European defence

The UK is firmly committed to NATO which remains the main way that Europe’s defence is organised. NATO ensures the participation of the USA. It preserves individual country control over when and whether their forces will be committed to NATO missions, whilst also including the important NATO guarantee for members  to assist if any NATO country is threatened.

The EU is now pushing towards more defence integration with an EU role. The aim is to bring together the defence industries of the member states, to enter common procurement programmes, and to move from there to defining more EU  defence operations. The USA is in two minds about this development. On the one hand the USA would like the European countries in NATO to make a bigger contribution to their own mutual defence. On the other hand the USA does not wish to see the NATO system undermined in any way.

There are doubts about whether the EU has in mind spending more and buying more equipment. It is more likely they wish to exercise more control over the  budgets that member states already have. The UK out of the EU should examine each of the main procurement projects and see if it makes sense to join as a co purchaser and contributor to the project, where the EU would like the UK’s purchases and or expertise. The UK can also offer to join EU missions and assist with troops and equipment where that is in our mutual interest and compatible with NATO’s views and role. What we need to avoid is being sucked into a system of defence procurement and mission definition that impedes our role in NATO or leaves us without central capabilities we need as an independent country.

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68 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    An EU Army was always on the cards once you create an EU Foreign Office (EEAS). When you have a foreign policy it is pretty worthless if you do not have the military muscle to back it up. As Dennis of this parish has pointed out in the past, this originally came in the form of NATO. But I think both its new army and paramilitary police will be used to quell civil unrest and to tighten the grip of Brussels over member states. We are getting out just in time.

    The UK can be an interested partner but we must maintain absolute sovereign control of our armed forces and foreign policy. We should not seek or be allowed to be ‘integrated’ in any way. Our undying principle should be that our involvement should only be for peaceful and humanitarian purposes an only on the European Continent. The UN for areas outside this.

    The UK and US should scale back their involvement in the defence of Europe. We are countries with global outlooks and interests and we should seek and base our foreign policy on that and open free trade. That is how our Empire was built and I see no reason to revoke the spirit in place of its body. The world is out there and it’s arms are open to us. I say we should reach out and embrace them. We have nothing to fear.

    • Mark B
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      Sorry. Evoke not revoke.

  2. am
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Nato is a perfectly adequate system for the UK to fulfil its defence obligations. Conceding our defence budget and strategy to the EU mandarins is wholly unacceptable. It will eliminate our defence sovereignty within Europe and cost us more than need be. The UK should have a sovereign defence policy. If the EU needs help then they can ask for it but it should be controlled on our terms not by some orders of theirs over our forces.

    The EU, by its overarching ambition seen in the wish for an army of its own, is planting the seeds of its own destruction. The mandarins wish to have a go at Russia and they will lose that easily on the battle field. But as Napoleon before them they think success will come their way. Basically they are war mongers without an army but when they have one they will start a war in Europe.

    • Mitchel
      Posted November 14, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      The first lines of Churchill’s famous 1940 speech will be well known to readers of this blog but the rest is the more significant:-

      “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia.It is a riddle,wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.But perhaps there is a key,that key is Russian national interest.It cannot be in accordance with the interest of Russia that Germany should plant itself upon the shores of the Black Sea or that it should overrun the Balkan States and subjugate the Slavonic peoples of South east Europe.That would be contrary to the historic life interests of Russia.”

      Sergey Lavrov,last year :”During at least the past two centuries any attempt to unite Europe without Russia and against it have inevitably led to grim tragedies,the consequences of which were always overcome with the decisive participation of our country.”

      I note that in amongst the rest of the drivel in May’s speech last night she talks about continuing “military and economic assistance” to Ukraine.Part of the “divorce” settlement for the Potemkin Brexit May wants clearly comprises the throwing of more money into the black hole that is Ukraine.

  3. alan jutson
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Given the expansionist wishes of the EU, do we really do not want to get involved with some of the more questionable actions that they may propose, which may at the same time ultimately involve NATO operations, when the EU’s own forces cannot handle the flack.

  4. Mick
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/878918/eu-army-european-defence-union-pact-brussels-uk-brexit
    And what did nick clegg EX mp say in is show down with Mr Farage he stated,
    “the EU was planning an EU army as a “dangerous fantasy” and “simply not true”.
    The only down side is that the snowflakes in the London bubble won’t be conscripted into the eu army, and yet they still want to stay in the undemocratic organisation called the eu
    MUPPETS

  5. Turboterrier.
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    It is more likely they wish to exercise more control over the budgets that member states already have.

    That is the real big worry. Over the years we have had enough insight into the failures of the EU way of managing finances of key areas.

    As this country has found out when it comes to providing military equipment and the awarding of contracts there is always a perception that it could all be open to abuse in the way that bungs and slush funds are managed to secure orders.

    We will be best out of it. They are not to be trusted in any shape or form.

    • bigneil
      Posted November 14, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      I’d like to know if ANY big govt contract has EVER come in on time – – and original cost? I think we all know the answer. Why bother ? – it is only the poorer people’s cash the govt wastes.

  6. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    A commenter on here yesterday drew attention to France’s nuclear capability and that Germany would now have De facto control (through its overriding dominance of the EU ) to this arsenal.

    Could that be the case?

  7. Lifelogic
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Indeed that should be our approach.

    Meanwhile Soubry is kicking this government in the teeth almost every single day on the BBC – often aided by Nicky (lets get Boris and Gove) Morgan – a member of it.

    This with her usual “Jump of the cliff” and “business does not want this hard brexit” drivel. A sensible deal might be nice but if the EU do not offer one a clean brexit is fine. As Dyson says we have a very strong hand. It could be even stronger if we had a proper free market government rather than soft socialists. I see she is yet another lawyer who seems to know and understand nothing of business.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted November 14, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      Good news on some of the many benefits of global warming. Except of course we have not had any statistically significant warming for about 19 years despite are the dire computer warnings. Then again we could save far more excess winter deaths with cheaper on demand energy and getting rid of the rip off renewable agenda, the taxes, the biofuels and the extensive market rigging.

      We could afford better pensions too if we really moved to lower taxes and free markets. Alas we have socialists in charge.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/11/13/fewer-britons-will-die-cold-climate-change-study-suggests/

      • Lifelogic
        Posted November 14, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        With cheap energy now we could of course save many of these many thousands of excess winter deaths now, rather than waiting for this global warming which does not seem to be happening anyway.

        Why do the BBC alarmists keep saying “scientist say X on global warming” when most sensible scientist I know (mainly sensible physicists) say nothing of the sort. They say predicting a complex & chaotic climate system is a mugs game, thinking you can control temperature just by regulating one factor atmospheric C02 is bonkers and we do not even have all the input information data. Furthermore the renewable solutions proposed do not even save any significant c02.

    • Anonymous
      Posted November 14, 2017 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      If she wins then Soubry’s party will be boycotted as well as the BBC.

      If we are to stay in the EU then we don’t need two governments.

      Obliteration of the Tory party and the BBC is in the hands of Leave voters – by simply not voting for one and by not paying for the other.

      This WILL happen.

      If we’re staying in the EU let us be the first nation to dismantle its own parliament.

  8. Bert Young
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    The stated position the USA has made is right ; if there is any sort of ambiguity in the command and practicalites in the defence of Europe , the result will be confusion and the inability to react . NATO now has a long experience in its role and it should not be watered down in any way .

  9. Posted November 14, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    I am just reading a history of the three Baltic nations on the front line of Russia. I will not give the details as they are too distressing. Both Russians and Nazis did their very worst in increasing callousness.
    They are now on the front line of Europe against the Russians.
    Hence the need for the cabal that runs Europe to secure the frontier.

