New CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (dubbed AKK by the German press) has insisted that the EU should create a European army if it does not want to be a “ball being played around between Russia and the US and China and the US”, during her first appearance in Brussels as her party’s head. However, she also pointed out that the joint armed force could "not replace national armies in the long run”.
AKK also called irregular migration “one of the biggest challenges for the European continent for decades”, according to the Financial Times, and called for reinforcing external border control, which, she said, is essential for the survival of the Schengen area.
“We have to have a joint answer and this also must be at the centre of the European election campaign”, she stated.
AKK, who took over the post after Angela Merkel in December, has outlined her party campaign highlights for the upcoming elections for the European Parliament, scheduled for May 2019. She stated that she wants to fight for a "Europe that creates hope and sets standards”.
Thus, AKK indicated her support for the being idea pushed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron for the creation of a joint European army for the bloc, which they expect to be part of the broader transatlantic security framework. In early November 2018, Macron called for the creation of what he touted as a "true European army", which he said would protect the interests of the bloc – a notion that was vocally supported by Merkel.
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However, EU foreign policy and defence chief Federica Mogherini rejected the 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 an EU army followed multiple statements made by US President Donald Trump, who has accused NATO members of freeloading off the United States.