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EU foreign ministers “founded, or put in motion, today a European command center for foreign missions,” German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said at a meeting in Brussels on Monday, according to AP.
Membership in the program is not obligatory, von der Leyen stressed, adding that EU members not wishing to take part could act as observers.
“For those who are not members of the European Union, like for example Norway or the British, there will be the possibility to join in selectively with certain projects or missions,” she said.
“The Norwegians have great interest in this, the British have great interest in this,” the German minister noted.
Meanwhile, Britain has long criticized the bloc’s aspirations to launch its own army, saying the EU should not waste money on creating structures that match those set up by NATO. British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon, who was also present at the meeting, called on other EU ministers “to cooperate more closely with NATO to avoid unnecessary duplication and structures.”
Nevertheless, von der Leyen called the move “a very important step” that “was long overdue.”