Defence minister Ursula von der Leyen last week spelled out her wishes for a continental force capable of swift reaction anywhere in the world. Her comments came just two months after European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker expressed his wish for an army commanded by Brussels, saying it “would help us to build a common foreign and security policy, as well as jointly assume the responsibilities of Europe in the world”.

Mrs von der Leyen, talking to her Dutch counterpart in The Hague, said international crises such as the Ebola outbreak and the swift advances by Islamic militant group Islamic State could have been countered better by a well-trained European army. Juncker insists any Euro army would not be in competition with Nato. “Rather, a European army would bring an intensive co-operation in the development and the purchase of military equipment and bring substantial savings,” he said. FULL REPORT