The Treaty of Aachen and the European army

This week President Macron and Chancellor Merkel signed a Franco German Treaty at Aachen. It sets up a governing committee for a common European army, to  be based on establishing a common culture in the German and French forces and engaging them in more joint operations. There will  be common weapons procurement and an integrated supply industry.

The same Treaty also wishes to erode the distinctions of government and culture in the border areas between the two countries. There will be an overall joint governing structure, encouragement of bilingualism, and joint government programmes.  The Treaty in addition  sets up an economic council of experts to advise on bringing together economic policies. The two countries pledge themselves to even closer governmental working and more convergence of law and action.  France promises to take the common EU line on the Security Council of the UN, and to seek a permanent seat for Germany on that body as well.

They presumably chose Aachen as the resting place of Charlemagne, a great figure in European unification. The Rathaus at Aachen where they met was the setting for the coronation of 31 Holy Roman Emperors, and it houses replicas of the crown jewels of the Emperors. The two leaders wishes to reaffirm their enthusiasm for a political unified Europe.

The Rathaus has also seen other events that remind us of the trials of European history. There was the period of occupation by the French Napoleonic forces, when France tried to unite a large part of Europe by force of arms. There was the 1923 sacking by Rhineland nationalists, and the bombing of the building by the allies seeking to reverse German militarism in the 1940s.

True to form, signing this Treaty to try to unify more, the political forces in France and Germany have included strong criticism from their  oppositions. The German populists are concerned that Germany will be dragged into spending more German money on French economic developments. The French opposition is very concerned about giving Germany a role in the government of French border areas. These are all matters for French and German debate, not for UK opinions.

I highlight this event because during the referendum Leave was told by Remain there was no question of a European army, yet the language of this Treaty develops the idea a long way. It is clear again that the main drivers of European integration do wish to have a joint military capability distinct from NATO. This in turn requires a much higher degree of political integration and joint decision taking.

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245 Comments

  1. Stephen Priest
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    If Labour tries to extent Article 50 they should be constant labelled the party that overturned democracy.

    Corbyn’s new love for the EU stems from the fact that an enemy of Britain is a friend of Corbyn.

    • Merlin
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Just to say I support a European army.

      Who else will protect us? Certainly not Donald Trump. Brexit is all about us taking control. And having an E.U army to partner with is part of that.

      • Merlin
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:48 am | Permalink

        Also, enough of this Brexiteer – Remainer fallacy. Not everyone who supports Brexit is anti-EU you know – and nobody has the right to speak on behalf of everyone who voted Brexit or Remain.

        I see it as an opportunity to deepen our connections with Europe.

        • Tad Davison
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 10:50 am | Permalink

          I remember the cold war and wanting to keep this nation from becoming just another satellite state of the Soviet Union. Even then, there were those in the UK like the infamous Fred Kite (played by Peter Sellers in the film ‘I’m All Right Jack’) who swooned over Russia and held the belief that all the negative things that were said about the place were merely Western propaganda. Blinded were they to the truth, or perhaps they acquiesced to it and were of the same totalitarian, authoritarian inclination.

          The EU is being revealed as more dystopian that Utopian with each grasping clawing act it passes, yet there are still people who would tie us in ever more closely. The place is a black hole from which there will be no escape once we go past a certain point.

          The USSR finally imploded as will the EU, but it is best not to be anywhere near it when it does, nor part of its structure along the way. Leaving now on WTO terms is our last best hope of keeping our freedom and independence.

          Tad Davison

          Cambridge

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted January 25, 2019 at 10:06 am | Permalink

            I think the problem is between extreme nationalism (that gave rise to WW2 – and the EU was mostly a reaction to that) and supranationalism (Can you say that? Like the EU).

            Both in my view are types of heresy / idolatry – and dangerous. At least History shows them to be dangerous.

            When what we want and need (and which History shows to be best) is healthy patriotism.

            Healthy patriotism is above Sovereignty. It’s about a healthy love of country. You can be patriotic without thinking you’re superior to the Germans or the Italians whoever. In fact, you can love your country whilst loving aspects of others countries too.

            Shakespeare – great example of this. He loved England. Clearly a patriot. But he clearly loved Italy and Renaissance. It’s a bit like a man’s love for his wife. His greatest love should be for his wife (country). But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t love his children, brothers, cousins and best friends (other countries).

            Patriotism is a bit like a human being who has personality but that he is not a rock. He needs other people to survive, to do well, to flourish.

            And so I’d like to see the UK a Sovereign country one day. But I’d like to make sure we do it with a proper leader in place, proper plan in place, and the proper fiance to support it. And that although sovereign, we also have healthy relations with our closest neighbours – for reasons of trade, security and cultural exchange.

          • Ed Mahony
            Posted January 25, 2019 at 10:13 am | Permalink

            And it’s quite right we remember the EU in the context of the USSR (But we must also remember the EU in the context of things in the past where Europeans worked well together in the past – whether it be the Hanseatic League, Renaissance Cultural exchanges, the continent coming together to defeat Napoleon)

            But we must also remember how every country CAN fall to extreme nationalism in one shape or form. And if we’re rightly going to think of USSR (and the gulags) we must also think of Nazi Germany (and the Holocaust). (But we must also remember how great patriotism is when it is healthy – for example, look at the patriotism in the UK during WW2 when we defended our island from the Nazis, or those who built beautiful Medieval Cathedrals, or Shakespeare, and wonderful, positive aspects of patriotism like that).

        • Stephen Priest
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

          Mearlin: “I see it (Brexit) as an opportunity to deepen our connections with Europe.”

