Germany wants to expand military cooperation with Britain — Minister

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen has spoken out for a close military cooperation between the European Union and Britain, ahead of this weekend’s Munich Security Conference, she said in Berlin on Wednesday.

“This is in our mutual interest.

“That she plans to open the international security conference on Friday together with her British counterpart Gavin Williamson should be understood as a signal in this direction.

“Britain’s looming departure from the EU has had negative effects on many fields, but in security policy we are moving closer than ever,’’ von der Leyen said.

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According to her, Brexit and the distanced attitude of the U.S. president Donald Trump has accelerated the fact that that we are building our own European defence union.

“It also strengthens the Europeans in NATO.

“Britain is very interested in participating in certain military projects in Europe, she said.

“And we want to open this door through third-party regulation, which is currently being finalised in European committees, but that is looking good.

“That means Britain will also be represented in European missions, if it wants to be,’’ von der Leyen said.

Report says the British are also interested in arms projects.

The foundations for the European Defence Union have already been laid in the EU.

“My goal is to be ready by the time of Germany’s European council presidency in the second half of 2020 with the European Defence Union, so that we can celebrate the topping-out ceremony then,’’ she said.

dpa/NAN