No European army please

 

One of the two biggest lies which sustains the EU fan club is the statement that the EU prevents wars. I have often explained how wars between western European countries have ceased since 1945, and why this has nothing to do with the EU. The latest outburst that we need an EU army to fight wars for us should help me dismiss this misleading claim about the EU.

The call for a European army does at least show honesty. It recognises that EU policy to date has not been successful in establishing friendly and stable relations with Russia on our borders. EU apologists will claim the latest rows are all Russia’s fault. As I have often made clear, I have no time for Russian aggression or military intervention outside her borders either.Nor do I think the EU has been wise or helpful in managing the Russian relationship. The inclusion of a defence clause in the proposed Association Agreement with Ukraine was bound to provoke Russia for no obviously good purpose.

The call for a European army may be honest, but it is unrealistic and undesirable. These debt soaked countries seeking budget cuts to conform with the discipline of the Euro are in no position to suddenly finance and arm new forces in European uniforms. Most of them fail to spend 2% of GDP on defence to meet their present NATO commitments. They would have  no capacity and little desire to spend more to arm Europe.

It is true they could transfer their current forces to a European force. This too would be unwise. Many people sign up for the armed forces in their country because they are loyal to their homeland, and accept the political control and guidance of their elected government. Fewer would feel allegiance to Europe, and many would ask who is the sovereign, who is the government which would decide when and where these European personnel have to risk their lives and fight their wars?

I am glad a Conservative PM, Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary have made clear the UK does not wish to participate in a European army. We have the British army. It is part of NATO’s forces should need arise. The NATO system requires the member state government to be the authority over that state’s forces. It does  not have EU like powers to counter command or overrule the member state.

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93 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    The march to, EVER CLOSER UNION continues unabated I see.

    Why does an organization that claims to be a promoter of peace need and army ? And is said army is formed, and the bodies start coming home after the latest failed foreign policy, in which flag will their coffins be draped over ? The national flag, or the flag of the EU ?

    What does worry me though, are those here in the UK. They will bend our military into such shapes to try and fit inside and EU army, that it will end up being neither fish nor foul, and like so much of their muddles thinking, of no practicle use at all but costing us a fortune none the same .

    • Hope
      Posted March 11, 2015 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      Dennis makes it clear there is already an EU army and that Maastricht makes it absolutely clear in the preamble of the EU’s intention to its defence policy. The govt is wrong or is lying in its statement to the public. Which is it JR?

    • Tad Davison
      Posted March 11, 2015 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

      Mark,

      They seem to want a European army to support a common pan-European foreign policy. Assuming we still have a nuclear capability after the next General Election, I wonder if they’ll also want political control of something we paid for?

      Tad

  2. Jerry
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    It’s often been said that you need two things before you can claim to be a “country”, one a currency, two an army…

    The lie that the “EU” prevents war would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragically wrong, it’s even failed to stop war on its own door step back in the early 1990s, the two things that have stopped war in Europe have been NATO and the concept of MAD should nuclear weapons become involved, surely there is no more a pointless war than one were you can’t occupy your opponents land and were great swaths of your own are rendered useless for many many generations.

    I read that France is as horrified as the UK is regarding this call for a EU Army, thank goodness for that as with the UK halfway out of the EU back door is anyone going to listen to us!

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 11, 2015 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

      “France is as horrified as the UK is regarding this call for a EU Army”

      That must be why the French decided to contribute a 15,000-strong division to Eurocorps, complete with main battle tanks and other armoured vehicles.

  3. stred
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    I clicked the link about the present EU army put on by Dennis C this morning under the roads blog. The appropriately named COMEC title reveals the commander is a Belgian. The Belgian forces have been criticised by their king and commander as being very expensive in terms of head office costs. It appears that they have managed to spend even less than the UK on forces proportionate to pensions, civil servants and dinners. And don’t forget they refused to sell us ammunition when we had the Argiebargy in the South Atlantic.

  4. Leslie Singleton
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    The EU boneheaded mindset might soon become that conscription is Way To Go, perhaps with contributions from what’s left of countries pro rata to population (and 5o% women of course). That might, pray God, be fanciful but I for one cannot begin to see how any such army could work. Can you imagine a (say) Greek Brigade enthusiastically following a (say) German commander in to the breach (Dear friends)? Forlorn hope (Sorry that’s Dutch)??

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    I too am glad a Conservative PM, Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary have made clear the UK does not wish to participate in a European army. But will they keep their word this time given their record. It seems clear the defence procurement in the UK has been severely damaged by the EU influences.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/4886166/How-UK-defence-firms-suffer-for-MoD-Euro-mania.html

    • Hope
      Posted March 11, 2015 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      There is absolutely no way any right minded person could beleive a word either of these Tories say. The EU ever close Union has been created by stealth for over forty years, which was meant to be a trade agreement, read the FCO paper for the deceit used by the LibLabCon cartel if in any doubt.

