Germany and France agree on EU military HQ bid ahead of summit
Published 15/09/2016 | 14:56
Germany's chancellor and France's president have agreed their joint priorities for an informal European Union summit, including ensuring Europe's security and fighting terrorism.
Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande met in Paris to coordinate strategy a day ahead of a meeting on Friday in Slovakia of 27 EU leaders in Bratislava. Britain, which has voted to leave the bloc, was not invited to the gathering.
Mr Hollande said the two leaders plan to propose creating a permanent EU military headquarters that could dispatch European troops quickly - a long-standing idea opposed by Britain.
He called for "new defence capabilities and forces that can be deployed outside Europe". Mr Hollande and Mrs Merkel both insisted on the need to protect external borders and address the challenge of migration.
Other mutual priorities include fighting youth unemployment and promoting economic growth through investments in digital technologies and green energy.
"We must give Europeans a clear vision of how future can look like," Mr Hollande said.
Mrs Merkel called for a summit "which addresses people's concerns, hopes and wishes, and at the same time is realistic".
"There is a will among the member states, as we saw in the (pre-summit) talks, to work more single-mindedly and faster," she said.