After Afghanistan Withdrawal, Some EU Officials Want to Form Army

There is little support for an EU army among the bloc's members since many are in NATO and under US protection

Since the US and NATO withdrew from Afghanistan, some European Union officials have been calling for the bloc to form its own army. Many European countries are not happy that President Biden followed through on the withdrawal and want more military independence.

On Wednesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said because of the Afghanistan withdrawal and the quick collapse of the US-backed Afghan government, there are “deeply troubling questions that allies will have to tackle within NATO.”

Although von der Leyen said cooperation with NATO will remain a priority for the EU, she said Europe should be able to do more on its own. “Europe can — and clearly should — be able and willing to do more on its own,” she said. “It is time for Europe to step up to the next level.”

The issue for von der Leyen and other EU officials who want to form an army is that 21 members of the 27-nation bloc are also NATO members and are under the military protection of the US.

So far, plans that have been laid out by EU officials would not form a force capable of fighting wars on its own. Earlier this month, EU ministers have debated an idea to form a standby force of about 5,000 troops capable of deploying for missions like the airlift in Kabul. These ideas aren’t new, and the EU had previously created “battle groups” for a similar purpose, but they were never used.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.