      Cameron claimed he would not promote closer union to the EU, his MPs including JR and Rees Mogg were present for the debate when Cameron allowed £18 million pounds of taxpayers’ money to be used for promoting closer union with the EU. Does this sound familiar with other Cameron promises? Is like yesterday’s. Log by JR where he turned up for a debate and the UK taxpayer still picked up the tab! Was te of time debating, Cameron’s actions demonstrate he is a Europhile through and through.

      Why has Cameron sent UK troops to the Ukraine, this needs to be asked. It also needs to be absolutely bottomed out whether. This was ordered, instructed or influenced in any way by the EU under the table. EU expansionis created the mess and Cameron should be condemning it. He will not because a year ago he was provoking Russia and encouraging the expansion of the EU to the Urals! What I find equally staggering is why Eurosceptic Tory MPs have not ousted him.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted March 11, 2015 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

        There are not enough Tory EUskeptics to oust him. Nor anyone obvious who could usefully replace Cameron and still command the support of the party. The majority of it are essentially Ken Clark types.

        • Hope
          Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

          Yes, but as Lord Tebbot points out this is because CCHQ effectively chooses each Tory MP. CCHQ gives a choice of three to local associations to choose from. When he was part chairman this do not happen. Time for either the Eurosceptics to claim back their party because of the stranglehold Europhiles have on it or leave to join UKiP.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 12, 2015 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

            Indeed where are the new Norman Tebbits? I assumes they are banned by the Cameron types.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 11, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      So now we are to get a “digital” debate I suppose it will look very similar to an analogue one.

      Why on earth is Lord Grade suggesting the BBC should not empty chair Dave Cameron? Of course they should it is one of the few things they have got right. He can after all turn up if he wants to or send someone else if he is too scared to defend his daft green crap, open door, EUphile, tax increasing, serial ratting labour light agenda.

      • Jerry
        Posted March 11, 2015 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

        @LL; “Why on earth is Lord Grade suggesting the BBC should not empty chair Dave Cameron? Of course they should it is one of the few things they have got right.”

        Electoral law says otherwise, as Lord Grade knows (having been at the sharp end of the media and broadcasting for longer than many) and indeed the BBC has already rowed back from their “empty chair” threat as I suggested at the time they would have to.

        • Lifelogic
          Posted March 12, 2015 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

          Why would it be against the law. They are being perfectly fair to Cameron and the Tories – if he does not want to attend or send anyone else (to defend his appalling record and ratting and incompetence) why should he be able to veto the other parties attending?

          Anyway they are hugely biased against UKIP have been for years but still get away with that and hugely biased for the totally absurd Green loons.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 13, 2015 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

            @LL; The broadcasters have to give equal time, no ifs, not buts, what you or I think is irrelevant. If a party can’t attend, for what ever reason, but the programme still goes ahead then there has to be a right of reply offered.

            Oh and this isn’t a “BBC thing”, all the UK broadcasters are effected.

      • William Gruff
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 2:05 am | Permalink

        Lifelogic:

        Why on earth is Lord Grade suggesting the BBC should not empty chair Dave Cameron? Of course they should it is one of the few things they have got right.

        The BBC should not ’empty chair’ (strewth) The Grooovey One. They should put a talking Cabbage Patch doll in his place that repeats endlessly ‘you know I’m lying ‘cos me lips are moving, you know I’m lying ‘cos me lips are moving, gottle a geer, gottle a geer, wind turbine subsidies, cast iron guarantee, renegotiate Europe, cast iron guarantee, I will never … , you know I’m lying ‘cos me lips are moving, I said this at the bullshitters’s confrence, you know I’m lying ‘cos me lips are moving‘.

        Why not use an empty chair to represent an empty bag of empty promises?

        The other chairs could be empty as well.

  6. Richard1
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    It’s difficult to see who would order it into action. The European commission? The council of ministers on majority vote? That could mean the forces of a contributing country are sent into action, and service people killed, against the express wishes of that country’s elected government.

    An easy hit for the Comservatives to say the UK will have no part in it. I wonder what the federalist parties will say?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 11, 2015 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Maybe one day you’ll wake up and realise that your beloved Tory party is itself one of those eurofederalist parties, despite its protestations to the contrary.

      • Richard1
        Posted March 11, 2015 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        That is clearly not the case. There are Tory MPs in favour of outright withdrawal and many who favour membership on a trade focused basis, with a few who might count as federalist. I do not think the extreme characterisations which you use in any way serve your cause – the large majority of people can see it’s clearly nonsense.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 12, 2015 at 10:21 am | Permalink

          Anybody who has looked at what the Tory party has actually done over the past half century, rather than going by what it says, will see that it has been and still is led by eurofederalists.

          • Lifelogic
            Posted March 12, 2015 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

            Indeed even Lady Thatcher as PM entered Majors idiotic ERM signed the Single European Act.

        • Jerry
          Posted March 12, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

          @Richard1; Indeed and well said.

