The whispering game is over. The leaders of ‘Project EU’ are now openly calling for an EU Armed Forces.
However, the concept is ALREADY well on the way. A range of new EU deals struck in 2017 push the EU’s Common Defence Policy a long way towards its destination of ‘Common Defence’ – the Lisbon Treaty term for a unitary military.
Within a year of the Brexit vote, Theresa May and her ministers had incredibly signed up to five separate EU Council agreements transferring military powers to the European Commission. The PM’s withdrawal proposals now seek to keep the UK in EVERYTHING which has been agreed since November 2016.
The agreements place the UK into the EU’s military integration project, with serious consequences for UK defence autonomy and defence procurement. It all appears to have been kept out of MPs sight or at least filtered so they don’t understand the gravity of the power transfer.
The DExEU committee is set to discuss UK involvement on 14 November, but MPs are almost all unsighted on the level of commitment entered so far.
Why have ministers entered these arrangements on the advice of a small band of Foreign Office officials? Because they provide remainer officials and ministers with a U-bend route to EU membership in the future.
Put simply, they are stitching up the negotiations by making the UK subordinate to new structures, budgets, policies, directives and financial payments.
Veterans for Britain has researched and raised awareness of these military entanglements since the EU Referendum.
Major General Julian Thompson, chairman of the Veterans for Britain research group and a former Royal Marines commander, commented on the recent Merkel remarks, saying:
‘The fact that Putin supports the notion of a European Army shows that he hopes it will happen because it will weaken NATO and its ties with the United States. It also shows how his supposed support for the Leave campaign was classic Russian deception (maskirovka): saying that you support he thing that you actually oppose because an Independent Britain, free of EU entanglements and restored to the Anglosphere alliances, is his worst nightmare. He must be rubbing his hands with glee at this latest nonsensical idea being pushed by Merkel. ‘ Julian Thompson, Chairman Veterans for Britain.
Dr Lee Rotherham, executive director of Veterans for Britain, added:
“The second half of the Franco-German axis has now signed on the dotted line. As we warned, an EU army is on its way.”
Here we profile the 10 common mistakes by politicians and pundits in relation to an ‘EU Armed Forces’:
1. Claim: “An EU army is a distant fantasy and would require treaty change.”
In fact, the concept has been in the Lisbon Treaty for more than a decade and the EU Commission has been beavering away on the groundwork.
2. Claim: “The EU has done nothing since creating a Common Defence Policy.”
From June 2016, the groundwork went into a higher gear and the EU was able to combine the political levers over member states’ armed forces. New joint budgets, new political centralisation, new command centres were all announced and rapidly agreed in a series of meetings between member states from November 2016 to November 2017.
The EU Commission then took rapid steps to maximise these gains. When Brussels described the manoeuvres as the ‘foundation for a true EU Defence Union’, a confused public didn’t howl in opposition, so the technocrats pressed further. The EU Commission announced that one of its ambitions was to activate Common Defence ‘by 2025’.
Article 42 of the Lisbon Treaty declares:
The common security and defence policy shall include the progressive framing of a common Union defence policy. This will lead to a common defence, when the European Council, acting unanimously, so decides.
When we consider that Common Defence requires EU Council unanimity, plus parliamentary consent and referenda in all member states, then the formal process for producing Common Defence ‘by 2025’ would surely need to start in early 2024 at the latest.
Until that date, the EU will naturally spend five years increasing the coordination and merger of member state militaries. A kind of puppet show where the strings are incrementally tied together.
3. Claim: “The EU can never agree on anything so they won’t agree on a single military”
The process of tying together member state militaries is already taking place in advance of final amalgamation under Common Defence. Imagine a French general in five years’ time trying to maintain the defence autonomy of his country when a series of amalgamation steps have already undermined the concept of autonomy.
- Brigades are already jointly commanded.
- Combined budgets already created, not to mention a mechanism for the central coordination of member state defence budgets by the EU Commission.
- Decision-making and policy are entwined, with plans for ingress into intelligence and space, all with swelling involvement from the EU Military Staff.
- Foreign policy’s link to defence is already established as a function of an emboldened EEAS.
All the above are already a reality in 2018 and growing rapidly in scope, so imagine what a further half-decade will do to give these concepts an unopposable inevitability in 2024.
However the list goes on. The EU influences the very strategy and thinking of member state militaries through its European Security and Defence College, ESDC. Defence colleges throughout the member states are designated as branches of the ESDC and are obliged to promote and train staff in EU Common Security and Defence Policy.
The Defence Academy of the UK, a unit of the MOD, serves as the UK branch of the ESDC, promoting CSDP within the UK. Staff affiliated with the Defence Academy are often called by MPs on subjects related to the UK relationship with the EU and its defence policy. Do MPs understand the Defence Academy’s role within the ESDC when this happens? Is it declared?
