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EU Army plans turbocharged by Von der Leyen as Schengen 'shifts into high gear'

Speaking in Paris for the inauguration of France’s rotating presidency of the European Council, Ms von der Leyen said the EU Commission will work with President Macron to strengthen the Schengen area and launch “Defence Europe”. 

She said: “We will also work on strengthening space Schengen, shifting into high gear on Defence Europe, and deepening our partnership with Africa at our summit in Brussels in February.” 

“We have major projects ahead of us,” she continued.

“The first is that of the climate.

“We are counting on France’s EU presidency to move forward on our 2030 goals, Fit for 55 and a just transition for all.”

She added: “Let’s make Europe a digital powerhouse shaped by our rules and values.

“We have made proposals to promote innovation and confront the platforms with their democratic responsibility.

“I hope France will move quickly on it.”

She also pledged to launch a new “European growth model”.

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Confirming the two leaders’ defence ambitions, a senior French government official told Politico on Thursday: “I would like the EU in the coming years to become aware of its power, because power not only gives you prosperity but also the ability to defend your values.

“You can see how we sometimes hesitate to defend our values against China.

“Why do we hesitate? Because we are not powerful enough, because we want to have access to the Chinese market, because we depend on certain technologies.

“Power gives prosperity, power gives independence.

“And if we could all collectively realise that, that it’s better to be powerful than weak, that it’s better to be sovereign than vassal, it would be a great political idea for the EU.”



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