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Juncker calls for EU army to counter Russia

09 March 2015

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker believes that the creation of a European army will offset the continent's foreign policy worries in its tussle with the Russian Federation.

Such a military development would persuade Russia that the EU is serious about defending its policies, Jean-Claude Juncker, the former prime minister of Luxembourg, told a German newspaper.

European Union is not ''taken entirely seriously'' as an international force as it does not have its own army to help address the problem, the EC president has said.

''You would not create a European army to use it immediately,'' Juncker told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper in Germany, in an interview published on Sunday.

''But a common army among the Europeans would convey to Russia that we are serious about defending the values of the European Union.''

Juncker said getting member states to combine militarily would encourage further European integration even as it addresses safety concerns.

''Such an army would help us design a common foreign and security policy,'' Juncker said.

''Europe's image has suffered dramatically and also in terms of foreign policy, we don't seem to be taken entirely seriously.''

Juncker, who has been a long-standing advocate of an EU army, however, said he did not want a new force to challenge the role of NATO.

Junker found support from some political figures in Germany even as the UK government insisted that the idea was unacceptable. The British government said there was ''no prospect'' of the UK agreeing to the creation of an EU army.

''Our position is crystal clear that defence is a national - not an EU - responsibility and that there is no prospect of that position changing and no prospect of a European army,'' a UK government spokesman said.

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