    NATO is not in the cabal. Hence the EU’s desire for independence.
    Also the EU’s foreign policy is to include Ukraine and, who knows, even Armenia and Georgia too.

    Where do we stand on that? Baroness Ashton was right there in Kiev during the revolution, waving her little hands about all over the place.

  10. Iain Moore
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    But Clegg told us it was a bunch a lies about the EU trying to create an EU army.

    • bigneil
      Posted November 14, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      He was practising telling porkies – in case he became PM.

  11. Rob Jump
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    NATO was set up to counter the Warsaw Pact in Europe. The Warsaw Pact has long since disappeared and, despite the ridiculous hysteria about Russia, there is no similar threat to Europe. NATO is now used as cover by Washington for it’s gross illegality and aggression across the planet. Not only should we not support this we should repudiate NATO and declare it obsolete immediately.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted November 14, 2017 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      I don’t think the Warsaw Pact was mentioned in the NATO treaty.

      https://www.nato.int/cps/ic/natohq/official_texts_17120.htm

      Article 5 just refers to “an armed attack” without specifying the source:

      “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all … ”

      It’s also difficult to see how the preceding articles can be dismissed as “obsolete”, for a start it would require the UN to also be dismissed as “obsolete”:

      “The Parties undertake, as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.

      That includes the threat or use of force among themselves.

      Having said that I would agree that the UK government should stop going along with the abuse of NATO by the US and the EU.

      • Mitchel
        Posted November 14, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        Not mentioning the Warsaw Pact by name was just a diplomatic nicety.As far as I can recall treaties and non-agression pacts(at least those that are made public -as all such documents are supposed to have been since the end of WWI and the notorious secret treaties regarding the division of the Ottoman Empire)never specify who the potential enemies are.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted November 15, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink

          The Warsaw Pact has disappeared and along with it the possibility of an armed attack by the Warsaw Pact, but the possibility of an armed attack from some other source remains and is covered by the treaty.

      • forthurst
        Posted November 14, 2017 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        There has been no tendency for NATO, since the disintegration of the Bolshevik Empire to settle disputes by peaceful means rather than creating tripwires to use as excuses for aggressive war; the EU has not done any better with its involvements in Jugoslavia and Ukraine. US foreign policy which is de facto NATO foreign policy is developed by the CFR; neither the CFR nor the Bussels regime are under democratic control hence it is hardly surprising that the various foreign adventures we have been dragged into has benefitted neither ourselves nor those we we were purportedly trying to help.

        However, the most aggregious examples of foreign policy madness by us are the use of proxies recruited from the unassimilable alien wedge in our countries to wage terrorism against legitimate regimes.

    • eeyore
      Posted November 14, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Poles and Finns may have a different view. So, incidentally, does Mr Juncker, who said (2015) an EU army’s role would be to persuade Russia that Europe is “serious about defending its values” in the face of the “threat” from Moscow.

      Mr Juncker plans a European Defence Fund to pay for his army. Who will not be reminded of a similar scheme from the dawn of European history, the Delian League? On the pretence of organising joint security Athens took its allies’ contributions – and spent them on itself.

      At least we have the Parthenon to show for that little scam. What similar wonders will the EU produce to awe generations yet unborn?

    • Mockbeggar
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      I’m not sure that Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania or Finland for that matter would agree with you.

      • Mitchel
        Posted November 16, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        Don’t always believe what you read in the papers or on the news.Finland,which isn’t in NATO,has a very good relationship with Russia and support for joining it has been falling despite coercion to join-a very recent poll showed 59% against and only 22% for.

  12. Chris
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    See speech at fringe of Cons Party Conference 2017
    http://veteransforbritain.uk/vfb-chairman-speech/
    VfB chairman: UK being pushed towards EU Defence Union and ordinary people must raise alarm Oct 27, 2017 
    Maj-Gen Julian Thompson highlighted the dangers of UK involvement in EU Defence Union in a speech to the Veterans for Britain-Bruges Group event at the fringes of the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, 2 October 2017.

