, that it’s better to be sovereign than vassal, it would be a great political idea for the EU.”
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