Maas said at the German Forum on Security Policy that the European pillar of NATO and the common approach in the EU, as with the Franco-German defence cooperation, should be expanded, Xinhua news agency reported.
“Old certainties break away. This applies to the transatlantic relationship, but it also applies to cohesion within the EU, the Brexit, a topic we are struggling with these days,” added Maas.
He called for further development of civilian and military instruments together with the European partners.
“Only with the appropriate skills can a strong and also a sovereign Europe give security policy. And you also have to be prepared to invest in this security,” said the minister, demanding that the “rapid reaction capability” be increased both civilian and military.
Europe must become faster in European operations. A means for this is the establishment of a European Centre of Competence for Civilian Crisis Management. In addition, “stabilization pilots” could quickly create a situational picture for the EU.
Maas welcomed the proposal by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to extend qualified majority voting in the common EU foreign and security policy. Germany had decided to push this discussion forward. “We must finally make the EU capable of foreign policy,” he said.
It is “in our own interest that we Europeans should take more responsibility for security and also take over,” said Maas. “It takes a lot of courage, because we know that these issues of security policy in public debate in our society — and not only here — are often extremely difficult to manage.”