Nouvelle Vague: An Audit of EU Defence Union Plans

Nouvelle Vague: An Audit of EU Defence Union Plans

Dr Lee ROTHERHAM and Major-General Julian THOMPSON

Executive Summary The EU treaties contain aspirations for EU defence integration that are now being pursued openly. The fact of Brexit has not removed any anchor, but rather allowed the transition to happen at a speed that is now visible. European Union Defence plans are associated with the eventual formation of a European Federal State. Under the current system of unaccountable governance, this means they will be run by an unelected oligarchy. A nation state that contracts out its defence has ceased to be. From a UK perspective, as a major security player and a Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council, this carries an elevated series of innate risks;

  • A threat to Strategic Assets;
  • A threat to the UK’s status as the only European member of the Five Eyes Community;
  •  A threat to NATO, in the context of dissimulation by proponents of EU Defence Integration saying no threat exists;
  • The half-baked ‘pie in the sky’ operational involvement aims of the European External Action Service, a largely untested agency;
  • Interference with the way national armed forces are administered, for example seeking the wider introduction of trades unions;
  • The impact on UK defence industry and strategic resources;
  • The generation of genuinely pooled financial resources in defence, with the consequential risk that this encourages member states to cut defence budgets even further;
  • Decisions on UK defence priorities being made by the EU.

These swift changes carry extra risk in a period of major transition in the United States political scene, and risks encouraging rather than reducing the decoupling of the United States from European allies. These also carry serious questions on the nature of the UK’s future level of engagement in bilaterals and multilaterals with EU states, since the aspiration of the Commission and EEAS is to assume a measure of responsibility over these as well. No safeguards for preserving UK sovereign interests in those appear yet to have been considered. The question that arises for the public of the United Kingdom is therefore this: do you want those whom you hold dear to be sent to war or into danger by people you cannot vote out of power? The UK government should make it plain now that it will not become institutionally entangled with these dangerous developments; and underline that any EU expeditionary ambitions must not predicate themselves on UK capabilities and assets, which may be considered only poolable in the context of the mutual defence of NATO members. That will take a more robust position in Brussels than diplomats and ministers apparently seem to display.

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