No need for EU army says President

Take note – story published 7 years ago

Latvia's President Raimonds Vējonis thinks that there is no need to create a European army.

"I have been a minister of defense, and I can say my personal opinion is that we don’t need a European army," Vējonis told Buzzfeed during a Tuesday interview on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

"We need to strengthen our national armies, yes. Because the largest part of EU countries are NATO members, we are investing a lot in [the] strengthening and development of our national armies."

While Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics told LETA earlier that he is not convinced about the idea of a European army.

The politician said that he is very skeptical towards the idea of a common European army, as there are many unanswered questions, including who would decide how this army will be used.

"Would this be the European Parliament or national parliaments?" Rinkevics asked, saying that additional financing should not be spent on an institution which basically duplicates NATO. "This all leads to many questions. I am very skeptical," the minister said.

European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker said on September 14 that the EU should set up headquarters to coordinate efforts for making a common military force.

"We don't have a permanent structure and without that, we are not able to work efficiently and so we must have a European HQ and... work towards a common military force," Juncker told the European Parliament in his annual State of the Union address.

Juncker stressed that post-Brexit, the EU's remaining 27 member states had to stick together and that included taking on increased responsibility for their defense.

But with NATO proving its worth by sending troops to the Baltic states to quell fears of an aggressive Russia, the creation of a parallel yet overlapping military structure would seem to be a prospect that will receive little support in Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.  

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