        • Ken Skeptik
          Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

          No, I’m so sorry, there are no MP’s in the Tory party in favour of outright withdrawal or they would be in UKIP. They have to obey the party line.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 12, 2015 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

            @Ken Skeptik; Wrong way around, if there is anyone in UKIP who really wants out of the EU then they would (still) be a part of the Tory party and thus actually stand a chance of achieving their goal. Sorry but, as we have seen again today, UKIP are simply a refuge for any and all who have ideas that are unacceptable within any electable party, yes they have tried to tame or oust some of the more damaging ideas and members but there plenty of dry-rot left, all the way to the parties foundation…

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted March 13, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

            There are a few Tory MPs who have unequivocally come out in favour of withdrawal from the EU, but very few:

            http://www.betteroffout.net/supporters/

            None of them are in positions of power within the Tory party, or ever likely to be given that like the other two old parties it has long been dominated by eurofederalists.

          • Jerry
            Posted March 13, 2015 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

            @Denis Cooper; “None of [those Tory MPs] are in positions of power within the Tory party”

            I think you might be confusing power and influence

      • Bob
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        @Denis
        Hammer, nail, head.
        Judge them by their deeds, not their words.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 11, 2015 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      @Richard1; Surely what you describe is no different to what already can happen within NATO, not that I’m defending this daft idea, just answering your question!

      • Richard1
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        No NATO is a defensive treaty. members agree to come to one another’s’ defence. An EU army would exist outside the scope of the individual countries, answerable to some other authority.

        • Jerry
          Posted March 12, 2015 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

          @Richard1; That’s splitting hairs, for example there were many who would have preferred to have not had anything to do with the 2001 Afghanistan NATO mission, and indeed if I remember correctly there were some member countries of NATO who refused to send front-line personal.

  7. Old Albion
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    We sent many hundred of thousands of British and Commonwealth military personnel to die in defence of European freedom, twice. What was the point? Germany and it’s lapdog France rule us now.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 11, 2015 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      @Old Albion; “We sent many hundred of thousands of British and Commonwealth military personnel to die in defence of European freedom, twice. What was the point?”

      Only because of people thinking like you do and thus our politicians have always been halfway out the door. Both Germany and France wanted the UK in from the start but of course we still had much of our Empire in the early 1950s to ‘sell’ our exports to and thus talked down out nose to those we “saved” twice, telling them their fortune – of course once we could no longer ‘sell’ our exports to the (now) Commonwealth nations…

      “Germany and it’s lapdog France rule us now.”

      If we never sit at the table how can we ever expect to be of influence?

  8. oldtimer
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Agreed. This is another EUrocracy attempt at a power grab. One question. Now that it has been announced as an EU Commission policy objective, could it be pushed through by the votes of MEPs and QMV? And next step conscription?

  9. Ian wragg
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    The last paragraph is a bit of a laugh. Everything Dave promises he reneges on
    He’s posturing around Europe about defence spending whilst cutting back at home
    Foreign Aid being enshrined in law. The liblabcon is a joke.
    By the way wind is supplying 1.3gw or 2%. Gas, coal and nuclear are on 85 to 90%. Still the Lords and Ladies are getting their subsidy
    Must make you feel good

  10. alan jutson
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Agreed.

    NO to EU armed forces, and it has to be armed forces, because the army depend upon the airforce, etc etc.

    Can you imagine some non elected, non services, politically correct person being in charge. !

    If the EU carries on the way it is going, they will promote a war, and that may be a civil war within some countries, or eventually member against member, such is the financial strain of some policies.

  11. Colin Hart
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Would the EU armed forces be subject to the EU working time directive?

  12. Anonymous
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    The EU helped create tensions in the Baltics and is now stoking up war with Russia.

    Far from being a peace keeper it is a danger.

    • Anonymous
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Balkans

  13. DaveM
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Whereas you live and breathe this kind of thing, up until recently most people in the UK regarded the EU as some sort of distant foreign entity which does things regarding trade.

    It’s only fairly recently when fishermen, farmers, and so on have been adversely affected by EU rulings that they have realised the overreaching tentacles of Brussels. Likewise most ordinary people have only recently woken up to the fact that the EU is taking great sums of money and allowing unchecked immigration into the UK, and most of them don’t like it.

    Other than that, British people (and I’m sure most Europeans) regard their country as their sovereign state and have no loyalty to Brussels. The idea of a European army would, to most people, be some sort of wierd fantasy, certainly in the UK.

    As a serviceman (and I’ve said similar things here before) I can confidently say that 99.9% of British servicemen and women are loyal (and swear loyalty) to the Crown. That is to say, the sovereign nation and the people who live therein – not even the government. Some join the forces for a career, some for apprenticeships, and so on, but all join to serve their country. If we were to come under EU command you’d have a severe recruitment and retention problem! Which, of course would lead to a compulsory draft, which would probably lead to widespread rioting.

    Of course, if there was a threat to the West as a whole, people would gladly fight under a joint command, but it’s only the EU which is capable of allowing such a threat to develop. In the meantime, I’m glad your govt has refused to entertain the little Luxemburger’s fantasy – any chance you could go a bit further and just tell him to get back in his box completely?

    There is one country in the EU which has a proud military history but which also has a constitution preventing their current army growing above a certain size and deploying abroad (in spite of the fact that powerful deployed forces are part of their DNA). And which has enough money to finance another “EU” army. Who could that be…..?

  14. Edward2
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    There are 28 members of the EU.
    If the army was loyal to the EU, an army representing 27 nations could invade any other single member nation if the EU voted to do so.
    What a clever way to get any rebellious single nation to toe the line.

    • formula57
      Posted March 11, 2015 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Indeed a clever way to keep member states in line – per our leader Mr Juncker (in a Die Welt am Sonntag interview) quoted @ https://euobserver.com/political/127914) that says : –

      An army would allow the EU to react in a “credible manner” to threats to peace in a member state or in a neighbouring country, he noted.

      Showing though that he does have a grasp of reality, Mr Juncker also said: –

      “Europe has lost a huge amount of respect. In foreign policy too, we don’t seem to be taken entirely seriously.”

      • Edward2
        Posted March 11, 2015 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

        I agree, formula.
        A frightening erosion of freedom, creeping quietly up on sovereign and democratic single nations.

  15. The Prangwizard
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    We have the British Army for the time being, but before long if your leaders have their way it won’t be able to defend anything much more than it’s training grounds, let alone the rest of us. It has been pulled out of Europe because it was spread too thinly. It is said the Royal Navy would have a hard time simply defending itself at present. And slick Cameron keeps dodging questions about the 2%. And where are the maritime surveillance aircraft? It seems we have had to rely on the French. How much does that cost?

    It’s always the Tories who run down our defences and Cameron’s at it again.

    We may need the EU army if your party keeps on the way it is, maybe that’s what Cameron and the other EU supporters are hoping to achieve; such weakness that we have no choice but to rely on it. (see above)

    The trouble with the EU is that for every small step that might be achieved and to which you feel you may have contributed to roll it back, it moves ahead with a big stride and the small regulations just keep on coming.

    The only way is out, what has tinkering achieved over the last thirty years.

    And off-topic, the other day I forgot to ask if you would leave your party if it started talks about a form of coalition with Labour after the GE.

    • fedupsouthener
      Posted March 11, 2015 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

      Agree with these comments. Once we join an EU army we will never be able to leave Europe. We are getting in so far now I doubt we will ever come out because the scaremongering about what will happen if we leave will only get worse especially if the BBC have anything to do with it. We will be signing our own death warrants!!!! Let’s come out of the EU and use the money we give them to build up our own forces again amongst other things. Until the EU keep accounts it is just another way of getting us to throw money at the machine.

  16. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Despite repeated denials from UK government ministers there is already an EU army, even if it is one which is available to be shared with NATO:

    http://www.eurocorps.org/

    “EUROCORPS

    A Force for the European Union and NATO”

  17. Alan Wheatley
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Agreed.

    It would be wise to recall what happened with the break-up of Yugoslavia. There were no shortage of warnings; I remember the concerns being raised regularly in the media.

    When Tito died nothing much happened, or seemed to be happening, for a while. But then the old national rivalries, long suppressed under communist rule, came to the surface, and soon we were into a shooting war.

    European forces deployed to make and maintain the peace proved ineffective, and in some cases disastrous. In effect, European countries failed to engage while ex-Yugoslavia burned.

    The ever worsening situation was only turned round with the intervention of the USA.

  18. David Murfin
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Wedges have thin ends.

  19. Alan Wheatley
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    You can’t help but wonder whether an EU army, either by design of default, would be yet another element in the rise of Germany, something the EU concept was formed to prevent.

  20. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Just trying to imagine a European military (army – whatever). I have since about 1970 found it very hard to imagine, having witnessed them whilst in the RAF in the 70’s. I may have recognised a uniform but that would be about it mostly. I suspect since then they have become far more liberal (weak) and since money is somewhat short I hope the idea dies along with those who proposed it.

    Not that our own is without its goofs. However, its all about having a war and trying to feel good about it afterwards, ignoring the enormous hardships so achieved.

    Clarkson…LOL (that’ll need a big hike in licence tax)

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 11, 2015 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      Clarkson to replace Boris Johnson next perhaps?

      • Edward2
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 7:48 am | Permalink

        Perhaps the other way round might work.

  21. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    It would be very unwise to have an EU army given the fact that in my lifetime several EU countries have been military dictatorships. Establishing a large army under weak/no democratic control risks the same thing happening again.

  22. Vanessa
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    We, in the military, swear allegiance to Queen and Country but to swear allegiance to the EU and fight for it, seems horrible enough but to die for it seems even more terrible and wrong.

    • Jerry
      Posted March 11, 2015 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      @Vanessa; So what do think about serving within a NATO lead mission, and how is that any different to a EU lead one, serious question, should we pull out of NATO like the Greens want?

      • DaveM
        Posted March 12, 2015 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        Jerry,

        NATO’s different somehow. NATO is an alliance of states which agree to defend each other against non-NATO aggression (if necessary), not to pursue a common (dogs breakfast) of a foreign policy. We would not support the US if they attacked a country in S America, say, and they would not give military support to the UK if we had a war exclusively related to UK foreign policy. In addition, NATO SHOULD NOT act without UN mandates (I know about Kosovo – studied it in depth).

        In addition, the military leadership of NATO is a collection of military personnel from the NATO countries, and work together under very strict guidelines relating to the UN, international law, etc. I have worked in NATO HQs, and have also been part of the EU Battle Group, and they are utterly different. For a start, I’m not sure the EU Battle Group would even sanction the use of any weapon stronger than a sharpened mango!!

        NATO retains the formations of the militarys from the separate countries: the supreme commander essentially formulates the battle plan but it is down to the sub-commanders to execute the plan.

        The issue with an EU army is political. Even though many people in the UK’s Armed Forces did not support the invasion of Iraq necessarily, the order to invade – rightly or wrongly – came from our PM, not from Brussels, and the attack on New York was seen as an attack on the West and western values in general.

        We should absolutely NOT withdraw from NATO, despite all its faults, any more than we should withdraw from the UN. And in order to maintain our status in the world (whatever that might be) we HAVE to have nuclear missiles, submarines, carriers, MBTs, an Air Force etc.

        And people shouldn’t believe everything they read about capability. As an exaple, look up how ONE of our D-Class destroyers performed against a US Carrier Group. Put it this way, the US reaction was: “can we have some of those please?!!”

  23. Atlas
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Agreed John.

    As regards to Putin – the EU should have known that if you prod a bear with a stick it might turn a little upset shall we say?

    As for Cameron talking some time ago about extending the ‘EU to the Urals’, well it might have helped if he knew where the Urals were and that this meant co-opting Russia without asking it first ! I don’t suppose one does geography in PPE…

  24. Bert Young
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Juncker’s call for an EU army is really a cry and admission of weakness . The attempt to unify Europe through the adoption of a common monetary unit failed so another route is being attempted .

    Each member country of the EU has priorities dictated by its own surroundings they can never be assembled into a unified force that would also allow each country to apply its own priority . NATO makes a stab at this but experiences resistance of one sort or another when faced with putting an army together .

    Past experience has shown the huge mistakes the EU has made ( the Ukraine most recently ) . It would be folly for it to tread further .

  25. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    JR: “I am glad a Conservative PM, Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary have made clear the UK does not wish to participate in a European army”

    How clear have they made it? As vague as their ‘commitment’ to spend 2% of GDP on defence? As mendacious as Nick Clegg who last year accused Nigel Farage of peddling “a dangerous fantasy” by saying Europe wanted its own force?

    Your party could once be trusted on defence but no more. I read that Letwin has been asked by Cameron to scoure all expenditure to see if other items can be allocated to defence to adjust the figures in order to comply with the 2%.
    Yet, you so-called representaives of the people have made it a legal requirement for 0.7% of UK’s annual national income to be spent on international aid every year. No other expenditure of taxpayers’ money is enshrined in law.
    You have taken leave of your senses.

  26. David
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    “One of the two biggest lies which sustains the EU fan club is the statement that the EU prevents wars.”
    It seems to have created one – with Putin’s help – in Ukraine.

  27. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    “I am glad a Conservative PM, Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary have made clear the UK does not wish to participate in a European army.”

    In that case it would be as well for them to retract the solemn commitment given by a previous Conservative government through the Maastricht Treaty on European Union, which stated in its preamble:

    “RESOLVED to implement a common foreign and security policy including the eventual framing of a common defence policy, which might in time lead to a common defence, thereby reinforcing the European identity and it independence in order to promote peace, security and progress in Europe and in the world”.

    And that passage is still in the present EU treaties, with some small changes, along with no fewer than 70 occurrences of the word “defence”, as can easily be checked by doing a word search here:

    http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.C_.2010.083.01.0001.01.ENG#C_2010083EN.01001301

    How can a present government spokeswoman pretend that:

    “Our position is crystal clear that defence is a national, not an EU responsibility and that there is no prospect of that position changing and no prospect of a European army.”

    as quoted in the Telegraph, when she must surely know that this is not what was agreed through the Maastricht Treaty, and that an EU army already exists?

  28. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    JR, when it is headlined here:

    https://euobserver.com/economic/127949

    that

    “Ministers reach political agreement on Juncker plan”

    and stated that:

    “Finance ministers have agreed their position on the EU’s flagship investment fund at a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday (10 March).”

    presumably that will include George Osborne?

  29. Max Dunbar
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    When you refer to ‘our borders’, do you mean the EU or NATO border?

  30. agricola
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    As to the EU preventing wars, they seem to have a capacity for starting them. Meddling in Ukraine is a prime example. NATO and the strength of the American military has kept Europe at peace. This should be recognised and applauded in Brussels.

    Armies have to be subject to democratic control. Nothing is subject to democratic control in Europe. It is a travesty of what it pretends to be. Thinking of all the small wars we have had around the fringes of Europe, when has there been a coherent collective approach to any of them. Never is the answer, because the 27 sovereign countries within the EU have always had different perspectives and interests. I pity the generals who have to command such a dogs breakfast should it occur .

