"We could jointly finance euro-drones within the European defense fund. We could enable a better German-French air traffic and involve other European [nations]. We could also work for more stability in the fragile African zone of Sahel… The joint education for European officers could be also a project. Germany and France want to become the engine of the European defense union," von der Leyen said in an interview with the Funke Mediengruppe media company.
The defense minister stressed though that there were no plans of creating a European army and compete with NATO. On the contrary, the defense union is viewed as an addition to NATO, von der Leyen noted.
Specific proposals for EU defense fund are currently being prepared ahead of French-German ministerial meeting on July 13, the minister added.
The initiative implies a single EU budget for military research and joint fund for developing aircraft, satellites and cyberdefense means. The program will be coordinated by the European Defense Agency.