NATO second-in-command on a European army: good idea?

NATO's Deputy Secretary-General sits down with Chris to discuss whether Europe needs its own army, what that could mean for NATO, and how to get members of the alliance - including Canada - spending more on defence.
US soldiers from the 2d Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion are pictured in a LAV-25, an eight-wheeled amphibious armored reconnaissance vehicle, during the Trident Juncture 2018, a NATO-led military exercise, on October 30, 2018 in Byneset near Trondheim, Norway. - Trident Juncture 2018, is a NATO-led military exercise held in Norway from 25 October to 7 November 2018. The exercise is the largest of its kind in Norway since the 1980s. Around 50,000 participants from NATO and partner countries, some 250 aircraft, 65 ships and up to 10,000 vehicles take part in the exercise. The main goal of Trident Juncture is allegedly to train the NATO Response Force and to test the alliance's defence capability. (Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP) (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images) (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)
Listen9:51

In the era of "America First", Europe's leaders are pushing their own "Europe First" agenda — one that could potentially include a continental army of their own.

Both French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are calling for a European army, arguing that a mutual defence force is needed to protect Europe from Russia and China. 

So should Europe be military master of its own house?

NATO's deputy Secretary-General Rose Gottemoeller doesn't necessarily think it's a bad idea. 

"The notion that Europeans as a group should be putting more resources into defence capabilities, into their armed forces, is one that I think is a very positive thing," she told Chris Hall in a phone interview from Deer Lake, Nfld., where her flight to Halifax was rerouted due to poor weather.

"But we always stress that this cannot be something in competition with NATO. It has to be complementary."

Despite U.S. President Donald Trump not being a fan of the idea, Gottemoeller thinks it has value. 

"We're not talking about some kind of concept of strategic autonomy, but European forces that would be inherently at one with the forces that NATO deploys, forces that would contribute to the collective defence."

NATO's Deputy Secretary-General sits down with Chris to discuss whether Europe needs its own army, what that could mean for NATO, and how to get members of the alliance - including Canada - spending more on defence. 9:51