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Merkel to Speak at Davos Economic Forum as 'First Step Toward EU Army Made'

© Sputnik / Alexey VitvitskyGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel - Sputnik International
The upcoming speech by the German chancellor comes just a day after she and the French president signed a new treaty on Franco-German cooperation, which, as described by Angela Merkel is a "step toward the European army."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to deliver a speech at the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

Merkel is expected to speak about the issues and challenges the EU has been facing, including the refugee crisis that rocked Europe in 2015 and has barely simmered down since.

The speech comes just a day after Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron signed a new treaty on Franco-German Cooperation and Integration in the German city of Aachen, which, among other things, aims to boost defence cooperation between the two countries, reaffirms their readiness to help if the other one is attacked. In addition, the agreement focuses on border regions and the facilitation of trans-border projects.

READ MORE: Merkel: New Germany-France Treaty Step Toward European Army (VIDEO)

When commening on the matter on Tuesday, the German chancellor described the treaty as a step toward the creation of a joint European army proposed by the French president, but strongly criticised by US President Donald Trump as "insulting."

For his part, Macron later told a forum after the signing ceremony that as "authoritarian powers are emerging everywhere… let's build a real European army to protect ourselves and have a real foreign policy".

READ MORE: Merkel Backs EU Army Plans: 'Europe Must Take its Fate in its Own Hands' (VIDEO)

Both Macron and Merkel have pushed the idea of a joint European Army for the bloc that would be part of the wider transatlantic NATO alliance.

People wearing a Donald Trump mask, left, and an Emmanuel Macron mask act up for the cameras during an anti-Trump gathering in Republique square in Paris, Sunday Nov. 11, 2018 - Sputnik International
Trump Challenges Macron: EU Army 'Didn't Work Too Well' in WWII
EU foreign policy and defence chief Federica Mogherini rejected this idea in November, just as NATO head Jens Stoltenberg warned that EU efforts should not compete with the alliance, which he called the bedrock of European security.

Washington-Brussels tensions over the EU army followed multiple statements made by US President Donald Trump, who has been accusing NATO members of freeloading off the United States. According to Trump, the United States is spending far more on NATO than any other country, while the alliance benefits Europe much more than the US.

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