    Any military force has to be credible in the eyes of potential enemies. At the moment there is no force outside NATO that could be. Other than the UK, France and Israel none have a nuclear deterrent. I cannot speak for France except to say that on past performance they have proved incapable of defending their own country, and that is not meant to take away anything from individual Frenchmen who gave their lives in trying.
    Israel is on the fringe , but very small and highly resolute.

    The UK have excellent armed forces despite the efforts of various governments to dilute them and the incompetence of the MOD to support them properly. Just to give you an example, who thought it a good idea to invest in two aircraft carriers when the navy is not big enough to offer battle security to one. Take a look at a US carrier task force and work it out. The conservative party should exercise some control over CMD’s petulant outburst suggesting that our ex generals are more interested in book sales than the defence of the country. They at least have been there and have experience.

    For Europe, an army as with a foreign policy or the Euro, it is a case of trying to run before they can even hobble along.

  31. Sir Graphus
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    NO British soldier to ever transfer to an EU army.
    NO British taxpayer cash to support an EU army.
    NO EU soldier to ever set foot on UK turf.

  32. Elliot Kane
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Absolutely agree, John.

    I find even the thought of an EU army to be disturbing. The prospect of a pan-European armed force owing loyalty to no elected government and with no-one to answer to outside of, presumably, the EU Commission, is not an idea that should ever be welcomed, IMO.

    We know the EU is no fan of democracy or accountability. Give them an army, and who knows how that army might be used?

    Every modern state has banned private armies because they are a disaster waiting to happen. I think that policy is very wise.

  33. Mitchel
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    At whose bidding is Philip Hammond creating hysteria around Russia with claims like “Russia is potentially the single greatest threat to national security”?As far as I can see Russia poses no threat to this country and only responds when provoked.Clearly it presents a challenge to those who believe in the unipolar world of which an undemocratic EU is a key building block and that I believe is why we are bombarded with daily Russophobic news items. etc edIs the process of “manufacturing consent” underway?

    Is the USA a supporter of a European Army,perhaps seeing the declining commitment to defence of individual nations as rendering their national forces ineffective?

  34. stred
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    A few weeks ago I came across a C Span programme in which an ex US ambassador to the Ukraine kept telling callers that Russia had invaded Eastern Ukraine, against the will of the majority, who had not been able to vote in the national referendum and this was due to Soviet expansionism. The same story went for Crimea, Whenever any old boy from the Mid West contradicted him, he was told he was mistaken.

    Since then we have heard much the same from our PM, foreign and defence secretaries, and an ex defence secretary, who was over in Washington. We also heard the recently retired Nato chief, described as Blairite, telling us that documents produced in Washington prove that the West did not give a commitment to the Russians that Nato would not move east into ex soviet lands etc ed

    On the other hand we had Mr Gorbachev sating that he was surprised that, having won the cold war and finished the USSR, the EU was busy creating another one. He also was of the opinion that the agreement had not been honoured. Then during a Commons debate, a conservative MP said he had been present during the negotiations and commitments had been made to the Russians. There are claims on the net showing that the new Ukranian parliament did not follow their constitution during the revolution.

    But most strange of all is that Mr Putin has never said he wished to incorpoate Eastern Ukraine into Russia. He said he wanted the Russian speaking population to have a federal place within Ukraine. He said that Ukraine had been badly governed. The civil war has been supported by Russian arms and ‘advisors’, but this is what the UK and US have done to support any particular side in conflicts for as long as we can remember.

    Now we have a country in Europe with a wrecked economy, thousands of dead and injured and needing massive financial support from EU taxpayers. The US vice president is on their gas board and a the fertile farmlands are about to be converted to growing GM biofuels. The population faces massive inflation, lack of pension s and having their fuel cut off if the EU does not pay. While the EU has decided to buy US shale gas in the future, whilst banning its production in many EU countries.

    And, just as Mrs Merkel has managed to quieten things down, up pops Eural during a parliamentary recess to announce military aid and now they are saying we need things like aircraft for the new aircraftless carriers, HMS Gordon and Jock.

  35. Tad Davison
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Interesting headline on Open Europe this morning:

    ‘Greek Justice Minister: German property in Greece could be seized as compensation for wartime atrocities’.

    Nice to see that the EU is acting in complete accord and works for every one of its constituents with a complete absence of rivalry, disunity, and animosity.

    It seems to me that everything the EU comes up with diminishes our sovereignty and costs yet more money. It’s as if they actually pay people to dream up new schemes. I watched an interesting documentary last night entitled ‘The Debt Time Bomb that is Britain’. It’s a couple of years old, but no less relevant as it relates (unsurprisingly) to Britain’s colossal and growing volcano of debt.

    If it blows up, it will be catastrophic for ourselves and the whole of Europe. We won’t even have enough money to pay our own army, let alone contribute to another unnecessary one.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 11, 2015 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      The EU promoting harmony as usual.