          You sound like Theresa May

          • Graham Wood
            Posted January 24, 2019 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

            “You sound like Theresa May” Indeed. What DID TM say on the matter? Answer: she outlined a policy. Here it is:

            May is handing over the entire control of the UK’s military capability, its military and therefore its foreign policy, and the entire economy connected with that ie procurement and supply.
            In parliament on 17th December 2018, she alluded to this with the words, “the deepest security relationship that has ever been agreed with the EU”.
            No further explanation was given then, or at any time before or since.
            Now that is strange. I don’t recall this outrageous policy being presented to the electorate at the last GE – a matter so
            unprecedented, deeply divisive and unnecessary, as Britain’s leading military and defence chiefs have declared.

            What France and Germany decide on such a matter is entirely their business, but it certainly is none of ours. Mrs May.

        • ian wragg
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

          As you are a Brussels (fan ed) who has only recently started blogging here, of course you are very pro EU.
          Why would we want to deepen our connections with Europe when the whole continent is in turmoil. From Finland in the North to Greece in the South there is civil unrest which whilst continuing to belong to the EU can only get worse.
          I assume the Franco/German accord will in reality mean German troops quelling unrest on French streets and vise versa. I’m sure the general population are not impressed.
          The sooner we cut ourselves adrift from this communist inspired entity the better.

          • margaret howard
            Posted January 24, 2019 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

            Ian Wragg

            I can’t think of any other EU country that is in quite such turmoil as we are at the moment thanks to Brexit.

            The majority of EU members think we are mad.

          • libertarian
            Posted January 25, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

            margaret howard

            WHAT? Do you live in a soundproof cave? Have you been cutoff from the world?

            For 6 weeks running there has been mass riots and civil unrest in France & Belgium

            The Italians are laughing at the EU

            The Hungarians have told the EU to get lost

            Greece is still in meltdown

            The EU is the sick man of Europe, falling markets, Germany, France and Italy either in recession or bust , falling further and further behind in new tech and bio markets

            Wow , if you want to be taken seriously you need to up your game

        • NickC
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

          Merlin, Seeing Brexit as “an opportunity to deepen our connections with Europe” is pure Remain nonsense. Typically delusional. If we had wanted to keep, never mind “deepen” our connections we would have voted Remain. But we didn’t. “Deepen”??!? – next you’ll be saying the USA wanted to deepen its ties to the British Empire rather than secede.

        • Richard
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

          https://countrysquire.co.uk/2019/01/10/dearlove-guthrie-letter-published/ Sir Richard Dearlove & Lord Guthrie beg to differ.

        • Rien Huizer
          Posted January 25, 2019 at 9:43 am | Permalink

          @Merlin,

          A brave post. I hope they do not know where you live, looking at some of the comments. You are absolutely right. You can be pro-EU and against UK membership. Churchill , remember.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 25, 2019 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

            Ridiculous comment Rien to suggest leavers would in some way attack merlin for stating his views.
            merlin is perfectly correct.
            Very few UK people wish the EU or any European nations any ill will.
            The EU may well prosper and develop after we leave and I jope they do.
            My view is the EU needs to reform along more democratic lines but that will be up to them.

      • eeyore
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:16 am | Permalink

        Support a European army by all means, but remember whose hand is on Germany’s gas tap. If you wish Europe’s security against Russia to be under the orders of a country that daren’t offend Mr Putin, you are possibly in a minority.

        • margaret howard
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

          No worse than us having placed our security in the hands of the US who have just recently used us as poodles in their illegal wars in the Middle East.

          The way things are if the US say jump we usually reply ‘how high’?

          • Edward2
            Posted January 24, 2019 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

            When did we do that?
            Please tell us the treaty we signed.

      • libertarian
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        Merlin

        Lol

        You think that the vast cost of starting from scratch with the German military ( it effectively doesn’t exist currently) by using entirely French made hardware would offer protection of any kind…. yeh ok

        NATO has kept the peace in Western Europe for 70 years

        • margaret howard
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

          libertarian

          “You think that the vast cost of starting from scratch with the German military ( it effectively doesn’t exist currently)”

          TOTAL MILITARY PERSONNEL: 208,641

          ACTIVE PERSONNEL: 178,641

          RESERVE PERSONNEL: 30,000

          https://www.globalfirepower.com/country-military-strength-detail.asp?country_id=germany

          • Cerbey
            Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

            Meaningful combat experience since 1945: zero hours.

          • L Jones
            Posted January 25, 2019 at 12:12 am | Permalink

            And you think that’s a good thing, do you, Ms Howard?

          • libertarian
            Posted January 25, 2019 at 9:23 am | Permalink

            Margaret howard

            Your usual level of awareness i see

            The German Military currently has

            140 Leopard 2 tanks that are not working & unfit for service

            six out of six submarines were not in use.

            At times, not one of the 14 Airbus A-400M could fly,

            The Luftwaffe has just 4 ( FOUR) operational Eurofighters

            https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-43134896

          • libertarian
            Posted January 25, 2019 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

            MH

            Came across this quote from a Senior German army officer

            Recurrent funding issues have been highly embarrassing. In 2014, it was revealed that tank commanders had covered up their lack of machine guns by using broomsticks painted black during a Nato exercise.

            Tell me again about how advanced the EU is and why its worth belonging to it.

      • Richard
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

        An EU Army controlled by an unelected Politburo of 27 & unelected EU Presidents. With the likes of Mogherini, Stoltenberg http://facts4eu.org/news_novb_2017.shtml#js & Robbins key players driving it. Bureaucratic & inefficient. Despite blue-yellow camouflage, similarities to The Red Army abound.

        Sir Richard Dearlove, Lord Trimble, Field Marshal Guthrie & others have warned that our Armed Services risk being surrendered during The Transition Period. http://johnredwoodsdiary.com/2018/12/27/8-things-wrong-with-the-withdrawal-agreement/#comment-984105

        Germany has already taken over several Dutch & other military forces: https://facts4eu.org/news_june_1-14.shtml#51 https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/05/22/germany-is-quietly-building-a-european-army-under-its-command/
        The obvious concern is that The EU Army will be used for internal control – that the Brussels Empire will ‘do whatever it takes’ to rule over its populous the way all previous anti-democratic Empires have ruled.

