PESCO and EU defence

As I understand it the UK will not  be signing up to PESCO, the new system promoting more EU defence integration. This is a system under the control of the EU institutions and therefore would not be appropriate for the UK as it leaves. The UK is offering defence collaboration, mainly through NATO. The UK is offering a bilateral Agreement UK/EU where both sides keep a veto.


  1. Span Ows
    November 13, 2017

    Let us all hope that as you ‘understand it’ is how it is.

  2. Duncan
    November 13, 2017

    So by default Germany becomes a nuclear power by the very fact that its closest EU ally is in fact France, a nuclear power

    Who will control France’s nuclear deterrent? Will control pass from the French Government to the EU?

    1. Rien Huizer
      November 13, 2017

      If North Korea, Israel and Pakistan, to name a few are nuclear powers, why not the most important country in Europe?

      1. Bob
        November 14, 2017

        @Rien Huizer

        aha! the mask slips.

        1. Hope
          November 14, 2017

          RH, because history shows Germany is not fit to be given any such power. It was decided Germany must not be given the opportunity too war against the world again having caused untold misery on the world on two previous occasions it would be pure stupidity to it do so again.

          Menace Merkel has already shown that she will unilaterally take whatever action she wishes and the EU Goes along with it! Not the most important, allowed to have a financial advantage.

      2. zorro
        November 14, 2017

        The most important country? Europe 😂😂

        Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad…..


      3. A different Simon
        November 14, 2017

        Huizer ,

        Britain is the most important country in Europe and will remain so even after we leave the EU .

        We should keep our nuclear deterrent and not let it fall into EU hands .

  3. Lifelogic
    November 13, 2017

    Indeed it would not be appropriate. We shall see what happens. Soubry was totally absurd as usual on the Westminster Hour last night. The BBC going overtime to try to get rid of Boris and now even Gove. They are hardly to blame for the Iranian legal system.

    Mind you Gove is certainly to blame for the fact that we have socialist (ex?) remainers in numbers 10 and 11, and are now in danger of Corbyn and heading towards the new Venezuela.

    1. Lifelogic
      November 13, 2017

      Nicky Morgan & Frank Field getting in on the “let’s get Boris & Gove” agenda on the Daily Politics now – he should consider his position and they should hang “their heads in shame”. What complete drivel, it is not them keeping this woman in prison, for no good reason, it is the Iranian legal system.

      Morgan is the one who should go for pointlessly attacking other ministers.

      1. Lifelogic
        November 13, 2017

        Surely Nick Morgan needs or be told to get on side after this pathetic performance attacking Boris. Is she taking her instructions from the Guardian and Labour party central office now?

        She further went on to rubbish the eminently sensible ideas of James Dyson, on the Sundeay Politics. Dyson was spot on.

        To paraphrase Milton Friedman:- Dyson has much better knowledge of business and economics than you do Nicky and secondly, given equal knowledge, I would far, far prefer his opinion to your’s.

        Has Ms Morgan ever run so much as whelk stall? She does not even seem to understand that being the minister for “Minister for Women and Equalities” is a total contradiction – you cannot do both.

        1. Lifelogic
          November 13, 2017

          needs to go or ….

  4. Ian Wragg
    November 13, 2017

    Does the boy defence minister know this.
    We don’t want him freelancing.

    1. Mitchel
      November 14, 2017

      Why not…everyone else seems to be!

  5. Bert Young
    November 13, 2017

    This is good news to me .

  6. Monza 71
    November 13, 2017

    Just as long as we do retain a veto over each and every project to which we contribute and it is always complementary to and does not compete against NATO.

    It would, however, be much preferable for any action in which we are to be involved to be run by NATO with the contribution from the EU coming from their joint command. In that way the number of countries that have to be consulted at NATO level would be limited.

    Given the games now being played by Brussels over money, the 27 should be told that, after we have left, where our forces are used to protect the Southern border of the EU against illegal immigrants, the full cost of this action should be born by the 27.

    In my view, they should also pay for any of our forces stationed in EU countries as a tripwire against Russian intrusion.

    David Davis be very firm about this, pointing out that we only need to become involved in these activities because Germany and most of the 27, with the notable exception of France, spend far less than on defence than they should.

  7. Alan
    November 13, 2017

    There are colossal savings to be made by cooperating on the building and purchase of defence equipment. It is one of the things we will lose out on when we leave the EU.

    1. John
      November 13, 2017

      Would those savings be the ones made by a club where all members pay in? Not like the one we are in where only about 7 pay in and the rest take out?

      By the way, how would you rate the EU in settling disputes peacefully such as Spain and Catalonia? Because I’m sure you wouldn’t want to give control of armed forces to an outfit that can’t even settle internal diplomatic issues peacefully.