  36. Roy Grainger
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    I imagine at the back of Juncker’s mind is the wish to deploy such an army not against Russia but on the streets of Athens or Madrid to stop protests about the EU’s economic policy.

  37. bluedog
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    One of the early 20th century German philosophers, and it may well have been Oswald Spengler in The Decline of the West, astutely observed that professional armies lead inevitably to war. We can see the truth of that statement today. Would George W Bush have been able to invade Iraq in 2003 with an army of national servicemen? Of course not. For all their faults, citizen armies are truly defensive, whereas professional armies are offensive organisations. Accordingly, our foreign policy has become increasingly militaristic, although without the financial means necessary ever since the British Army became a professional service.

    It follows that an EU professional army would be a tool for the subjugation of internal and external foes, real or imagined. In short, an EU army would guarantee the war that we are told the EU has prevented from May 1945 to date. A claim Dr JR’s discerning readers will recognise as a Big Lie, in the finest European tradition.

  38. majorfrustration
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    OK but only on the basis that the French and Italians armed forces take the field for the first six months. This sounds reasonable given previous experiences. If is a total cockup after 6mtha then we can express our concerns and say there there.
    If our Government of idiots signs up for this they deserve horse whipping

  39. formula57
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Correct though you are to reject the notion of participation by Britain in an EU army (even though that would deny to us the greatest prize in military strategy of direct access to the German general staff), would it not be in British interests to see such an army established (with British opt-out clearly)?

    As Chancellor Osborne rightly said, Greece is the biggest present threat to our wellbeing and yet if Mr Tsipras knew Mr Juncker could literally put boots on the ground to enforce compliance with the Eurozone’s disastrous policies, that would be a source of comfort and help make us more secure. It would of course further undermine support for the EU but we in Britain could live with that.

  40. James Winfield
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    In theory I like the idea, as a pro-reform, pro-European.

    But we would never manage to agree on what the army would do.

  41. Wireworm
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    To quote Mr Juncker, “One wouldn’t have a European army to deploy it immediately. But a common European army would convey a clear message to Russia that we are serious about defending our European values.” Good luck with that one. I imagine Putin would thoroughly enjoy testing how serious ‘we’ would be. Better surely to disguise the fact that, unlike Mother Russia, the EU is unable to muster loyalty and is ineffectual beyond its own legal domain.

  42. English Pensioner
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    As everything within the EU has to be translated into all of the EU languages, would an officer have to give his orders in all languages or would the troops be accompanied by interpreters? A parade could be quite interesting with each soldier waiting for the command in his own language! I’m sure that there is scope for a comedy here, along the likes of “Dad’s Army”!

  43. A different Simon
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I can see certain advantages if the BBC sorts and Guardianista’s could be drafted first .

    • Jagman84
      Posted March 11, 2015 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, but they have already been assigned to the upcoming Mars colony. It would then truly be the red planet!

    • Mitchel
      Posted March 12, 2015 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      ….and followed on the right (or should it be left-so hard to tell these days)flank by the Eton Rifles!

  44. A different Simon
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    “I am glad a Conservative PM, Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary have made clear the UK does not wish to participate in a European army. ”

    How about turning the question into a private members bill so we can all see which MP’s vote FOR sending Britons to participate in an directed EU Army ?

  45. Max Dunbar
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Armies exist to kill the enemy. The only practical function of an EU army would be to suppress dissidence amongst the people of Europe and to enforce conformity. An EU army would kill its own people. The ordinary people of Europe are the enemies of their EU masters.

  46. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    The Lisbon Treaty explicitly authorises three types of military cooperation between Member States. These are listed on the Europa site. This is a treaty that we signed up to without a referendum. This is the treaty that David Cameron refused to repeal because he didn’t want to cause a ‘great big bust up’.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 11, 2015 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

      Did Cameron say it is not a “Treaty” anymore? Perhaps you need to call it the Lisbon thingy that Cameron ratted on, that was a proposed treaty and became a thingy once signed. So perhaps it never ever was aTreaty.

      Cast iron lies, lies and yet more lies. But he is a low tax conservative at heart not.

  47. Sandra Cox
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Talk of war with Russia, as serious as it is, is a diversion and is nothing compared to the threat from IS, unfolding on the EU’s eastern and southern borders, and in European cities! Surely, we are going to need Russia to help to deal with this threat.

    Unfortunately, the threat is also coming from our “Partners” – we learn yesterday of Greece’s threat to hand African immigrants EU travel documents, giving them easy access to northern EU countries (this is already happening anyway via Italy and other southern EU countries) unless the EU speeds up Greece’s further bailout:

    “Nikos Kotzias, the Greek foreign minister, told EU colleagues in a meeting last week that there would be far-reaching consequences in the event of a breakdown of order in his country.

    He said: ‘There will be tens of millions of immigrants and thousands of jihadists, if you take out Greece. ‘The Western Balkans is not stabilized. Then you have the Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, North Africa.’”

