• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Paris terror attacks
'We'll do all we can to help France': Germany
Soldiers from the Bundeswehr (German army) on exercise in 2014. Photo: DPA

'We'll do all we can to help France': Germany

AFP/DPA/The Local · 17 Nov 2015, 15:20

Published: 17 Nov 2015 11:52 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Nov 2015 15:20 GMT+01:00

"It goes without saying that we will do everything in our power to provide help and support," von der Leyen said before an EU defence ministers' meeting in Brussels.

"We will listen very exactly to what France has to say and also analyse carefully what France is asking for."

But the German defence minister stopped short of pledging military support to its Gallic neighbour.

"Strategy will have to be thought through, things will have to be done differently," in the fight against Isis, MP and Social Democratic Party (SPD) defence spokesman Rainer Arnold told The Local.

He added that Germany might send more military aid to northern Iraq, where troops from the Bundeswehr (German army) are training Kurdish Peshmerga fighters to use German-made weapons in the fight against Isis.

But the decision to call for military aid under the EU treaties was more "symbolic and political," than "concrete", Arnold said, and would likely not see German fighter aircraft or ground troops sent overseas.

"We must have understanding for France as a society in mourning, but react sensibly," he said.

"I have the impression that President Hollande knows that too."

Mutual defence

At the meeting, French defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian invoked article 42-7 in the EU's Lisbon Treaty, which provides for the solidarity of member states in the event of an attack on one of them.

His appeal came after Friday's bloodshed in Paris – in which Syria-based terrorist group Isis carried out one of the worst ever terror attacks on French soil.

It is the first time that a European Union member state has invoked the article, which is similar to NATO's article five which the United States activated after the September 11, 2001 attacks and triggered the alliance's intervention in Afghanistan.

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen in front of a military vehicle marked with Bundeswehr (German army) insignia. Photo: DPA

SEE ALSO: Germany army celebrates 60 years of service

European foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini announced on Tuesday morning that ministers had agreed to support France, which has intensified bombing raids against the terror group's stronghold in Syria and Iraq.

"Today the EU through the voices of all the member states unanimously expressed its strongest full support and readiness to give the assistance needed," she told a press conference in Brussels with  Le Drian.

"France will be in contact bilaterally in coming hours and days to express the support it requires and the EU will ensure the greatest effectiveness in our common response," former Italian foreign minister Mogherini added.

Support from across the EU

Other EU countries including Sweden have already pledged their support.

Story continues below…

The French minister said the EU's support was a "political act of great significance".

Le Drian said it would "allow us in the hours to come to have bilateral talks where necessary" with other EU states to establish what aid France needed.

This aid could either be in support of France's Syria airstrikes but also in other theatres, adding that France "can't be everywhere at the same time."

There was speculation on Tuesday that France might ask for help in Mali and the Central African Republic, where its troops intervened in 2014, to free up forces for the fight against Isis.

"I felt a lot of emotion from my colleagues" over the Paris attacks claimed by the Islamic State group which left 129 people dead, Le Drian said, adding that many of his counterparts had addressed him personally in French to pay their respects.


 


 

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Chancellor Angela Merkel showing up French President François Hollande in a neighbourly battle of table manners. Photo: DPA.

Despite what stereotypes might have you believe, Germans aren't that different from the rest of us when it comes to social interactions. But these tips should at least help guide you through the minor quirks that come with your next dinner invitation.

Thugs' ‘dream cop’ in court for not investigating 100 cases
Fans at a VfL Bochum match set off flares. Photo: DPA

For three years a police officer in western Germany simply ignored many of the cases he was supposed to investigate. His trial started on Tuesday in Bochum.

Police arrest suspect in murder of Chinese student
Police secure the crime scene where Yanjie Lie's body was found on May 13th. Photo: DPA

Police have made an arrest in the case of a Chinese student murdered while she was out jogging a week ago, media reported on Tuesday.

Berlin thief shows heart in surprising act of kindness
Photo: DPA

Pickpockets are an ever more common phenomenon in the German capital. But sometimes they can surprise you.

Bayer's Monsanto bid
Monsanto takeover would be 'diabolical': environmentalists
An anti-Monsanto activist at a protest in Brandenburg in 2014. Photo: DPA

A proposed tie-up between Bayer and Monsanto has inflamed opinion in Germany where most people oppose genetically modified foods.

Why Greece is top of Germany's to-do list - again
Unemployed Greek workers with symbolically chained hands march on May 1st in Athens. Photo: DPA

Greece has been in the headlines more often this year for its front-line role in the refugee crisis than its finances – so just why is it top of Germany's agenda again all of a sudden?

Far-right AfD turns on itself over failed Muslim meeting
Jörg Meuthen. Photo: DPA

The co-leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany party has criticized his party colleagues after talks with Muslim leaders collapsed after just an hour on Monday.

Here's why Munich is worth 20 times more than Berlin
BMW's headquarters in Munich. Photo: DPA

The Bavarian capital leaves other German cities in the dust when it comes to where the highest-valued companies choose to plant their flag.

Bavaria tries to coax migrants into police force
Joachim Herrmann (cr) with police recruits in Nuremberg. Photo: DPA

Bavaria’s interior ministry has started a campaign to encourage more migrants to join up as officers of the law - whether they have a German passport or not.

Extremist violence 'exploded' in record year for refugees
Left-wing violence at the Blockupy protest in Frankfurt in March 2015. Photo: DPA.

It is now official: 2015 smashed all records for political violence, as the far right attacked refugee homes and the far left responded by attacking them in turn, Interior Ministry figures show.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that will stay with you forever
Technology
Church plans to connect with faithful at Wi-Fi 'Godspots'
Technology
Online hate speech can cost users thousands of Euros
Society
Bavarians in rush for non-lethal weapons licenses
Sport
Here's Germany's Mannschaft for Euro 2016
Culture
The Syrian pianist playing his way into Germans' hearts
The parrot who flew fast enough to trigger a speed camera
Business & Money
Surprise results give Germany strongest growth in two years
Technology
New law could let free Wi-Fi bloom across Germany
Politics
Berlin's plans to beef up the German army
Munich
The bloody knife attack that shocked a Bavarian town
National
Supermarkets must pay massive fine for fixing beer prices
Sport
Lufthansa's Euro 2016 ad takes aim at England
Culture
The 6 German words you need to know for spring
Culture
6 weird and wonderful ways Germans celebrate May 1st
Gallery
Feast your eyes on Germany in springtime bloom
National
4/20: Five things to know about weed in Germany
Berlin
Police break up hipster swarm at vegan restaurant opening
Politics
Merkel allows Erdogan case against German satirist to go ahead
Travel
7 of Germany's most jaw-dropping national parks
Hamburg
Gay penguins move to Hamburg to settle down
Business & Money
See-through €5 coin has collectors lining up
Health
Vegan hemp powder recalled over fear toddlers getting high
7,597
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd