A strange sighting in France has the internet abuzz over whether the Macron administration deployed armored vehicles bearing the EU flag to perform riot control during Saturday's Yellow Vest protests, stoking concerns over whether it's the first sign of a much talked about EU Army.
"rather than bearing the French Tricolore flag, the vehicles bore the distinct starred EU flag, which critics have said is a sign an EU Army is drawing closer to existence" -Daily Star
So now we have combat ready armored vehicles with the EU flag which are being used against unarmed European protesters who are demonstrating against a pro EU authoritarian regime.— Dispropaganda (@Dispropoganda) December 8, 2018
Still think the #EU is a “project for peace”?#Mscron #GiletsJaunes #YellowVests #Paris #France pic.twitter.com/eCxpCDVPz4
The notion of an EU Army is not new - as both French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have both floated the idea.
In November, Merkel said "The days where we can unconditionally rely on others are gone," adding "We should work on a vision to create a real European army one day."
Stressing that such an army would not be “against NATO” but complement it, the chancellor also proposed a European Security Council with rotating seats for member states that would make speedy foreign policy decisions without the need for unanimity. -New York Times
In early November, Macron told France's Europe 1 Radio that Europeans cannot be protected without a "true, European army."
"I believe in the project of a sovereign Europe," said Macron, adding "We won’t protect Europe if we don’t decide to have a true European army. In front of Russia, which is at our borders and which can be threatening, I would like to start a security dialogue with Russia, which is a country I respect and which is European."
President Macron has already warned that Europeans can no longer rely on the US to defend them, and he revived the theme on Tuesday, in response to President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of a 1987 nuclear treaty with Russia, banning medium-range ground-launched missiles.
"Who is the main victim? Europe and its security," he told French radio station Europe 1.
"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."
Speaking about cyber security, he also said: "We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America." -BBC
So - was the riot control vehicle pictured with an EU flag the first sign of an EU army operating in France, or is there another explanation for the sighting?