One of Germany’s most senior defence officials has become the latest to add his voice to calls for a European army.
Hans-Peter Bartels, Germany’s national defence commissioner, on Monday called for Nato’s EU members to organise their militaries into a single force.
“In the end, there will be a European army,” he said.
His comments, on the same day Brexit talks formally began, are a sign the rest of the EU is preparing to press ahead with further defence integration.
Britain has repeatedly blocked plans for an integrated European defence policy, but other member states have warned it cannot expect to have a say in the issue post-Brexit.
There have been growing calls for a single European defence policy in the wake of Donald Trump’s comments that Nato is “obsolete”.
At a Nato summit last month President Trump publicly lectured European leaders on the need to pay more towards the cost of their defence.
“We are currently disorganised, technically fragmented and duplicate structures unnecesarily,” Mr Bartels said.
“We do not want to go down the solitary national path any more. Not in Germany, not in the Netherlands, not in the Czech Republic and not in Italy.”
France and Germany have led calls for a European army. The Netherlands and Germany have already merged some units, while the Czech Republic and Romania have expressed interest.
“Every step in the right direction is important,” Mr Bartels, an official appointed by the German parliament to oversee the military said.