Speed Reads

european union

Merkel backs Macron's European defense force plan

German Chancellor Angela Merkel endorsed French President Emmanuel Macron's idea for a joint European defense force in a long Sunday interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. "I am in favor of President Macron's proposal for an intervention initiative," she said. "With this, we will already develop more European unity. This will need to be complemented by joint strategic action in [military] deployment."

Merkel also called for European cooperation on migration and asylum programs. She endorsed development of "common asylum standards, a European border police force, and a pan-European migration agency that could evaluate asylum applications," in Reuters' summary. Nations unwilling to accept refugees would have a "flexible" option to help address the migrant crisis in other ways.

The French and German leaders are due to present a proposal for European reform at a European summit in late June.