Angela Merkel’s successor used a speech in Brussels to outline a key CDU party campaign theme with European Parliament elections coming up in May. Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer warned the EU would be left trailing behind global superpowers Russia, China and the USA unless it stepped up to the plate militarily. She also predicted the EU’s external borders would need extra protection for many decades to come in the face of a sustained migrant crisis.
Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer’s speech focused on the idea of a “Europe of security” and she insisted an EU army was a “logical step” in pursuit of that goal.
She said: “An EU army fighting alongside national forces would be the logical step if we don’t want to be behind the ball being played around between Russian and the US and China and the US.”
She also said the EU’s external border controls needed beefing up with migration remaining one of the biggest challenges of the European continent for decades.
Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer, who is widely expected to become the next German Chancellor when Mrs Merkel stands down, said: “We have to a have a joint answer and this also must be at the centre of the European election campaign.”
Plans to establish a European army were boosted last month when French President Emmanuel Macron and Mrs Merkel renewed their commitment to a post-war agreement between France and Germany.
Mr Macron said the alliance will allow Europe to become the “new shield” against the “tumults in the world” and argued the two nations’ partnership provided EU citizens with the “real protection” they need.
The latest Franco-German bid to strong-arm the EU under their control was hailed by EU officials in Brussels.
Mrs Merkel said the Franco-German treaty will act at the first step towards a “European army”, in her speech in the coronation room of Aachen town hall.