An EU Army: a tragedy for our armed forces

It becomes ever clearer why our armed forces are being cut to the bone. If we are heading to a federal Europe, we are going to get a European defence force, however useless it may be. Our only option is to get Britain out of the EU before it's too late

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British soldiers in Afghanistan
Alan_murad
Alan Murad
On 10 March 2015 09:33

On Sunday, President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker told the German Magazine Die Welt am Sonntag, “Europe has lost a huge amount of respect” and complained “we don’t seem to be taken entirely seriously”.

In order to bolster the EU's “standing in the world”, unelected President Juncker has now called for an EU army. So much for a purely economic union then.

It becomes ever clearer why our Armed Forces are being cut to the bone. If we are heading to a federal Europe, we are going to get a European defence force. The prevailing view in Westminster seems to be that Britain’s Armed Forces will lose their reputation and become obsolete by the time an EU army comes to completion.

Juncker goes further to the heart of the matter, arguing “a common European army would convey a clear message to Russia we are serious about defending our European values". He believes an EU army would have deterred Russia from supporting rebels in Ukraine, but where does this leave NATO?

As we are barely able to meet our NATO defence spending commitments of 2 percent of GDP, it’s easy to convey the impression our armed forces are hanging by a thread. The great dangers we face today, from ISIS to an increasingly adversarial Russia, raise the need for a well-equipped and trained army to protect our national interests.

The sense our army is not enough to meet such threats has not been helped by the Conservatives reluctance to commit to it. It is no surprise that Putin, who has consistently increased Russia’s defence spending since 2008, is provoking us with the near constant buzzing of UK airspace.

NATO has been an adequate guardian of peace in Europe, even though Brussels wants to take the credit for it. Our best chances of maintaining a robust defence policy is to not surrender our foreign policy to Brussels. With 28 separate countries and their respective interests, a rigid foreign policy spells nothing less than disaster.

The federalists have endangered us by trying to expand into Ukraine and drawing the West and Russia into a bitter confrontation. For the sake of democracy, it is reckless to place trust in Brussels over our national defence.

Let’s be clear: the EU is exploiting a crisis which weighs heavily on the minds of the peoples of Europe to restore its popularity. They are recycling the same excuses from the 1960s, that Europe needs to be united to keep the Russians out.

We must not forget past 'opportunities' which the EU has cynically tried to exploit, for example the Balkan crisis in the 1990s. In the midst of the break up of Yugoslavia, the Foreign Affairs Minister for Luxembourg Jacques Poos declared that, ‘the hour of Europe’ had arrived, yet the lack of military capability and political will in Europe was clear.

It ended up with NATO taking the reins. A military campaign was thus launched under US leadership, not through Brussels.

Yet Juncker insists an EU army “would also help us to form common foreign and security policies and allow Europe to take on responsibility in the world”.

This crystallises what motivates his call for an EU army, as it would make a ‘common foreign policy’ inevitable. This means more power to Brussels representing our national interest abroad instead of our elected representatives.

To let Brussels decide our foreign policy would be just another step to transform Britain from a sovereign, independent nation into a province of Greater Europe.

It is quite clear the federalists wish to rewrite history and would have you believe the EU has cemented peace in Europe rather than NATO, yet we know this is simply not the case.

In additional to ignoring the role America played in Europe’s security, it reeks of hypocrisy when only 4 countries in NATO are meeting the 2 percent of GDP target on defence spending (and that includes the US and UK).

The key question, as we face bigger defence cuts and none of the major political parties are willing to campaign for defence spending, is what is the future for our Armed Forces?

This goes further than the differences between an Atlanticist Britain or a Gaullist France. Being dragged into an unnecessary European strategic culture will lead to the inevitable loss of sovereignty.

With such blunt calls coming from Brussels, the defence of the realm could be absorbed into a federal Europe within our lifetime.

Geoffrey Van Orden, a Conservative MEP and a party spokesman on defence and security, said: “This relentless drive towards a European army must stop. For Eurocrats, every crisis is seen as an opportunity to further the EU’s centralising objectives.”

The only way to ensure we can escape this fate is to Get Britain Out as soon as possible.

Alan Murad is a Research Executive at Get Britain Out

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