        • John Hatfield
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

          I’m sure that the rise of the populist parties and the current enthusiasm for an EU army are not unconnected.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      “the party that overturned democracy” and the party that will turn the country into Venezula.

      Also most of the blame lies with the misguided leadership of May and Hammond and all the Libdim remainers in the Tory Party who have helped to destroy the many UK’s negotiating strengths.

  2. Henry Carter
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    A “European Army”? What rubbish. Which bit of “Treaty between France and Germany” don’t you understand?

    Reply Read it. It is clear this will be a European army following EU policy

    • Prigger
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      All this about the European Army was on the EU website well before UKIP became an electoral threat. Now, of course it is a party gone off the rails and borders of our Body Politic
      It was quite openly stated and available in several languages. The lack of knowledge about it, seemingly, of certain politicians is something everyone should think about whether they are passionately for Remain or not. Why the denial?

      • Stephen Priest
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

        France and Germany make the rules that suit them.

        France and Germany break the rules when it suits them.

        • ian wragg
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

          France and Germany ARE the EU.

        • margaret howard
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

          And we don’t?

          • John Hatfield
            Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

            No.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

            No, we don’t!

      • NickC
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        Prigger, Funny that Nick Clegg didn’t think there would be a European army then. In fact he sneered that it was a fake conspiracy theory when challenged by Nigel Farage.

    • David Price
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      @H Carter – either you are unaware of the context or willfully misleading …

      Prior to the signing of this Germano-Franco treaty the French President, German Chancellor and EU Commission President produced a joint declaration on future intentions for the EU – “three visions, one direction”.

      Goals in the section on defence include (text is emphasised as in the original);

      – By 2025 creation of a fully-fledged Defence Union
      – Swift implementation of Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and the European Defence Fund
      – Closer military integration, including an ‘intervention initiative’, within the framework of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO)
      – Proposes that national armies make it possible to host nationals from other EU Member States
      – Calls for a fully deployable European common defence force ‘by the beginning of the next decade’, underpinned by a common budget
      European civil protection force
      Common weapon systems and common strategic actions

      Their stated intent is for Germany to have a permanent seat on the UN security council and to have an EU Security Council.

      And yet, we keep being told that the EU is merely a trading bloc established to ensure war did not happen again in Europe.

      • TRP
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

        It is awfully sad to realize that people going over the top on this Aachen Treaty seem not to have read the EEC/EU prose of the last 50 years. There is nothing new in terms of closer union on all aspects including defence. Obviously for years and before Brexit was even a spark in very few people’s eyes (JR among them) most of the populus did not care at all. Now we have Jacob Maduro Rees-Mogg who is preparing his coup, putting Parliament out of the loop. Was Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm strictly about the communist countries or could he have seen into the future of England? So where do we go from here? toward “The Sovereign Individual” (a la W. Rees-Mogg) or the “Heroic Failure” (a la F. O’Toole)?

        • David Price
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

          Why should we have had to read EEC/EU prose over the last 50 years? if there is to be government there has to be a level of trust.

          As a member of the UK populus for those years I trusted our government to do right by us and put our interests first consistent with being a good world citizen so concentrated on my responsibilities to my family and community. Events in the last decade however have proved that it was a mistake not to pay attention. I plead lack of time and money and access since the internet was not around for most of the formative period up to Maastricht.

          Clearly we should not have trusted the people charged with the responsibility for our affairs then or now.

          Perhaps the problem is not that people placed too much trust in the wrong people, you have to trust someone, rather the controls are not effective or the consequences for those in power who abuse that trust are not dissuasive enough.

        • Mark
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

          Evidently you have not read the Treaty of Aachen/Aix-la-Chapelle. I have seen nothing that suggests that national governments should have foreigners attending cabinet elsewhere, for instance. Nor that there should be a requirement to make everyone bilingual in French and German.

        • libertarian
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

          TRP

          Dont know where you’ve been hiding for the last 3 years but millions , literally millions of us were asking our politicians about this because as you say it has all been on open display on EU websites

          Unfortunately our remain/EU loving politicians lied and lied again. Thats what makes it all so deeply ironic that now you’ve lost you want to cry and whinge about politicians lying.

          You would be absolutely murdered if there was a third referendum now

      • margaret howard
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

        David Price

        “And yet, we keep being told that the EU is merely a trading bloc established to ensure war did not happen again in Europe.”

        No we weren’t.

        Extract from the official 1975 referendum leaflet:

        The aims of the Common Market are:

        Bring together the peoples of Europe

        Raise living standards and improve working conditions

        Promote growth and boost world trade

        Help the poorest regions of Europe and the rest of the world

        Help maintain peace and freedom

        • Edward2
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

          Failed on all objectives.

          • hefner
            Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

            Edward2, If you think so, fair enough. But the point was not that, it was that the objectives of the Common Market/EEC/EU have always been above board. If the UK people have not been attentive during all these years, is it really EU’s fault? If PMs Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron, May tricked you, how can you honestly say you bear no responsibility? You (or at least a majority of UK subjects) blxxdy voted for them. So stop being crybabies.
            Could it be that what Ch. de Gaulle had said about the French in the 60s is now relevant to the British “Les (Francais) Britanniques sont des veaux”.
            Think about it and produce 500 words by tomorrow morning.”
            Libertarian, that also applies to you. If you were asking questions these last three years, very good, but where were you ten-twenty years ago? Having fun at university?

          • Edward2
            Posted January 25, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

            We were lied to.
            Heath ridiculed anyone who talked about loss of sovereignty.
            Ever closer union they mentioned.
            Sounds all cosy nice and peaceful.
            They never spoke back then about common currency common taxation common foreign policy common legal system with the ECJ having overall supremacy and so on.
            Documents kept secret under the 30 year rule but now released show a deliberate policy of keeping the public in the dark.
            We waited for 40 years to have our vote.

        • David Price
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

          The EU grew out of the EEC and the ECSC the latter proposed by France to make war materially impossible by controlling access to raw materials and so constrain Germany’s war making capabilities. In the run up to the 2016 referendum the remain camp continually claimed the attainment of peace in Europe as one of the EU’s greatest achievements, emphasised by David Cameron. Even Boris was reluctant to say nay declaring that the EU was “born of the highest motives – to keep the peace in Europe”

          To underline the claim, the EU was crassly awarded the Nobel peace prize in 2012. But the absence of violence in (most of) Europe occurred under the safety of the NATO shield which the UK contributed to, more so than many other EU members. Lack of armed conflict in Europe is not solely down to the EU by any stretch but that aspect has been unpalatable to the remainer camp as demonstrated by remainer comments on this blog.

          Unfortunately the EU elites keep finding more ways to foster strife and conflict between members – just because it isn’t armed conflict does not mean the EU is peaceful.

        • libertarian
          Posted January 25, 2019 at 9:26 am | Permalink

          MH

          Show us the reference in 75 leaflet to a Euro currency, free movement of people , a EU army, and EU parliament etc

          • a-tracy
            Posted January 29, 2019 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

            And EU President that even if we veto gets elected.

    • Richard1
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      We should follow President Trump’s lead and recognise the rightful president of Venezuela. The Chavez-Maduro régime, so strongly supported over many years by Corbyn McDonnell and other Labour leftists, is an example of the terrible evil of socialism.

    • Jagman84
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Seeing as France and Germany will not exist after 2022, according to the EU (empire ed) master plan, it is forward planning for the happy event. Happy, in that it’s likely to tear down the whole stinking edifice as the reality of the situation dawns on the remaining EU members. If they have any vestige of independence left, they’ll bale out, ASAP , just like the UK. Put your money on the Visegrad states to lead the exodus.

      • Christopher Houston
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        Germany and France exemplify how what we previously took as typical “Extreme Right-Wing” politics and ideology are now that of the proverbial “Centre Ground of Politics”. It is this so-called Centre, where the extremities around the Circle of Politics…Left and Right do meet and fold back in on themselves occupying the bull’s eye of evil in the broadest terms, against free-speech, even basic democracy, thinking a mere bagatelle of them..a trifling whimsical dream of the masses, ignoring democratic votes and democratic traditional Parliamentary procedures. The are the screwed up middle and meddling.

        • NickC
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

          Christopher, I think it exemplifies what we previously took as typical “Extreme Left-Wing” politics and ideology.

      • Mitchel
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        There are other developing blocs within the EU apart from the Franco-German axis and the V4-the “New Hanseatic League” and the “Intermarium”-the latter yet another attempt by Poland(possibly supported by the USA) to recreate the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth which stretched from the Baltic to the Black Sea(and looking at it”s putative components something akin to herding cats!).

    • libertarian
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Henry Carter

      As a rabid supporter of the EU you really ought to be more aware of what they propose, give speeches about and you know actually print on their website

      I suspect as with a lot of Remain ultras you actually dont know the fist thing about the EU

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      Henry they used to say that about the ‘single currency’! I have a letter from te then Chancellor, Ken Clarke, amended by hand stating categorically that ‘nobody was thinking about a single currency and even if they were, it could not be implemented’.
      Explain away the bloody Euro please, which has destroyed Southern Europe!

  3. Baz Lloyd
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    The ‘Treaty of Aachen’ is a Franco – German treaty. It’s nothing to do with us and neither is the EU party to it.

    So long as they don’t infringe the Lisbon Treaty, EU member states, are free to enter into treaties with one another, or with non EU states.

    The ‘Treaty of Aachen’ sets out aspirations which go beyond Germany and France, but none of them can be achieved without the agreement of others whom they might, or might not, invite to participate.

    I have no idea what the Remain campaign said on the subject, but I don’t think any of us ever disbelieved the allegations that the EU, and some elements in France and Germany are seeking an EU Army.

    But without the agreement of all the states they can’t have one. Some of the member states’ constitutions would likely require referenda to consent to setting one up. The chances of them winning them all would be zero.

    So if they can carry their own electorates with them France and Germany are quite wise t0 pursue bi-lateral treaties, and seek to involve others, only as and when they are, (if ever), willing.

    Whether this new treaty is worth the paper it’s typed on however, is another matter. France’s adherence to the Schengen Treaty didn’t survive conflict with its’ national interests.

    Which, incidentally reminds us that no treaty or ‘agreement’ is sacrosanct. Contrary to what some people think, our sovereignty always remains in place.

    Reply The Treaty makes clear this will be a European army, not just a Franco-German one, acting in pursuit of EU foreign policy, which is why it is relevant to us

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Some of the member states’ constitutions would likely require referenda to consent to setting one up. The chances of them winning them all would be zero.

      You think that would matter?

    • Stred
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      It seems that the People’s Vote denial Dept are up early. Unfortunately, the PESCO details are all on the EU website and can be found on facts4eu. The combined security forces will do as decides by our unelected High Representative Mz Mogherini and the UK contingent will be under the command of EU generals. The equipment will be sourced in the EU. France will make the fighter bomber and Germany will build the tank. They just bought a controlling share of the British tank maker and will now have the plans.

    • David Price
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      You only need the main paymasters to agree – Germany, Netherlands and France. The client members will fall into line when they find the alternative is that free money starts drying up.

      I suspect the UK was a moderator on these kinds of “unification” measures, there will be more and the rest of the member states will likely regret allowing the UK electorate to get so pissed off it is leaving.

      The EU and supporters have failed badly and will fail again, hopefully without further serious repercussions for the people.

    • matthu
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Baz –

      Have you so easily forgotten Clegg in a televised debate with Farage describing the concept of a European Army as “dangerous fantasy”?

      Why dangerous? Why fantasy?

      • NickC
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        Matthu, Yes Baz has obviously forgotten, or never knew, Clegg’s strident view that a European army was a “fantasy”. Really, when does a Remain ever tell the truth, or be accurate? They’re all about propaganda, and nowt else.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Macron and Merkel made it very clear it wasn’t just a bilateral deal, they were setting out the agenda for the EU, to quote them , to create a sovereign EU.

      • Steve
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        ” to create a sovereign EU.”

        What a stupid daft idea.

        No matter what they call it, it’s still a union.

    • a-tracy
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Guy Verhofstdt put out a tweet: Macron and Merkel now fully back a European army. That’s great news! I explained why we need it at the #ALDECongress in Madrid.

      The video clip attached in English he says:
      A new Europe, a truly sovereign Europe, able to protect its borders, able to protect its interests is the next thing what we need to do. To stand up, if necessary against Putin. Do you know what the figures are today, dear friends?…28 different armies is a waste of money and at the same time it’s also a danger for our collective security and that has to change in Europe so that’s our project. Take a look.

      • Steve
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

        “To stand up, if necessary against Putin.”

        Well I hope the idiots do have a go at Putin, and we should not be involved.

      • Steve
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

        a-tracy

        “A new Europe, a truly sovereign Europe, able to protect its borders, able to protect its interests is the next thing what we need to do. To stand up, if necessary against Putin.”

        That does sound rather like the kind of proclamation made by the
        infamous Mr H.

      • Original Richard
        Posted January 25, 2019 at 9:08 am | Permalink

        I wouldn’t be surprised if the EU has plans to attack Russia.

        Germany and France both have history in this respect and have already started to make trouble on Russia’s borders by meddling in the affairs of Ukraine and deposing an elected president.

  4. oldtimer
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    My immediate thoughts about this treaty are:
    1 how will it fare if or when political parties with other priorities win control in their respective countries?
    2 is this a precautionary alliance against the risk of further turmoil and possibly more exits from the EU?
    3 are the social and economic circumstances of the two countries close enough to avoid future frictions as they seek to draw closer together?

    I do not know the answers.

    • Adam
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      oldtimer:

      My attempt to answer:

      1. Any group may develop hostility toward another, whether within its own nation or in opposition to another. Maintaining people’s contentment via freedom & happiness is a gentle yet effective preventative ‘force’.
      2. Developing a combined military capability solely to quell anticipated internal conflicts (or prevent EU members leaving!) seems an unlikely-intended purpose.
      3. French & German citizens maintain good quality standards, yet it takes the collective willingness of their nations’ people as a whole to engage, & opinions about merging are likely to be mixed, or patchy, & frequently changeable.

    • Steve
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      Oldtimer

      “I do not know the answers.”

      Oh I can help a bit here;

      The EU’s ‘project’ is to drag everyone else into conflict with Russia. We won’t get involved and rightly so. The French will run from the battlefield.

      • anon
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

        I am uncomfortable with that remark and would like to counter that point.

        Many (french nationals & others) brave soldiers would have died holding the line during and after the Dunkirk evacuations were ordered!

        Some were ordered to fight some were ordered to retreat evacuate.

  5. Andy
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    It is a bilateral treaty between two neighbours who have established – through bitter experience – that cooperation is better than belligerence.

    More unites them than divides them.

    It is a lesson in common sense which is lost on Brexiteers.

    • Original Richard
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      The Times reports :

      “Angela Merkel has hailed Germany’s new pact with France as a bulwark against the rising forces of populism and nationalism that are threatening to tip Europe into an era of chaos”.

      From this I think it’s clear that this is not a military cooperation to protect Europe and the West and hence a rival to NATO but a tool to be used internally within the EU.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        The ultimate disenfranchisement of the people by the elite, and within the EU itself. Who would have thought it. Clearly not those who still view this miserable project through rose-tinted glasses!

      • Mitchel
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        I think I agree with this comment in last week’s Economist p37 “State of the Nation”:-

        “There remains a gulf in strategic understanding.”Germany does not need a strong army for it’s understanding of sovereignty”says Wolfgang Schauble,President of the Bundestag and one of Germany’s great francophiles.”France is a different story.”The Germans strongly opposed the French intervention in Libya in 2011 and remain suspicious that schemes like M Macron’s European Intervention Initiative set up outside the EU are a ruse to get other Europeans to pay for French actions in Africa.French officials are frustrated by German unwillingness to deploy troops,and consider PESCO,a framework for EU defence projects promoted by Germany,as woefully unambitious.”

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        Mitchel

        “A tool to be used internally in the EU” What a really weird idea, as this is definitely not the case.

        • Mitchel
          Posted January 25, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

          I think that comment was from”Original Richard”,not me.

    • Kevin
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      “two neighbours who have established…that cooperation is better than belligerence”

      Is there universal peace on the Continent? The following extract from the BBC News Web site, dated 18th January, would appear to indicate otherwise:

      “Appalling injuries caused by French police riot guns during the yellow-vest protests have triggered anger and calls for the weapon to be banned. The LBD launchers known by protesters as ‘flash-balls’ have left 40 people severely wounded, reports say…. France’s human rights chief has called for the weapon’s use to be halted…. [S]ome of the accounts of people hit by flash-balls have been shocking…. The European Court of Human Rights rejected a temporary ban on flash-balls last month, in a case brought by several people who said they had been hit by flash-balls.”
      (Article: “Gilets Jaunes: French ‘flash-ball’ row over riot-gun injuries”.)

      • Tad Davison
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        Might be well to take George Galloway’s advice and invest in British companies who make yellow high-vis vests. If this shower we presently have in Westminster succeeds in denying us our right to self-determination as voted for in the 2016 referendum, we could have a ‘Gilets Jaunes’ movement all of our own right here on the streets of dear old Blighty!

    • Tony Harrison
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      No-one with even a superficial knowledge of the history between France and Germany could conclude that “More unites them than divides them.” You are starry eyed, naïve.

    • Anonymous
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      What do you mean by Remain, Andy ? You certainly never mentioned an army.

      Are you sure that shouldn’t be “capitulation is better than belligerence” ?

      • Anonymous
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        ‘Common sense’ tells this Brexiteer that this is a move by Germany to get access to the UN Security Council as senior partner in a military coalition with the French and access to nuclear weapons capability.

        In all things EU, Germany is the boss. You don’t want us to have a say on this.

        “Pocket Battleship” was a term for 1940s German classification of their heavy cruisers as ‘armed ships’ to get around non rearmament treaties.

        Margaret Howard may comment that Britain invaded more countries than Germany but the world has never ordered us to demilitarise, whereas Germany has been ordered to – twice !

        This is not ancient history. Veterans of those awful times are still here and driving cars.

        • David Price
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

          According to an article Die Welt “What’s in the Franco-German Treaty of Aachen?” 22-Jan-2019;

          What the Aachen Treaty says:
          Security: The two countries will “deepen their cooperation in foreign policy and internal and external defense.”
          ..
          Diplomacy: The admission of Germany “as a permanent member” of the UN Security Council is “a priority of Franco-German diplomacy.” The two countries will coordinate their positions within the UN and facilitate EU “unified positions” within the UN.

          So Die Welt appears to agree with you.

    • libertarian
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Andy

      Thats alright then because your kids will be conscripted into it

      • L Jones
        Posted January 25, 2019 at 12:32 am | Permalink

        No, not ”will be” but ”would have been” if we hadn’t saved Andy and his ilk from themselves and their crackpot loyalties.

        • libertarian
          Posted January 25, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

          L Jones

          No will be Mad Andy says he’s going to live in France and becoming a “EU citizen”

          Although as Andy is a property speculator with his dads money I can’t see him making much of a living speculating in French property

  6. Lifelogic
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    The whole development of the EU has been a slow ratchet trap, lubricated by endless lies from the dissembling, establishment EU enthusiasts. This from European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), established, respectively, by the 1951 Treaty of Paris and 1957 Treaty of Rome. In the UK from the appalling Ted Heath onwards.

    What the UK needs is far less government and lower taxes not even more.

    The Mirror today says:- Less than half of steel bought by Government came from UK, in latest ‘betrayal’. Well not so easy to produce competitive steel with such absurdly expensive energy due to idiotic, climate alarmist government energy policies is it.

    Leave the dire socialist lunacy of the EU and get the government out of the way. We will then compete very well indeed. All we need is a real Brexit and Morecambe Budget like the one Enoch Powell suggested their in 1968. We need it even more now than we did then.

    We need the complete opposite of the idiotic May, Hammond, Corbyn and Mc Donnall policies of big state, highest tax for 40 years and regulate everything to death.

    • Chris
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      We need President Trump and his policies. He is revolutionising the iron and steel industry in the US, bringing back the industry from overseas, building new plant, bringing back the jobs, and most important restoring prosperity and hope to the depressed regions (which incidentally Obama said could never happen – all on video).

      • Lifelogic
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        We need lower taxes, far less government, cheap reliable, non green crap energy, far less government waste, a clean & real Brexit, easy hire and fire and a bonfire of red tape. Get the vast amount of largely parasitic waste out of government (at least half of what they spend).

        Damian Hinds on about the totally idiotic Mathew Taylor report (only an idiot like May would have engaged such a socialist to do this nonsense) just now on Politics Live. Wrong, wrong, wrong -just more idiotic & damaging socialism!

        The only real protection for worker is plenty of alternative well paid jobs if they do not like the one they have.

        19% increase in violent crime I see too. Hardly surprising as the police seem to have totally given up in my experience. The system has no real deterrents as most criminals know very well.

        Conservative should be about UK democracy, law and order, freedom, low taxes, cheap energy and less government waste. May and Hammond are the complete reverse. Corbyn is even worse.

    • NickC
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, The EU ideology is not just lunacy, it is evil. Democracy, rationality, and truth are being up-ended to form the new Roman Empire where foreign troops will be used to quell domestic discontent. The fasces are back in the hands of EU authoritarians. We had an opportunity to leave the corrupt, dysfunctional EU behind in 2016, but we’re still waiting for our government to implement what they promised.

  7. sm
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    The border area (Picardy, Artois, Franche-Comte, Lorraine) between the two countries has been disputed and fought over for centuries, with attempts to impose ownership via treaties and royal marriages, as well as battles and sieges, from both the Kings of France and the Dukes of Burgundy.

    One wonders if characters such as Louis Xl, Philip and Maximilian of Burgundy and the de Guises are applauding or turning in their graves?

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      Dear sm–For what worth, wasn’t the Treaty of Aix-La-Chappelle (sp?) ending (I think) the War of Austrian Succession, otherwise known as The Treaty of Aachen (Aix etc being the French name)? Memory weak on this.

    • Mitchel
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      Treaty of Verdun 843 AD by which Charlemagne’s son,Louis/Ludovicus/Ludwig the Pious formally divided his father’s already fractious empire between his own three sons-one getting what is now France,the other Germany,the third the middle kingdom which covered most of Holland,Belgium,Luxembourg,Alsace,Lorraine,Savoy and the Northern half of Italy(the rest being under Byzantine control).The middle kingdom also brought with it the title of King of Rome-and usually the right to be crowned “Emperor of the Romans”,later “Holy Roman Emperor” with all the prestige that went with it.

    • hefner
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      Most of Alsace and a third of Lorraine went to Germany between 1870 and 1914. I cannot find any reference about Franche-Comte except if you are considering middle-ages Burgundy as “German”. As for Artois, well, it suffered more from the English than from the “Germans” in the One-Hundred-Years War. And did you not forget the role of the Kings of England in the France-Burgundy strife?

      • NickC
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        Hefner, They may have been kings of England but they were not English. They had just managed to conquer – and subsequently hang on to – England, that’s all.