    He also mentioned the effects on NATO and how MPs had been bypassed. He also described how the EU’s latest military schemes, which the UK has joined since November 2016, are more advanced than most UK commentators realise…..

    Ms Mogherini’s Security and Defence Action Plan and Mr Juncker’s European Defence Action Plan, plus other agreements, have unwisely already been given UK consent while the UK still has full legal obligation and expectation to participate. Indeed, since November 2016, within a year of the Brexit vote, the UK’s defence relationship has become a labyrinth from which we must work hard to escape. All this has come to pass without oversight by MPs, but rather confined to the elaborate technical workings of ministerial meetings at the EU Council. They are nonetheless binding until the UK leaves and potentially for the duration of a transition deal. Financial and industrial arrangements made unwisely in the same period make the UK commitment even more binding than that….”

  13. Chris
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    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 in DECEMBER 2016
    http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/747243/falklands-julian-thompson-britain-eu-military-integration-brussels
    ‘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”…..

  14. Na
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    What we need to avoid is being sucked into a system of defence procurement and mission definition that impedes our role in NATO or leaves us without central capabilities we need as an independent country.

    >
    The UK elite have been making sure we lose our defence autonomy ever since Suez. The idea is we will say we have no planes for our aircraft carriers so we will have to use French ones etc. Conspiracy will be disguised as cock up as usual. All the while John will be writing articles saying “we must not do that”, to hold us at bay until its a fait de compli.

    • ian wragg
      Posted November 14, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

      You can guarantee that procurement will favour French and German companies but paid for by others.
      This is just the latest centralisation move to benefit those two countries.
      It’s a way of keeping French and German shipyards open together with French aircraft factories.
      You can put money on the fact that if we joined up they wouldn’t purchase any UK made assets.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted November 14, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        What about the Eurofighter/Typhoon? French? German? British? All of the above.

        The carriers will have the naval version of the F35, a US stealth capable fighter plane. Maybe nuclear capable, like the F35s the Dutch and Belgians are buying.

        • ian wragg
          Posted November 14, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

          This is now, I am talking about later. Today countries are responsible for their own defence budget. Watch when Brussels (France and Germany) get hold of it.

      • Iain Moore
        Posted November 14, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        “You can guarantee that procurement will favour French and German companies ”

        And there we are talking of the British Governments action. When the British Army was looking to replace their trucks, they had a choice between a US British consortium who would have built the trucks here, or Man trucks , whose trucks didn’t even meet the British Army’s requirements. To show what ‘good Europeans ‘ they were, Blair gave the contract to Man trucks, built in Austria.

        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/anger-as-mod-hands-pound1bn-army-truck-contract-to-german-supplier-543623.html

        Most countries expect their governing classes to be helping their countries , we have to achieve what we do despite them.

    • DaveM
      Posted November 14, 2017 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      The planes for the carriers will be IOC at the same time as the carriers. The RN pilots have been flying them for 3 years now. In the US. And if we need FOC planes on the carriers before ours are ready the US will lend them. Can you see the recurring theme here? Who our real friends and allies are?

  15. heavenSent
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Problem with NATO is that european countries cannot completely rely on the United States for their defence. This time the boy wonder Trump is in charge- who knows next time?

    PESCO, for continental european countries is a good thing to counterbalance other big powers in the region like Russia and Turkey and will definitely go ahead- but we don’t have to belong to it- we will meet all of these member countries anyway at NATO. So let’s take this opportunity now when leaving the EU to take a step away from europe and not be so pushy in world political affairs- it will be much easier on the public purse as well.

    • Mitchel
      Posted November 14, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      But what would all the well remunerated bag carriers do if “we” no longer stood behind the military wing of globalism and just defended our own borders?

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted November 14, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      PESCO is in the first place aiming at better procurement and a more focused EU defence industry. For the UK is is interesting how BAE Systems will respond. They have with multiple joint ventures and participations in EU defense projects (most important Eurofighter and the MDBA missile consortium quite a stahe in EU defense procurement but may encoutre similar problems as tge car makers would under certain brexit formats.

