France's President Macron said Russia could be a potential threat and that Europe should be able to defend itself better.
French President Emmanuel Macron called for a “real European army” Tuesday to defend the continent against Russia, and if needed, even the United States.
"We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America," Macron said while speaking to Europe 1 radio.
During his visit to the former World War One Western Front in Verdun, northeast France, Macron said that Russia had shown that it could be a potential threat and that Europe should be able to defend itself better.
This came days after Trump withdrew from a cold-war era nuclear treaty with Russia.
"When I see President Trump announcing that he's quitting a major disarmament treaty which was formed after the 1980s Euro-missile crisis that hit Europe, who is the main victim? Europe and its security," Macron said.
The French president has pushed for a European army since he was elected.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel backed the idea of an intervention force in June but said that it would have to be a part of “the structure of defense cooperation”.
The United Kingdom supports a joint force but is opposed to a European army as it could become a parallel structure to NATO.
“I want to build a real security dialogue with Russia, which is a country I respect, a European country - but we must have a Europe that can defend itself on its own without relying only on the United States," Macron argued.
The European Union launched a joint multi-billion-euro defense fund in 2017 to develop Europe's military capacities and make the continent more strategically independent.
France is preparing to host world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump, Sunday to mark the centenary of the World War One Armistice.