But a leading pro-Brexit campaign organisation has poured cold water on Wolfgang Ischinger’s comments, and said the EU had so far proved itself “lamentably incapable” of defending itself without substantial US support. The conference will be held in Munich at the end of next week, and will be attended by among others US Vice President Mike Pence. In a magazine interview in advance of the annual event, Mr Ischinger said: “The nuclear deployment options of France should cover not only their own territory, but also the territory of the EU partners.”
Emphasising the importance of EU member states contributing financially to the overall costs of extending France’s nuclear umbrella in this way, Mr Ischinger said it was time the EU turned into a defence union, in words unlikely to impress US President Donald Trump.
He said: “The community must be increasingly able to protect its citizens, the European territory and the external borders.”
He stressed the bloc should not be “bogged down” by national micro-states, saying the procurement of arms needed to be organised “in a European way”.
He also called for the EU to adopt what he called the principle of “unanimity” in order to become more capable of presenting a united front when it came to foreign policy, echoing recent calls by Mr Macron for a European Army.
German national Mr Ischinger also said Western Europe needed to beef up its conventional defence capability, stressing his country in particular, Germany had “a particularly blatant need to catch up”.
He added: ”We are blind, deaf and incapable without the American partner.”
Describing the US decision to pull of the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signed by Ronald Reagan and then-USSR supremo Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 was “very disturbing”, he said the idea of an international order based on common rules and a global order structure could scarcely be maintained.
He added: “It is another step to destroy the decades-long network of cooperation and trust between West and East with a wrecking ball.
“The global order is dissolving.”
The conference which starts on Friday, and will also be attended by Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka, and Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives.
Mr Ischinger was talking after the release of the Munich Security Report 2019, entitled The Great Puzzle: Who Will Pick Up the Pieces?, which argues characterises the global security situation as “more dangerous today than it has ever been since the collapse of the Soviet Union”.
Germany currently pays about 1.2 percent of its GDP on NATO, significantly lower than the two percent recommended.
A spokesman for Brexit Express said Mr Ischinger’s comments offered further evidence of why it was necessary of Britain to leave the EU.
He told Express.co.uk: “The EU is the only empire to have persuaded its largest rival to pay for its defence.
“It has proven lamentably incapable of weaning itself off this either in budgetary terms or in the hardware commitment required. Remember Blair’s tearful call to Clinton for US airpower to stop the Serbian armoured charge on Kosovo. IN EUROPE!
“France is one of only two European countries capable of expeditionary warfare. The other thinks NATO is just fine.
“Dean Rusk when France demanded all US troops leave the country said: “Does that include the 60,000 in the graveyard?”