      • ian wragg
        Posted November 14, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        For focused, read French and German.

      • John
        Posted November 14, 2017 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

        Rein, also interesting that the EU which has often neglected or failed in peace keeping. It does not wish to play a role in achieving a peaceful negotiation between Spain and Catalonia.

        Personally I would like to see a potential leaders credentials in achieving peaceful and harmonious relationships before giving them an army!

  16. BOF
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    The UK should resist signing up to any military collaboration with the EU. Co-operation with EU forces should always be on a case by case basis so as to maintain the integrity of NATO and our own armed forces.

    I can see no circumstances where any control of our armed forces (or funding) can be put under any control, no matter how light, of the EU.

  17. adams
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    We do not trust the Tory hierarchy to keep us out of the rapidly forming EU army and indeed we will continue to pay for it while we remain in the EU . We also have a veto on this project but we never use it . Why would that be , as we love NATO so much ?
    ….. Boris said the EU army is the Cathedral and we are a flying buttress . Is there no end to this flabbermouths (errors?ed) ?

  18. Anna
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    I note that the EU intends their new army to be not only a defence against external threats but also to provide ‘internal security’. Does this mean united action against terrorism within the EU, or something more sinister such as dealing with any future unrest in nation states against the increasing arrogance of the EU High Command in Brussels? (The Roman Empire had contingents from various vassal states that could be deployed in other parts of the empire. It was the Iberian Legion that took part in the conquest of Britain.)

    Denmark has refused to join. Ireland, Malta and, I think, some eastern European states are at the moment uncommitted.

    • DaveM
      Posted November 14, 2017 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      My friends in the Dutch armed forces are very worried about what they might be called upon to do.

      • rose
        Posted November 15, 2017 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

        And a French soldier I know is very worried.

  19. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, JR, but in preparation for the Commons debate this afternoon and also the later debates, I wonder if you saw Anna Soubry on BBC Breakfast at 08.14 this morning when she was asked whether she was behind the Prime Minister and she said:

    “I back her Florence speech one hundred percent”

    and that the tone and content of that speech were “all spot on”.

    Well, here’s one part of that speech which she so commends:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pms-florence-speech-a-new-era-of-cooperation-and-partnership-between-the-uk-and-the-eu

    “The United Kingdom is leaving the European Union. We will no longer be members of its single market or its customs union. For we understand that the single market’s four freedoms are indivisible for our European friends.”

    “WE WILL NO LONGER BE MEMBERS OF ITS SINGLE MARKET OR ITS CUSTOMS UNION”; somebody should point that unequivocal sentence out to Anna Soubry as part of the Florence speech she claims to completely support.

  20. Denis Cooper
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Also off-topic, could I also refer back to a comment I made a couple of weeks ago:

    http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2017/10/29/why-are-house-prices-so-high/#comment-897374

    pointing out that for over forty years Parliament has been presented with successive EEC/EC/EU treaties on a “take it or leave it” basis, but MPs such as Hilary Benn never objected to that way of proceeding.

    In fact when that particular MP was a minister he helped to push through the Lisbon Treaty without parliamentarians being able to change as much as a comma.

    • Chris
      Posted November 14, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      Denis. you are obviously quite right to highlight this, but it should also have been done by the Swift Rebuttal Unit, which the government (and country at large)sorely needs.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted November 14, 2017 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Well said Denis. An inconvenient truth. What short memories some people have – when it suits their purpose.

      I wonder who will have the guts to put that fact to these diehard remainers in the Commons Chamber though?

      Tad

    • a-tracy
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      Why aren’t our Brexit supporting MPs just firing this back at HB, in the same way he jumps up and intervenes and in the way Anna Soubry is virtually given her own tv channel nowadays to promote her angst or allowed to shout out in the HoP. These are quite easy fire rebuttals. When were the MPs all given a say when Mr Brown (went ed)off to sign us up.

