The rise and rise of the German inspired EU superstate
Prime Minister May's Brexit deal is even more flawed than one might presume. It is not just about the Irish backstop issue. German inspired plans for an EU army inside a European superstate should worry everyone who fears the consequences of a half-baked Brexit
With the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, the dominance of Germany and the goals of a European Superstate are becoming more and more prominent.
Throughout the negotiations over the Withdrawal Agreement, time and time again we witnessed German officials commanding EU Member States, notably Spain and France, not to disrupt the Brexit negotiations by making disproportionate demands such as on shared rule of Gibraltar and fishing rights.
These negotiations have shown who is really in charge of the EU.
In recent weeks, we have seen an even more concerning issue arising, that of Germany attempting to recruit foreign citizens into its own army. There is even the suggestion of some British troops potentially ending up under German command. This raises the question of whether Germany is attempting to take an enlarged role in military and security issues, using their control over the EU as the means to do this.
What is going on?
Germany, having ended conscription in 2011, and with an aging population, is now suffering from a chronic shortage of specialist officers within its armed forces. With defence spending currently at 1.2% of GDP they sit far below NATO's recommended 2% minimum.
Instead of increasing funding to recruit from within Germany, the German Defence Ministry has suggested they will seek to fill over 20,000 vacancies with soldiers and citizens from other EU countries.
According to news reports, Germany has already consulted with neighbouring EU Member States, including Poland. They have apparently been very tepid towards the idea. This should come as a shock to no one. The Poles do not seem overly keen to cede some of their most highly skilled soldiers to a country which hasn’t always been a friendly ally.
The biggest concern is that Germany, with the largest population in the EU, joins smaller EU nations which already recruit foreign nationals into their armed forces; countries such as Ireland, Belgium and Luxembourg. All of this points towards growing sentiment within EU Member States that communal armed forces are the future of European Defence. This sits alongside the misguided notion that the EU is the principal body in Europe for organising defence. It now seems that Germany is the main instigator of all this.
Why should we be concerned? Throughout the referendum campaign we were told time and time again there was no need to fear the EU developing an EU army and continuing along the path of an “ever closer union”. Yet here we see the EU’s biggest economic power and the single most dominant member state, moving towards those very goals.
If this is true, how do we know what else is being planned behind closed doors, and how can we trust what we are being told? It would seem Remain MPs and their advocates are refusing to open their eyes to the realities of the ambitions of the EU for its future.
Now, while we in Britain may thank our lucky stars that we voted to Leave the EU, and have managed to escape this German inspired European superstate, there is still the danger of sliding back into EU structures and projects should we not complete a true Brexit. This is a prospect that Prime Minister May’s current deal does not secure us against.
While everyone is focussed on the Irish backstop, there are many other issues to consider. One of these is a commitment by the UK to continue to fund and contribute troops to EU military and humanitarian missions, despite not even being part of the organisation.
This is surely unacceptable. Of course we want to see this country safe and for cooperation on security continue, but to commit troops and funding to an organisation we are not a member of, is deeply worrying. There should be no possibility of British troops serving within the German armed forces at anytime in the future.
This is something we need to continually make sure MPs are aware of. They know about the opposition to the Irish backstop, but anyone who supports Brexit cannot support these kinds of measures. Fixing the backstop issue will not make Mrs May’s deal any more acceptable, especially as we would still be at risk of participating in and funding EU missions at the whim of unelected EU Commissioners, and will have no seat at the table to argue our own point of view.
We must make sure we Get Britain Outof the EU, and ensure we double down on our efforts within NATO to ensure our country’s security. We must avoid the growth of this superstate, ever wary of attempts by Remain-focused MPs to allow this country to give away any more of its sovereignty.
Cooperation on security does not have to mean subjugation to a federalised Europe.
We still have troops stationed across eastern Europe, all of which are under our own control, protecting countries like Germany which don’t pay their fair share. There is no need to fragment this commitment by tying ourselves into the advancing and ever more worrying European project.
Joshua Mackenzie-Lawrie is a Research Executive at the cross-party, grassroots campaign Get Britain Out
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