    2. ian wragg
      November 13, 2017

      Rubbish, all defence procurement by the other EU nations is controlled by France and Germany.
      We have to maintain a robust independent defence infrastructure.

    3. DaveM
      November 13, 2017

      ??? I work in defence procurement (currently land eqpt, but I have just completed a 10 week course covering tri-service capability acquisition). Any outsourcing of equipment acquisition is not only bad for the reputation of our AF but is also very bad for UK industry. Ask the Scottish shipbuilders. True, we have a pan-European project with regards to the Typhoon, but have a look who’s likely to buy our home-built ships (clue-they ain’t European!)

      Additionally, we should be using british steel to build def eqpt, otherwise we’ll lose out to people like the Italians who actually look after their industrial workers (provided our govt isn’t selling its soul to the Chinese).

      Do you have ANY idea what you’re talking about?

      1. stred
        November 14, 2017

        There is a long and detailed article by David Ellis about the risk to British defence manufacturing. Rolls Royce and British Aerospace are both at risk of being asset stripped. Unfortunately the website is a bit whacky in other subjects so it is sent separately. They make a good point that Mz Mogherini, our High Representative and her EU expansionists and controllers can now launch the EU forces, including French against any ‘enemy’, external or internal, without the approval of national governments.

        1. DaveM
          November 14, 2017

          RR and BAE have made their own beds by ridiculously overcharging the British Govt and therefore you and me. However, they are the only companies who have the design capacity and construction ability to make the A class nuclear sub and the Dreadnought class, the best subs in the world.

    4. Darren
      November 13, 2017

      Please explain how.

    5. Simon Blanchard
      November 13, 2017

      As Cromwell marched into parliament in 1653, he was confidently able to do so without any threat to himself for crimes of treason, because he had an army behind him proving:
      Whoever controls your armed forces controls the country. PESCO is handing over control of the armed forces to Brussels


      Whoever holds the keys to the armoury controls the armed forces.
      Our defence industry would be at the mercy and generosity of EU bureaucrats for any defence contracts. The only thing I can see the EU would attempt is to close down UK defence industry, even pay for them to relocate to Turkey or some such place!! It would totally remove our ability to independently source, develop and manufacture our own military hardware or other equipment.

    6. Paul H
      November 13, 2017

      But you don’t cooperate with enemies.

  8. Andy
    November 13, 2017

    We most certainly shouldn’t be involved in this. It has to be NATO or nothing.

  9. zorro
    November 13, 2017

    It is worthwhile looking already at the defence agreements with the EU which the UK has already signed up to and continues to do so… #despite Brexit…..


    1. Rien Huizer
      November 13, 2017

      Tear them up!

  10. bigneil
    November 13, 2017

    IF the EU was, as some claim, to stop European wars. then why does it need an EU army? Seems more like the EU want one to crush internal problems.

    1. Freeborn John
      November 13, 2017

      European federalists only say the EU stops wars between European states; not with the rest of the world. European integration is after all modelled on German unification which hardly stopped the unified German state from waging war on its neighbours.

  11. kenD
    November 13, 2017

    I think membership of NATO is good enough..we don’t need bilateral arrangements with the EU defence integration. I’m sure they are very capable of developing their own systems without us but in any case their member countries will also be a part of NATO too where we will all meet for common purpose.

    1. AdamC
      November 13, 2017

      KenD.. yes but no more vetoes ..we see where vetos are used in the UN in a negative way. Vetoes usually lead to nothing getting done

  12. alan jutson
    November 13, 2017

    I do hope you are right on this one JR.

    We do not want our Armed forces to be under the control of the EU at any stage, co-operation perhaps, but not control.

  13. formula57
    November 13, 2017

    “The UK is offering a bilateral Agreement UK/EU where both sides keep a veto.”

    Why do that if NATO is supposed to manage joint defence matters?

    And could we trust a British government to use its veto always to prevent us pulling chestnuts out of the fire for our EU enemies?

    1. old salt
      November 13, 2017

      NO to the veto arrangement. I do not trust the EU not to wriggle around and involve the UK against it’s, or should I say the wishes of the electorate, by hook or by crook by the same means we are where we are now.

    2. Denis Cooper
      November 15, 2017

      Experience shows that the answer to your second question is “no”.

  14. Epikouros
    November 13, 2017

    There is a case for an European wide scheme to integrate defence. To make defence spending more equitable (NATO certainly suffers from that deficit) and substantive and sustainable, not to be reliant on the USA as much as it is now(also a NATO weakness), to standardise weapon systems and have a well coordinated intelligence and command structure. It is certainly an aspiration for the future but it is not practical for the now. One reason it would fall under the auspices of the EU and we know they are hopelessly incompetent, extravagant and wasteful. That too many countries have different opinions on foreign and domestic policies and would seek to use this new force in a way that would not generate consensus.