      Where were these same MPs when Tony Blair gave up what was supposed to be £3.8bn worth of rebate in return for CAP farming savings that never appeared which ended up costing us over £9bn for no return. “The CAP costs European taxpayers over €40 billion ($47 billion) a year, or around 40% of the total EU budget. That is a huge sum, given that farming accounts for less than 2% of the EU’s workforce.”

      • Tad Davison
        Posted November 16, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

        I really don’t understand it when politicians are given an absolute ace to play, then don’t use it. I ran Denis’ post past a number of them (and properly attributed to him) yet no-one latched onto it. In my view, it would have nailed these people once and for all.

        On Anna Soubry, I have noticed how she places herself behind those with a serious message to deliver, etc ed
        Tad

        • Tad Davison
          Posted November 17, 2017 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

          What a pity the rest of my post didn’t see the light of day, but then I think my fellow contributors would have seen her performances for themselves and drawn their own conclusions already.

          She epitomises all that is wrong with the Tory party and which will ultimately consign them to the political doldrums just as happened under Major in 1997 unless they change. We don’t need any more woolly middle-grounders, we need decisive patriotic leadership!

          I can’t vote for her kind!

  21. Ross Towes
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    I cannot see any meaningful procurement happening in co-operation with European countries, for two reasons.

    First, we have just replaced, are replacing or are ‘upgrading’ (i.e. from obsolescence to just-about workable) our tanks, our armoured vehicles, our light wheeled vehicles, our combat aircraft, our maritime patrol aircraft, our strategic lift aircraft, our aircraft carriers and attack submarines. Ship and submarine building would seem pretty safe in any case. The only big bits of equipment we need to replace but haven’t yet is our artillery – but the rest of Europe did that a decade ago and so isn’t interested in co-operative procurement; they are very interested in selling us their guns though, since we can’t build our own any more.

    Secondly, European requirements tend to be different to ours. We like things to fit into and be carried around the world quickly by strategic aircraft, and things that project power; they like things that can drive across Europe quickly and easily. We have global concerns, they tend to have a continental focus.

  22. agricola
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Commonality of equipment over a defence system is no bad thing providing it results in acquiring the best devoid of national lobbying. In terms of the EU I do not see such a pragmatic approach because they are essentially protectionist and protect the loudest voices. The CAP is a prime example.

    For the UK I prefer NATO, it has been around a long time and we know it works. The EU must make it’s choice. Already most EU countries belong to NATO, of the 29 members only the USA, Canada, Turkey do not and after March 2019 the UK will not. Most EU members of NATO fail to fund defence to the agreed level, will all this change if they take responsibility for their own defence. Will they continue to belong to NATO or will they when under serious threat expect to be bailed out by NATO. To me it looks like an exercise in pandering to self importance by inflated EU politicians. The natural leader of EU defence would be Germany, but they do not have an appetite for it after historical military involvement. With delusions of grandeur they might do it, but I do not have much faith in it’s effectiveness.

    • agricola
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      How come this got overlooked.

  23. Prigger
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    It is probably impossible for a man-in-the -street such as myself to know but a percentage point of the ins and outs of the question of Defence. But almost total ignorance does not curb the tongue of many MPs so, I shall put in my .0001%worth as they doing in the House even as I type.

    We should expect trouble in Europe. There is nothing in recent warfare history suggesting peace. We have fairly new regimes and look-a-like democracies in the East and in southern Europe. Quite a few, now, in effect ban all immigration. They do this despite labour shortages in key low-pay sectors and their own economies largely only viable because of UK/ EU money input . Also because of investments by America, UK, France, Germany and Japan…all of whom could have invested elsewhere with greater returns on capital.

  24. PaulDirac
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Let us congratulate and applaud this new development in the EU, the more they carry, the less we have to.
    NATO is way over it’s sell by date, more like a club for useless generals lounging in luxurious hotels.
    The only threat Europe faces is Russian (almost said Soviet) aggression, which has so far been limited to peripheral targets.

