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    German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting of the German government at the chancellery in Berlin, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016.

    Berlin Stands for Closer Cooperation With Paris in Defense Area - German MoD

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    Berlin favors closer cooperation with France in order to become a leader of the future European defense union, Germany's Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Saturday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Berlin is in favor of closer cooperation with Paris so that both countries could become an engine of the future European defense union, Germany's Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Saturday.

    "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.

    In September 2016, the defense minister of France and Germany announced their plans for a closer EU defense cooperation against the background of UK's decision to leave the bloc and deteriorating security situation along the borders of the union. The establishment of such union became especially relevant following US presidential election, with Republican nominee Donald Trump becoming the president. Trump repeatedly promised to cut US contributions to NATO and demand from allies an increase of their military spending.

    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.

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    cooperation, defense, European Defense Union, Ursula von der Leyen, Germany, France
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