      • Mitchel
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

        hefner,due to the Volkerwanderung as the Germans call it,all the post-Roman states of western Europe were originally “German”-Spain(Visigoth,until the Moors arrived),Italy(Ostrogoth until displaced by the Lombards),France(W Franks,Burgundians,Normans),Germany(E Franks,Saxons,Bavarians).As they settled down,they absorbed elements of the indigenous culture/language and became differentiated-sometime 900/1000AD best guess.

        See my comment above re Treaty of Verdun for a crucial event in this development.

  8. hans christian ivers
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Sir JR,

    If you read the treaty in detail you will also see that it is very weak on most specific details as there is no overall agreement on most of the area between the two countries.

    The proposed assemplies are consultative and have no decision power

    Repky Usual Remain defence that everything written about EU integration is a lie by their beloved EU!

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      Sir JR,

      I did not write that anything was a lie I explained the outline of the treaty, what an exceedingly infantile answer.

      • libertarian
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

        hans

        Maybe actually admit that you were wrong, that the Remain camp and Nick Legg in particular lied through their teeth, oh and dont hold yourself hostage to fortune. The EU is a corrupt , machiavellian organisation who dont implement their own rules when it suits them. Dont trust them

        • Jagman84
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

          That’s why an agreement with the EU isn’t worth the paper that it’s written on. Bullies can never be trusted.

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

          Libertarian,

          I am not a remainer and was not commenting on the remain campaign but on the very weak treaty put together by Macron and Merkel , the whole thing actually reflects weakness in the EU.

          • libertarian
            Posted January 24, 2019 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

            hans

            Yes it does and thats another reason why the EU is such a vacuous pointless organisation. My point was that we were told repeatedly that the would be no EU defence force, the same way we were told repeatedly that there would be no federal EU, no common currency etc . All a pile of lies. Any organisation that has to lie to the demos and fight tooth and claw to stop people leaving is not an organisation that anyone with an ounce of democratic support should want to be part of. The EU is soviet

          • hefner
            Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

            Libertarian,
            First line of the EEC Treaty:
            (We), “determined to establish the foundations of an ever closer union among the European peoples”
            Please accept you were not attentive and that your politicians tricked you.
            And you know what, I am sure that there are plenty of people in the EU27 that will rejoice if, as I hope, the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019. Forward to the sunlit uplands.

          • Edward2
            Posted January 25, 2019 at 7:16 am | Permalink

            Where in the EEC treaty does it state that they wanted to have over 30 members, a common currency, arrest warrants, ambassadors, their own defence force, common taxation and legal supremacy over member states.

          • libertarian
            Posted January 25, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

            hefner

            Do you never read the posts first?

            You always manage to make yourself look silly in you headlong rush to cut and paste your drivel

      • margaret howard
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        hans

        ” what an exceedingly infantile answer.”

        I agree. Shocking almost.

        • Edward2
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

          Read the treaty
          It is stage one towards an EU armed force.
          Dont be a denier margaret.
          If you like the idea of a United States of Europe thrn you should be pleased.

          • hans christian ivers
            Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

            Edward 2

            Are you now beginning to tell Margaret Howard what she might have said as you did on my behalf the other day? except I had never said it

      • NickC
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        Hans said: “I did not write that anything was a lie …” Huh?? I think JR was trying to point out (but briefly) that defence of the EU’s actions by europhiles/Remains often utilises the lie that whatever the EU is doing is weak and won’t amount to much and can safely be ignored. Then, when it is fully in force and too late, the same europhiles/Remains turn round and say: why didn’t you protest sooner if you didn’t like it? One more example of EU perfidy.

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted January 25, 2019 at 11:32 am | Permalink

          NickC,

          Thank you for the potential explanation the answer remains weak

  9. Javelin
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    I’m going to read the book “Why Men Rebel”, which the classic text on the cause of revolutions and a wish list for the CIA. An essay on the Bruge group website by a couple of professors of War studies pointed me to it.

    The book outlines the steps to revolution:-

    (1) Gov make promises
    (2) Gov give vote
    (3) Gov say they might promises
    (4) Anger builds up, threats made
    (5) Gov actually break promises
    (6) Frustration and anger, protests
    (7) Clash with Gov and revolution

    So we are basically well into point (4) in a revolution. The Daily Mail today has lots of comments some calling for street protests. We are getting very close to 5, which could happen any day.

    The reason I said this was a “wish list” for the CIA and not a “blueprint” is that the CIA don’t often get a chance to run the Gov. However this Gov appears to be creating a revolution upon themselves with immense ignorance.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      I agree with that.

      If I take to the streets and rebel, I have a problem. If all of us take to the streets and rebel, it is the government that has the problem, or more accurately, parliament, because it is they who wish to deny us what is rightfully ours.

      All the government needs to do, is give us what we voted for without let or hindrance. But we should make it quite clear to them what would happen if they don’t. The undertow of ill feeling and mistrust out in the country is palpable, and let them be in no doubt, we are talking ‘volcanic’!

      The last person who thought he would chance his arm, put our backs against the wall, and accept an undemocratic system of subjugated government didn’t last past the 30th April 1945. This parliament would be very ill-advised to try to corral us into accepting total capitulation to the EU.

      Tad Davison

      Cambridge

      • L Jones
        Posted January 25, 2019 at 12:39 am | Permalink

        Yes. ‘Volcanic’ is a good word. Sad to say, but true. Terrible to think our own government has brought us to this.

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    A BBC 1 reporter just now said HS2 will create 100,000 jobs. Well hardly you dopes, the taxation extracted from businesses and individuals (needed to fund the foolish project) and the misguided diversion of these resources will destroy perhaps twice as many jobs.

    HS2 will, like most government projects, cause a net loss of jobs and damage the ability of the UK to compete.

    • James
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      Well said LL. The politicians forming our present government do have the unfortunate and unerring knack of pursuing ‘bad’ as opposed to ‘good’ economic policies.

