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15 December 2018
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European army not needed to bolster defence ‘commitment’ - president

by TPN/Lusa, in News · 15-11-2018 10:02:00 · 0 Comments

Portugal’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, has dismissed the suggestion that the creation of a European army is required to strengthen the defence of the European Union, noting that Portugal’s parliament has rejected the idea.

European army not needed to bolster defence ‘commitment’ - president

“Portugal believes that it is important that Europeans have a growing commitment to defence and security, which is inseparable from the commitments undertaken with our transatlantic allies, namely the United States of America and Canada,” de Sousa said in Paris on Saturday, in response to a question about the differences on the issue between the presidents of France, Emmanuel Macron, and the US, Donald Trump.
“It was clear in the parliamentary debate [in Portugal] that this is not about a European army, but about strengthening the commitment, and a commitment that is complementary to that which is represented by the Atlantic Alliance [NATO] of Europeans in the European setting and in neighbouring scenarios”, he added, in comments to Portuguese journalists after a visit to the exhibition ‘Portugal and The Great War’.
The head of state, who was in Paris for the weekend’s ceremonies to mark the end of World War One, stressed that the issue is a “matter that has already been debated in the Portuguese Parliament” and that “there is a position that is consensually accepted and presented at the European level”.
Asked about whether Portugal and France have different positions, de Sousa refused to comment on what Macron had said, stressing: “I’m just saying what is the Portuguese position, the Portuguese position is that it is not about a European army. This was clear in the debate in parliament. “
In December last year, parliament approved three resolutions from the PS, PSD and CDS, recommending that Portugal join the permanent structured cooperation on defence and security set up by the European Commission, and making explicit its rejection of this mechanism evolving into the creation of a European army.
The controversy between Trump and Macron broke out late on Friday, after the US president reacted to comments from his French counterpart on Radio Europe 1 calling for the creation of a “European army”, by posting a message on the social network Twitter, in which he described Macron’s stance as “very insulting” and giving the impression that Europe wanted to protect itself from the US.
On Saturday, Macron said that the “European army” he wants is not to target the US, and said that Trump’s interpretation was mistaken. 

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Edition 1505
15 December 2018
Edition: 1505

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

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