  15. Peter D Gardner
    November 13, 2017

    Germany united in the late 19th century under Bismarck’s Blood and Iron strategy and as the new kid on the block others found it difficult to handle. As late as the 1930s Britain and most countries accepted the Anschluss as it was simply more unification of the German people, a job left incomplete by Bismarck. It all went horribly wring. Why should the EU’s attempt to do precisely the same thing but in the name of European identity to be imposed on people be any more successful or cause any less trouble?
    Juncker’s five year plan states that the EU forces are required for force projection in support of EU expansion. Why is nobody remarking on the sheer lunacy of what the West is allowing the EU to do?

  16. Martin CRAVEN
    November 13, 2017

    We must never sign up to PESCO – We are a sovereign nation and will eventually rid ourselves of the EU Cancer that currently constrains us and we will survive, prosper and enjoy our future in partnership with European countries but without the manacles and shackles of the elite that live like parasites off of back of the EU barnacle !

  17. Mike Stallard
    November 13, 2017

    Not joining in with the EU consolidation programme?

  18. Timaction
    November 13, 2017

    Unfortunately I like most in the Country have lost faith in the legacies to be truthful in most things and everything when it comes to their beloved EU. Having lied about the EU, its role, true function on its powers given away by the legacies for over 45 years, who can believe anything they say. All the scandals past and present confirm the level of candidate serving in the bubble. You and a few others are an exception but unfortunately you are growing smaller in number. Electoral reform is the only answer to clean the swamp!

  19. Denis Cooper
    November 13, 2017

    So why is the UK government keeping quiet and not publicly condemning these dangerous moves to turn the EU into a military union?

    Do we have to carry on with this nauseating “we love our European neighbours and we so want their Union to succeed that it’s hard to say why we’re even leaving” nonsense?

    As I’ve said in the past, for example here:

    and here:

    Pitt would never have come out with the same kind of rubbish about Napoleon as our politicians keep producing about the EU.

    You would never have heard him telling our adversaries to “Get a grip” and consolidate their empire in the way that George Osborne told the EU in 2011.

  20. rose
    November 13, 2017

    That is a relief. It has been a great anxiety.

  21. HenryS
    November 13, 2017

    Yes let it be through NATO! We don’t want any collaboration with the EU defence system.

  22. Hope
    November 13, 2017

    Reported today UK officials want third country status! No we do not . We voted out in its entirety, if we need to cooperate it can be achieved through NATO.

  23. Simon Blanchard
    November 13, 2017

    Hi John, PESCO is not merely greater integration, it is the EU taking the competence for defence away from national governments to an EU level on all matters of defence including procurement of military hardware. It is blatantly obvious the EU is after the defence budgets of all its member states which equates to about €250 billion per year.

    The EU will then use this money to buy equipment and other assets and further integration to create one army totally controlled by the EU. British diplomats have been pushing for “Third country” status like Norway has, but with our defence industry involved would be at mercy of EU bureaucrats in an EU led consortium to dish out contracts its way. Who in their right mind would think EU bureaucrats would give any defence contracts to the UK? They want the UK to utterly fail and would pay for UK defence contractors to move out of the UK as they have done already for much of UK manufacturing.

    I asked about PESCO last week and whether if you supported in an email to you and all I got was a wall of silence. Silence to me say you agree with the UK joining.
    So the UK didn’t join at this time. Are you supportive of UK membership at a later date?
    Silence again says you do.

  24. Narrow Shoulders
    November 13, 2017

    Why are we not blocking it?

    If we need to agree a figure before anything can be discussed then surely this can not be agreed.

  25. stred
    November 13, 2017

    Irrespective of whether we sig or not, the MOD has been carrying on with joint military integration including reducing the navy, sourcing equipment, joint exercises and even nuclear warheads, before and after the referendum as if there had not been one. Mrs May’s speech in Florence confirmed her wish to keep paying more than our share, perhaps hoping that they would start to behave reasonably and stop the blackmail.

    1. stred
      November 14, 2017

      Mrs May may be feeling a bit worried that her handing over of our military may be seen as unpatriotic. She made a wonderful speech at a big dinner last night and had a go at the Russians, who may be financing propaganda as good as that as the EUBC World Service.

  26. Rien Huizer
    November 13, 2017

    The most important thing that has to change is procurement which is too fragmented and inefficient. More concentrations among manufacturers, EU control requirements (if NATO stays as it is, which is highly uncertain) and a long term development plan for standard NATO/EU forces. If BAE are smart, they will want to be part of that.

