Sarkozy calls for European intervention force

June 17th, 2008 - 10:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Paris, June 17 (DPA) French President Nicolas Sarkozy Tuesday called for the establishment of a European intervention force of 60,000 soldiers. In a major defence address in Paris before some 3,000 French soldiers, Sarkozy called for a “modern, flexible” European rapid intervention force that will enable Europeans “to act together” and which can be deployed anywhere in the world for at least one year.

Sarkozy has made European defence a priority of France’s EU presidency, which begins July 1. But he postponed the defence speech for one week in deference to the Irish referendum on the Lisbon treaty, which was rejected last week.

Sarkozy also urged Europe to revitalize its defence industry, in part through the establishment of large armaments producers capable of competing globally.

“There is no other choice,” Sarkozy said, and noted that the US defence industry was six times larger than Europe’s.

He vowed that “the French EU presidency will be a veritable relaunch of European defence for the years to come”.

The French president also reiterated his previously articulated wish to have France rejoin NATO’s integrated military command, which it left in 1966.

“I want the Alliance to be more European, and how can we have a more European Alliance without France,” Sarkozy said.

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