    We should negotiate a new north Atlantic treaty, USA first but also with states which are serious about defence, I’m thinking especially of Norway, & Sweden.
    We should also look seriously at the efficiency of procurement, these new F35’s come at a price tag of over 140 million pounds EACH.

    • Diogenes
      Posted November 14, 2017 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

      After Brexit, you could get roughly two and a half such planes per week. What’s the problem?

  25. Freeborn John
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Will you be voting against the bad deal in the ‘meaningful’ vote that David Davis promised yesterday? It should be an easy choice between between collecting a net £8bn in tariffs on the EU’s trade surplus or paying €60bn+ to de-facto stay in the EU and talk indefinitely maybe about something else while the EU collects €10bn a year from us.

  26. John
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    We need to avoid the EU army and any involvement. We need to stick with NATO, it can survive and be effective post Euro members leaving.

    The EU army will want to flex its newly found muscles probably near r in Russia. We need to be firmly separate from this EU army and not joined to it in any way.

  27. John
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    This takes me back 30 years to a very old argument played out in what was then a start up technical pensions publication.

    Over the Quarterly publications on typewriter printed paper photo copied and posted to subscribers like me included an intellectual battled of very high ranking lawyers. One from the EU and one from the UK.

    The law argument started on the basis that were the UK pension assets safe from the EU Treaty of Rome?

    A very noble wording from the ToR was quoted, I think it was referenced Section 9 2 b sub section r but memory alas! It said:

    The assets of one Nation State cannot be transferred to another Nation State.

    The argument continued, what are Nation State Assets? The EU supremely ranking lawyer responded saying it was in the Appendix.

    There was nothing in the Appendix that referenced the definition of assets. Assets that are the most recorded item of humans, the thing that we value the most other than life, not recorded or defined in the Treaty of Rome!

    It wasn’t recorded be cause you need to hare assets to form a superstate. you need to share military assets to form an EU army.

    Maybe it wasn’t the pensions they were after!

  28. Javk snell
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    John says the UK is fully committed to NATO..but is the United States? And what about Turkey?..can anyone say that Turkey is a fully committed member of NATO at present time..for this reason central European countries probably feel a need to fashion a new style defence project and who could blame them?

    • rose
      Posted November 15, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Turkey and the US are convincing upholders of NATO. Some European countries are not, because they refuse to pay their agreed share and they are undermining it by 1 attacking the US President and 2 building an alternative defence system excluding the US and Turkey.

  29. Darren
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    In the House of Commons briefing paper: The defence capability review: equipment of 17th October. It says:” The MOD intends to compete internationally the contract for new Fleet Solid Support Ships, expected to be delivered from the mid-2020s.29 These vessels, like the MARS tankers, are not considered warships and therefore do not need to be built in the UK”.

    But they will be armed, militarised, and sail in dangerous areas etc.

    But it is the way the MOD says, “do not need to be built in the UK” as if it is such a hassle building in the UK. They also mention the MARS tankers were around 50 million under budget, but no mention of being late due to mistakes made. But that cost was just for the South Korean shipbuild part, not the other 160 million pounds.

    How much did the UK Exchequer receive in tax clawback from South Korea, 40-50+%? UK money recirculated around the UK with new investment and the spur the UK shipbuilding sector needed was with the MAR tankers, but now needs to be with the Fleet Solid Support Ships!

    Those tankers were never value for the taxpayer by being built abroad. Main materials like steel should be purchased by the MOD direct from the UK steel mills too.

    The PESCO thing is monstrous. You only have to Bing or Google EU military, and see how it sees itself. This PESCO is a tool for that. This EU would not see it as sharing ship contracts around different Countries, but within a Country (EU). It also helps to reduce further the UK capability. If we had been so stupid and or have such disloyal politicians to carry out such an act.