4. Claim: “An single EU force will be a paper tiger so it won’t happen.”
This theory seems to be built on the underfunding of key European militaries and the inability of member states to agree.
The EU Commission has already mooted removal of the member state veto in Common Security and Foreign Policy, where EU Defence Policy (CSDP) is found. This would need to happen before Common Defence is triggered in 2024.
There’s no reason to assume that underfunding or effectiveness will halt its creation, which is in any case a political project. The EU Commission offers various reasons to justify the merger of militaries under its political control but none survive analysis when we consider that NATO already provides the platform for cooperation, burden sharing and even defence research.
5. Claim: “The UK will steer clear of an EU military.”
Incredibly, remainer ministers and the PM have put the UK under the subordinating structures of EU Defence and the withdrawal proposals seek to keep us there.
Why? It could only be a route to take us back into the EU by the backdoor. Undermine defence, a fundamental part of sovereignty, and you’ve undermined the concept of democratic autonomy.
Since the referendum, ministers joined the European Defence Fund, Military Planning and Conduct Capability (military HQ) and the European Defence Industrial Development Programme. These along with the EU Common Security and Defence Policy and its EU Battlegroups are all components of EU Defence, which centralise EU militaries in a structure with ‘decision-making autonomy from NATO’.
6. Claim: “Being outside of PESCO means the UK is outside of military union.”
This is not the case because outside of PESCO (the agreement on Permanent Structured Cooperation), ministers are still proposing to remain subordinate to EU defence and foreign policy, defence industry rules, defence budgeting schemes, new controls on central financing and a commitment to payments. There are also compromising EU requirements over intelligence, space and strategy.
Although the UK is outside PESCO – the final layer of icing atop the EU Defence ‘cake’ – ministers have incredibly committed to operating ‘through PESCO’, therefore committing the UK to its onerous participation rules including continued subordination to EU defence and foreign policy and EU defence directives which have harmed UK industry and jobs.
Apparently our remainer ministers are happy for the UK to be a defence ruletaker.
7. Claim: “The UK’s involvement in EU Defence has received Parliamentary scrutiny.”
MPs were given the chance to discuss the only part the UK is NOT in, namely Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). Even then, the debate was incoherent and misinformed. Almost none of the discussion was grounded in the reality of actual agreements and it there was a pervading misapprehension that the UK would not be committed to the wider EU defence picture.
8. Claim: “MPs will have a chance to vote on UK involvement.”
When the UK officially leaves the EU on 29 March 2019, any future arrangements are decided on a bilateral basis rather than through the previous supranational system of imposed rule. Bilateral deals the UK signs with foreign powers are subject to executive powers, also called ministerial prerogative. Whatever the Cabinet decides can be applied without ratification by Parliament. The defence giveaway enshrined in the withdrawal proposals are currently on course to be stitched up this way.
9. Claim: “The European Intervention Initiative (EI2) is completely independent of the EU.”
Wrong. Even the respected House of Commons Library has repeated this mistake so often spoken about Macron’s EI2 scheme. An analysis of the EI2 agreement shows that participants commit the EI2 to ‘contribute’ to the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), ‘serve the interests’ of PESCO and even ‘merge with existing PESCO projects’ or ‘constitute new ones’. A backdoor to UK participation in PESCO.
It is in any case impossible for any agreement by the constituent parts of the EU Defence Union to be independent of the European Union. All member states adhere to the ‘progressive framing’ of a Common Security and Defence Policy, instructed by EU Commission and Council.
Lord Howe, MOD Brexit minister who mixed up EU military acronyms in front of defence MPs, put the UK into this scheme in 2018.
MPs weren’t told EI2’s link to PESCO and EU Defence Policy or that it’s one of Macron’s ‘Keys to European Sovereignty’.
It is difficult enough for MPs to scrutinise and force change, but when the truth about important agreements is withheld, it confounds democracy and Parliamentary process.
This is yet another scandalous episode in the stealthy process of UK involvement in the EU’s military schemes.
10. Claim: “The EI2 was created because Macron is frustrated by the slow pace of PESCO.”
This is completely untrue. A clumsy fabrication which has somehow taken hold.
PESCO is in fact moving very quickly but with little fanfare. 17 projects are already underway including the creation of combined logistics and medical structures for EU militaries.
A roadmap for PESCO was adopted by the EU Council in March 2018, linking PESCO to the Capability Development Plan (CDP) and the Coordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD). A further round of projects is due to be announced in mid-November 2018 by the EU Council.
Member states must declare by 10 January 2019 how they intend to integrate PESCO projects into their own member state functions and must do so in the context of the CPD and the member state defence budget control mechanism known as CARD. From then, member states must explain by the same date each year how they will integrate new PESCO projects in order to qualify for reimbursements of their own funding via the CARD and European Defence Fund.