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EU defence role for Germany backed

Germany should set aside its reluctance to engage in military operations and take a more active role in European defence, a parliamentary committee has said.

In the six decades since the Second World War, the Germans have been extremely wary of becoming involved in military entanglements.

However, the House of Lords EU Committee said the time had come for Germany to match the sort of defence commitments made by Britain and France - Europe's two main military powers.

"Germany is Europe's economic powerhouse. But in the military area, it does not fulfil its potential despite a large defence budget in absolute terms," the committee said.

"It is a precondition that Germany becomes a more active participant in European defence matters, able to engage on similar terms to the UK and France, if the EU is to have an effective security and defence policy. Nato would benefit equally."

The committee said that if other states like Germany did not contribute more to European defence, an "increasingly large and disproportionate burden" would fall on Britain and France.

"We believe the current division of responsibility is unsustainable and, if uncorrected, could lead to growing friction between member states," it said.

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