How Verhofstadt’s ‘EU army’ words link to May’s deal

This social media message below from Guy Verhofstadt, the EU Parliament’s Brexit negotiator, has been shared widely including by many MPs six months after it was posted because it refers to an EU army.

What Verhofstadt calls ‘EU army’ is the Lisbon Treaty’s ‘Common Defence’. This means the EU would have an EU army without people seeing any difference in the appearance of member state militaries. The path to ‘Common Defence’ is the legislative train and track known as ‘Common Security and Defence Policy’ (CSDP). May, Boris, Alan Duncan and senior diplomat Angus Lapsley all had a role in attaching us to this train between 2016 and 2017.

May’s so-called ‘exit’ deal would actually keep us attached to it in perpetuity after Brexit via three commitments: 1. European Defence Agency, 2. European Defence Fund and 3. Pesco. All require the UK to be in CSDP and having made a pledge in the Political Declaration, the EU would enforce it on pain of the backstop. (Continued below.)

 

While Boris appears to have been unwitting, other ministers’ excuse for putting the UK into this has been defence industrial proximity to the EU to ‘benefit’ UK companies (at the expense of UK decision-making authority). In fact, UK companies would suffer and not benefit from EU defence industry arrangements — licensing loss and the requirement for broad consortia across several member states mean investment and expertise are spread thinly EU-wide. The obligatory continuation of the damaging EU defence directives would force UK Government to stop giving contracts straight to British companies and buy from the cheapest EU-wide company instead. A loss for British jobs, skills and investment.

Although UK compliance with CSDP does not necessarily mean we are joining the final combined EU military in 5 years’ time (current EU target), it does at the very least put us into the locus of EU-controlled military decision making after Brexit.

So you see there is an error in MPs merely responding to Verhofstadt types with ‘you should contribute more to NATO’:
a. The EU (and parts of the pro-EU NATO elite) see powergrabbing EU developments as increasing their defence spend.
b. Such statements ignore the reality that EU defence developments are well advanced towards Common Defence and
c. Such statements neglect the major danger for democratic UK defence decision-making independence which arises from being attached to EU defence developments.