German to Head Embryo European Army
BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ A German general takes command Friday of the ″Eurocorps,″ the 35,000- member force of French, German and Belgian troops that may form the nucleus of a European army.
The United States once viewed the Eurocorps with suspicion for fear it would weaken the NATO alliance.
But in January, France and Germany allayed U.S. fears by agreeing to put it under the command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in wartime situations and for peacekeeping operations.
The Eurocorps is due to become fully operational in 1995, but some of its units will start exercises in December under the command of Gen. Helmut Willmann of Germany.
When they unveiled plans for the Eurocorps in 1991, President Francois Mitterrand of France and Chancellor Helmut Kohl of Germany presented the force as a way to give Western Europe a strong defense role in the post-Cold War era.
Belgium agreed to contribute a mechanized division of 12,000 men after the decision to link the force to NATO.