French and German defence ministers have announced plans for a European defence union - complete with military headquarters, ready-to-deploy troops, and even its own budget. Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the EU Commission, has said the 28-member union needs its own army in order to be taken seriously internationally. The proposed EU defence cooperation has now won the backing of several of the bloc’s members, including both Hungary and the Czech Republic.
But there is opposition against the creation of an EU army too. While Britain, which has now voted to leave the EU, has thus far been the strongest critic of a joint EU defence force, Ireland has also voiced its disapproval.
So are EU member states actually moving closer to forming such an army or not? How viable would such a project be and what are the potential pros and cons?
A programme presented by Eve Irvine
Produced by Isabelle Romero, Anaïs Guérard and Guillaume Charpin
Polish MEP, European People's Party
Liadh NÍ RIADA
Irish MEP, European United Left
Major General Philippe SOMMAIRE
Former deputy commanding General, Eurocorps