    For most governments, defence is part hobby, part employment program, part what it should be. That must change of course, otherwise the continental countries that are committed to increase their defence spending will be lining the pockets of US and UK firms…

  27. Yossarion
    November 13, 2017

    But Mr Clegg said this would never happen?

    1. Timaction
      November 13, 2017

      ……indeed and Mr Farage was lying. Unfortunately for the legacies everything he and UKIP said and predicted has been proven correct!!!Bulgarian and Romanian immigration will be tiny!!

  28. acorn
    November 13, 2017

    LONDON (Reuters) – British Brexit minister David Davis said on Monday the government would allow parliament the opportunity to debate, scrutinise and vote on any final Brexit agreement, offering a concession to Conservative Party rebels.

    “… would allow parliament …”. So much for democracy, the “elected dictatorship” rules OK!

  29. John
    November 13, 2017

    Double relief there.

    The second relief is that if the EU and its tin army leave NATO then we don’t have to come to their aid when they decide to flex their muscles and get slapped down for it.

  30. The Prangwizard
    November 13, 2017

    Why are we offering anything? If they want something we have, we should wait for a while to se if they ask. But then we must be seen to be nicey nicey, mustn’t we Mrs May?Always put others first don’t you, how much more of the nation are you going to offer away?

  31. Kenneth
    November 13, 2017

    The BBC has made a political statement reassuring us – and especially those it calls “opponents of the EU in Britain” – that the eu is not building a political army:

  32. FranzB
    November 13, 2017

    You must be nuts if you think that tge EU would enter into a defence agreement with the UK where the UK had a veto on anything they decided to that is too far wide of the would never be agreed by the EU side..not in a million years

  33. VotedOut
    November 13, 2017

    Thank you for clarifying the PESCO issue.

    One thing you might be interested in is:

    In summary, regardless of what Parliament does on the EU Withdrawal Bill, the UK Supreme Court has no alternative but to declare BREXIT illegal and ensure we stay in the EU. Unfortunately this is a result of the passing of the Human Rights Act 1998 – a Labour government act…

    “The immense constitutional change that has taken place will give rise to equally immense constitutional problems as the electorate comes to realise that, without any public discussion the common citizen could possibly understand, and despite Brexit, sovereignty of Parliament has been brought to an end. The first true flashpoint is not far off. It will come as soon as the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill receives the Royal Assent.”

    This article indicates a huge political & constitutional problem for the UK.

    Reply Unlikely following the referendum and Art 50 Act

  34. Chris
    November 13, 2017

    We have already signed up to military integration with the EU, the dangers of which were pointed out by Major General Julian Thompson of Falklands fame: Express Dec 2016

    ‘It makes no sense’ Falklands hero blasts Britain for AGREEING to EU military integration
    THE retired general who led British efforts to regain the Falklands has condemned the Government for signing up to EU military integration even as we prepare to end Brussels rule in this country.
    Major General Julian Thompson, the chairman of Veterans for Britain, has demanded that defence secretary Michael Fallon explains how he will block a power grab by the EU.

    He has warned that the Government has managed to do the defence equivalent of signing up to the euro single currency before Britain escapes Brussels rule. It follows an agreement to integrate large parts of British defence and security after agreeing to it at the European Council meeting earlier this month.

    The agreement last month authorised by the Prime Minister and Mr Fallon uses a previously unused clause on military integration in the 2009 Lisbon Treaty previously highlighted by the Daily Express in the Eu referendum campaign.

    According to analysis by Veterans for Britain it means that the UK has opened the door to integrating its intelligence and security services, undermining our key relationship with the Americans.

    The agreement also accepted a European Parliament plan which states “the Member States are empowered to build a European Security and Defence Union that should lead in due time to the establishment of the European Armed Forces”…..

  35. anon
    November 13, 2017

    Prefer a NATO/EU agreement with a veto. Nato is likely to last longer than the EU army. Cant quite see them playing fair on any arrangement, like paying 2%, except the French. Even they would use any agreement to benefit themselves where-ever possible and the remainers would seek to lock us in tighter by denigrating any of our capabilities. Yes its that transparent.

  36. Ahhhhrrrr
    November 14, 2017

    Of course in America where Mrs May’s hysteria originates, the FBI , CIA and NSA would be probing very deeply indeed to see if there were a connection between the journalists and Russia as the journalists seem to have run with Russia’s ball and could have indeed scored if their own accounts are to be believed.

  37. The Prangwizard
    November 14, 2017

    Is anyone offering odds on the suggestion that if the EU objects to our veto Mrs May will drop it and leave us stuck in the EU’s clutches?

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