    • Darren
      Posted November 14, 2017 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

      May I add. When the MOD said:”The MOD intends to compete internationally the contract for new Fleet Solid Support Ships, expected to be delivered from the mid-2020s.29 These vessels, like the MARS tankers, are not considered warships and therefore do not need to be built in the UK”.

      The MOD intends to compete internationally the contract as if it came out with this idea and policy itself. Why would you inflict this on yourself in the first place? They did not. It was an EU rule dictated to us ni which only we obey and feel obliged to give big UK contracts abroad like this. This is a UK industry killing rule, and the way officials have turned this around to, we’ve decided this, and to, thank God, they do not need to be built in the UK, as if it was a great thing, is deplorable. When they felt they had to do this sort of thing, the excuses were, no UK firms tendered for them. Why not, well, when UK firms get wind of something sometime before the official decision is made, know the cards are stacked against them, why would they tender through fear of rejection from their own Government? Also, we had the lack of capacity excuse, have not built ships like these for years, value for the taxpayer and so on which is all complete rubbish.
      First, the capacity thing is rubbish, because we were building the carriers, but the work was originally spread around to give a number of yards some work, we just stumbled the idea that building like this can be really effective.

      We do not build or have not built ships like these tankers for years. How long ago were the Waves built and come into service, and how much did they cost before and after tax in total, not just the shipbuild bit, which is the cost given to make the MARS tankers look cheaper? Also, how often do we build carriers like the Queen Elizabeths, and how long ago did we contemplate building ships like these? Same can be said for Frigates too.

      Then, the value for the Taxpayer. Do I need to go into why they were not value for the taxpayer?

      We could go on and on (probably should do) to why this PESCO is wrong and unfair to a Country and people that do not want this and is so much better than all of this EU nightmarish stuff.

      Goodnight, and don’t have nightmares.

    • Darren
      Posted November 16, 2017 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

      It was not by MOD design in having those ship tendered abroad. They were made to do this by guess who.

  30. mancunius
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    “a system of defence procurement and mission definition that impedes our role in NATO ”

    But it is a given of any EU ‘Army’ that it will dance to a German foreign policy tune wsith orchestrated in Brussels, and played on French economic-interest instruments, setting anti-American lyrics. Their first goal will be to detach as much of Ukraine as possible from Russia, (forgetting as usual to read the history books). Their second goal will be to threaten to intervene inside EU countries – Visegrad first, and then Austria if the Austrians don’t vote the right way.

    We should be very cautious about having anything to do with this initiative. It is simply a resurgence of the de Gaulliste loathing for Nato.

  31. The Great Ear
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    EU (Withdrawal )Bill, BBC Parliament 14th November 2017
    Lots of legal jargon. Your contribution was great JR.
    Minister of State for Courts and Justice Dominic Raab who was right at the front for quite some time was great too. I found difficulty in finding any account of his speech on online media. Odd. They did not seem to wish to mention him at all nor you for that matter JR.
    Most of the speeches were out of sync in that only one Remoaner seemed to actually dovetail with what Raab was saying and explaining. Ms Cherry’s contribution for the SNP was in parallel to his words but quite separate and obviously composed beforehand.
    To be fair, there cannot be many anywhere who can successfully argue with him even if he were wrong. He seems reluctant to fire full blast at people. Seems aware of his strengths.

  32. Peter D Gardner
    Posted November 15, 2017 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    The purpose of the EU ‘Army’, according to Junker’s five year plan, is force projection in support of EU expansion.

    Why doesn’t anyone find that alarming?

    Personally, i think arming this anti-democratic supra-national state is a supreme of human folly.

    I wonder how the EU will impose its one-size-fits-all policy approach on countries unwilling to commit forces to whatever bizarre political ambition the EU dreams up. Topple another government? Why not?

  33. Tom Rogers
    Posted November 16, 2017 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    Once we have left the EU and the Single Market, we then need to leave NATO.

    NATO is as detrimental to British interests as the EU.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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