Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who succeeded Merkel in December as leader of the Christian Democratic Union, made the proposal in a weekend response to French President Emmanuel Macron's proposals for European Union reform.
She said that "the next step could be to start on the symbolic project of building a common European aircraft carrier" to underline the EU's global security role.
Merkel said Monday that "it's right and good that we have such equipment on the European side, and I'm happy to work on it."
But she added that "we have to do other things as a priority.
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