    Despite what Cameron, Hammond et al say, the EU Project has dictated that an EU army will be in place – much like Europol – so we can expect it sooner rather than later!

    John, there really is no time to spare! We must wake up! We are sleepwalking into the belief that we must “cling to Nurse” (the EU) to protect us from the very ailments that Nurse is inflicting upon us all!!

  48. Martin
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand your logic on this. The British Army now fits in Wembley stadium. There are reports that the military chiefs are unhappy about the next wave of cuts.

    Ex-defence minister Hammond got rid of our anti-submarine aircraft with no replacement in site. (The policy is hope that the French or the Canadians have a spare aircraft if Putin’s submarines sail up the Thames.)

    Much of our air force is using ancient aircraft.

    Instead its Trident and aircraft carriers (any aircraft??).

    If you don’t want an EU army then get one of our own!

  49. Jon
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s also a security risk, it can only undermine resources given under Nato and potentially make the whole western military impotent by dividing it’s resources and direction.

  50. Terry
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    It would be utter madness to replicate the role of NATO but lunacy is the stock in trade for the Mandarins (and their Commission puppets) of the EU. Instead of attempting to develop another hare brained idea why can’t they direct their efforts 100% to establishing a book of accounts that will actually pass an annual independent audit. The EU has failed such audits each year for the past 19 years yet nothing is done to correct the ‘crime’. No one has ever been held to account for the perpetual range of anomalies.

    Why does not the House of Commons hold a debate of this subject, one which if came under Corporate Law, would invite immediate investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.
    What is the matter with the leaders of all UK Parties that NOTHING has been done to correct this corruption of EU accounting principles (if there are any) and then frozen ALL UK contributions until a full audit of the EU accounts has been passed?

    If UK tax payers money is being misappropriated within the EU (as it appears to be), don’t we have the right to withhold further payments until the legitimacy can be established?
    Mr Cameron, what are you doing about it?
    I despair that we citizens are being continually fobbed off by our leaders and denied the truth about the whole of the European Union Project and I am coming to believe the Illuminati conspiracy theorists have a point.

    Reply There have been past debates about EU audit reports. The Audit Reports often blame member states for the irregularities.

  51. Chris S
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    A quote from Junker’s speech :

    “An army would allow the EU to react in a “credible manner” to threats to peace in a member state or in a neighbouring country”

    What a chilling prospect !

    When the Euro is at the point of collapse, I suspect that Brussels will stop at nothing in attempting to save it.

    Could we see EU troops – some even from Germany – on the streets of Athens when the Greeks finally lose their patience with Austerity ?

    There is clearly going to be a United States of Europe in our lifetime unless the people of Europe wake up and put a stop to the whole nonsensical plan.

    We know the people don’t want it but Brussels and their own politicians seem relentless in pushing it down our throats.

    The question for the UK politicians is :

    At what point, if any, will an unholy alliance between Labour, SNP, Greens and whatever is left of the LibDems call a halt on our involvement ?

    Never, is my view.

  52. Margaret Brandreth-J
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps if more women were allowed top jobs then armies and wars would not be so high on futures’ agenda.We can exclude the likes of the Falklands though. I agree with one comment that if there was a threat to the whole west, as demonstrated in the destruction of the twin towers, then all would voluntarily work together as united nations to eliminate the enemy.I do like the theory of Europe working together against a common enemy yet it would not work to formalise this visible force of aggression.

  53. Chris S
    Posted March 11, 2015 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    What hope can there be for an EU army when France and Belgium are locking horns over the latter country’s plan to introduce a €2 coin to commemorate the 200th aniversary of the Battle of Waterloo !

    Yes, we have something important to celebrate :

    Put the 18th June in your diary and let’s get the Union Jacks ready to fly.

  54. REPay
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    “The inclusion of a defence clause in the proposed Association Agreement with Ukraine was bound to provoke Russia for no obviously good purpose.”

    I would argue that this is also a powerful argument against the EU having a foreign policy identity. The negotiation of trade agreements should be the limit of its international reach. Appointing two utter neophytes with little experience of foreign policy as High Representative has now shown itself to be a dangerous innovation. I hope that this post will be on the list of issues for the renegotiation.

    Arming the EU would prove costly, contentious and dangerous to peace. It would be, of course, just another step down the road to a large, failing nation state. An army, like a monetary union, requires a demos. The EU apparatchiks never seem to accept that they do not constitute a demos.

  55. Ken Skeptik
    Posted March 12, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    The EU is creating its own armed forces by stealth. Tony Blair’s New Labour Government began colluding with them on this and the Coalition Government has continued the process.

    This is being done by means of common procurement policies, common command and control structures, and common communications systems. The purpose of this is to ensure that our armed forces cannot act independently as has already been evidenced. Our army, navy and air-force are now at their lowest levels in their respective histories. They are being deliberately run down so that they can be subsumed into a common ‘European Defence Identity’ – European Army.

    The EU is creating a United States of Europe and it is entirely logical from its point of view that it needs its own armed forces to carry out its own Common Foreign and Security Policy.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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