MPs are ignoring the sell-out of our military to the EU
European common defence, and specifically the creation of a European military, are not about the noble aim of protecting our neighbourhood, they are about driving through a federalist vision of Europe that the people, especially the British people, do not want, and would be less secure for having
Throughout the entire Brexit process it seems that the media and politicians have been fixated on one thing and one thing alone, the Irish Backstop.
They are ignoring the multitude of problems which are presented by our continued membership of the EU, and the commitments the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration will tie us into should Mrs May’s ‘Deal’ be passed through Parliament.
Prime amongst these commitments are the levels of integration on security and military matters.
For the last 10 years anyone who suggested the EU are attempting to create a unified Armed Forces has been told they are just spreading scare stories to try to get the UK out of the EU. But when you read through EU legislation, the ‘Deal’ and recent statements by those involved in defence across the EU, there are clear signs to show ever greater levels of military integration happening right in front of our eyes.
Within the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration there are 5 key areas the UK will be tied into, areas spread across the funding, functionality, and operational capability of our Armed Forces.
These areas fall under the UK’s commitment to enhance its role within the European Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP):
1. We will become tied into the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) programme, circumventing our own command structures, in favour of a Europe-wide foreign, military and security policy.
2. Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC) generates an EU-based and controlled command chain within their own military structures, independent from the UK, yet influencing and controlling areas of our Armed Forces.
3. We will collaborate with - and take part in - the European Defence Agency (EDA), defined by the EU as “The central operator for EU-funded defence activities and will be the main coordinator for intergovernmental defence.”
4. There will be a Co-ordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD) - a programme which will take control and try to regulate which sectors of defence the UK will spend its own money on. (Why should an unelected body decide where we spend British taxpayers’ money?)
5. We will take part in the European Defence Fund (EDF), meaning we will be funding EU military research and equipment which British troops may not even benefit from.
It is vital to remember, while the Irish Backstop is a very serious issue, it would not come into force until after any Transition Period, and trade negotiations had failed. The sections of the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration relating to defence are enforceable from Day One.
What’s more, should the UK try to get out of these commitments, then according to the Political Declaration the EU would have the right to trap us within the Backstop in perpetuity.
Yet despite the growing evidence to show the UK is being tied ever further into these bodies, our politicians remain silent. They claim time and again, they will stand up and fight to protect our sovereignty, but then go forward and sign us up to treaty after treaty which give away our powers to act independently.
While almost everyone accepts we need to continue cooperation with our close allies on matters of security in order to ensure the safety of our citizens, May’s ‘Deal’ goes far beyond this by committing us to mandatory intelligence sharing and common action when mandated by an unelected board of EU Brussels-based military officials.
Such a collapse of our independent intelligence and military capability cannot be ignored. Should we lose direct control of our intelligence services and the information they gather, our position within the 5 EYES intelligence sharing community could be placed at risk, with other participants (USA, Australia, Canada & New Zealand) unable to trust the UK to not leak their intelligence to the EU.
This is something which the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration make clear is expected of us.
In order to keep our citizens safe, we do not need to give up control of funding and operational decision making. This is not countries working together to ensure their common security, but the urge of a select few individuals to drive a federalist approach through the heart of Europe.
All of this comes at a time when the level of influence of Vladimir Putin and the Russian government is becoming more prevalanet in EU countries such as Bulgaria, Hungary, and The Czech Republic.
As a result, a deeply integrated EU military makes it much harder to develop a meaningful response to the biggest regional threat we face.
Therefore, it is vital we Get Britain Out of the EU and these military integrationist polices before we become excessively tied into programmes which deprive us of our sovereignty, and our ability properly to defend ourselves.
While some of the details are hidden away within pages upon pages of international agreements, MPs need to pay more attention to the potential threats which are hidden inside the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration.
Ignorance is not a defence.
Joshua Mackenzie-Lawrie is a Research Executive at the cross-party grassroots campaign Get Britain Out
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