01:04 GMT21 September 2020
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    European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that it is not absolutely necessary to be a NATO member state to participate in the proposed European army, which could be not of an offensive nature, taking into consideration Austria's neutral status.

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) — The European Union needs its own armed forces to "fulfill" its mission in the world, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Sunday.

    "We need common European foreign, security and defense policies to create a European army in order to have an opportunity to fulfill our role in the world," Juncker said at the European Forum Alpbach in Austria.

    He added that it is not absolutely necessary to be a NATO member state to participate in the proposed European army, which could be not of an offensive nature, taking into consideration Austria's neutral status.

    In March 2015, Juncker said that the European Union should create its own unified army to respond to threats faced by both EU member states and neighboring countries.

    The idea of such an army has been repeatedly criticized by NATO officials, as well as by the UK authorities, who claimed that London would veto the move. However, in June, the British voters decided to leave the 28-nation bloc.

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    Tags:
    European army, European Commission, European Union, Jean-Claude Juncker
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