'Costly Affair': Europe 'Has No Money to Create Common Army'

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Eurozone - Sputnik International
Widely debated plans to deepen EU military cooperation were discussed by European defense ministers on Tuesday, September 27, in Bratislava. Whether the EU will create its own army, remains to be seen.

The UK has opposed the creation of the EU defense alliance, because such a structure could undermine the role of NATO. Moreover, some experts believe that the idea of an EU military alliance is hard to implement — such a project would be too expensive.

"Europe simply has no money to create and modernize its common army. Some EU members are already reluctant to bear the financial responsibilities within NATO," an expert of the International Institute of Humanitarian and Political Studies Vladimir Bruter told gazeta.ru.

French President Francois Hollande (L) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) address a press conference with the Ukrainian President following talks at the chancellery in Berlin on August 24, 2015. - Sputnik International
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The US constantly reminds its NATO allies of the need to spend no less than 2% of GDP on the collective defense. However, only the US itself, the United Kingdom, Greece, Estonia and Poland fully comply with these conditions.

Since the EU army will be created as a parallel structure to the NATO, the military obligations of the European states in this case would only increase, the expert argued.

Of course, the UK — which has the largest military budget in the EU ($ 55.5 billion in 2015) — is unlikely to influence the Europeans' plans anymore, as the country has decided to leave the EU as result of a referendum. President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz said that Britain won't be allowed to veto this issue, although formally the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU in 2018.

"We had long to take into account the position of the UK, which consistently refused to discuss this issue," German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said earlier, cited by German media.

Now, according to the German government, the situation is different.

"The idea is to work together to become more powerful and effective," von der Leyen said before her trip to Bratislava. "None of us would be able to individually respond to the big crises," she added.

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