  11. Mark B
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    France promises to take the common EU line on the Security Council of the UN, and to seek a permanent seat for Germany on that body as well.

    This must be resisted at all costs as it would give a Federated EU too much power at the UN. If EU countries wish to become one then they must be treated as one.

    It seems we are getting out just in time – but wait ! Hasn’t our PM signed us up to some of this stuff ? Do we not have French Naval Staff working at the MoD ?

    https://eunavfor.eu/chain-of-command/

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/25/nine-eu-states-to-sign-off-on-joint-military-intervention-force

    https://eeas.europa.eu/headquarters/headquarters-homepage_en/35285/Towards%20a%20stronger%20EU%20on%20security%20and%20defence

    Some trading block ?

    • David Price
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Just read your article after duplicating some of your points in mine – they also intend to turn non-permanent member state UN SC seats into EU ones.

      The ratchet keeps on turning.

    • hans christian ivers
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      Germany will never get that seat anyway

      • Mark B
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        How do you know ?

  12. John Bell
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    According to Veterans for Britain (@VeteransBritain, http://veteransforbritain.uk):
    • Merkel/Macron are coming clean on existing deals.
    • EU military union deals were completed in Nov 2017.
    • UK joined most of them.
    • MPs haven’t kept up.
    • MPs believe UK can be in on its own terms. It can’t — once in, we’re committed.

    • Chris
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Well done for posting these details. They are highly significant particularly with regard to UK commitment which seems to have been accelerated since the Referendum. I tried to reference to Veterans for Britain about 18 months ago on this website when the topic was defence and my comments were not posted.

    • A different Simon
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Whether Britain exits the EU or not , it is set to lose it’s own armed forces and participate in European military union instead .

      This is why Cameron and Fallon have been dismantling UK forces at a rate Labour could never have got away with – so we are left with no option except to join European military union .

      Those forces would be under EU control , specifically under Federica Mogherini .

      Ask yourself this ; is it sensible to give our nuclear deterrent (cost > £0.5 trillion) to just anyone without vetting them properly and without considering what their successors might be like ?

      I’m still waiting for J.R. to admit the extent to which H.M. Govt has already signed up to all this .

  13. Richard1
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Yes while “£350m pw for the NHS” was very foolish disingenuity from Leave, Remain resolutely refused to acknowledge the undoubted federalist and integrationalist direction of travel of the EU, along with all the nonsense about immediate recession and an extra 800k unemployed. If we had voted Remain – and if we get sucked back in to the EU despite the vote to Leave as now seems possible – there will be no escaping the ever increasing political integration.

    • eeyore
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      What it actually said on the bus was “We send the EU £350m a week. Let’s fund the NHS instead”

      Remainers are always boasting of their superior education, but one that leaves people unable to understand letters a foot high on the side of a double-decker bus is not much of an education at all.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      They said ‘we could …’ because that’s how much extra money we will have. They were and are not in the position to promise anything – unlike a Government which can promise to honour a referendum result!
      PS the NHS is overfunded and a diabolical institution run by uninterested part-timers. Needs to be reformed root and branch!

  14. Mike Stallard
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    I despair.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      At what ?

  15. Dominic
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    This is the action of two desperate political leaders not the actions of two nations.

    Macron’s a spineless poser failing in his duty. Merkel’s reached the end of her career. It almost feels like both are indulging in a virtue signalling exercise showing their contempt for Trump. It’s so pathetic and infantile

    It is for the peoples of those two nations to decide the direction of travel of their respective abodes.

    If the French electorate find a European army palatable then they should continue to elect pro-EU leaders who would then continue the French state’s policy of sharing sovereignty across all areas of State policy. The same applies to the German people

    Let’s see how the electorates of each nation respond next time and they can then express how they feel through the ballot box.

    I believe with a Europhile as PM of the UK the British army would become part of a European military construct at some point. I am sure plans are already in place

  16. Ronald Olden
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    ‘Nation states’ are rarely a good thing. Sometimes they work sometimes they don’t.

    It all depends on the coherence and distinctiveness of their geography, culture, religion, economy, and crucially ‘leadership’ at any given time

    The UK is not a nation state, but it is a successful political union consisting of two nations, along with Wales and Northern Ireland, neither of whom have ever been nations in their own right nor ever part of one of the other two. And neither shows much sign of wanting to be.

    The crucial feature of the United Kingdom is present its’ name. It’s a ‘Kingdom’. Anyone can be in it, and anyone can leave.

    The states on the continent are, however, in many cases unstable and incoherent mini geographical empires.

    There’s no reason to assume that they (or the UK for that matter) will continue forever, within their existing geographic borders most of which are well under a century old.

    They might well be better off returning to the Holy Roman Empire, or at least a part of it.
    Alternatively, perhaps they’d be better off fragmenting completely.

    The world didn’t come into existence when the old Roman Empire retreated, and neither (as with the climate), did it reach its’ pinnacle of perfection in 1950.

    The Holy Roman Empire in itself was a relatively recent construct in historic terms and is only about the same age as England.

    The vast majority of human history is yet to come.

    • NickC
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Ronald Olden, Not really. England and Scotland became one kingdom in 1603. South-east Scotland used to be English (northern Northumbria) until about 1040. South-west Scotland used to be the Kingdom of Strathclyde, speaking a form of Welsh (ie British). The Scots were Irish invaders.

      The DNA mix of the populations of the British Isles is unique, dating back to the start of the interglacial here, and still between 70% and 90% the original. The English, Scots, Welsh and Irish have much more in common ethnically with each other than with any other group on the continent.

  17. John Miller
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    The EU Army is not being formed to safeguard Europe, it is to safeguard the EU Commisoners and their ideals against the population of Europe.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Yep! Roll on Brexit Day!

    • DaveK
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

      Much like the remain MPs wanting their security to be enhanced against “right wing extremists” prior to the betrayal.

  18. Prigger
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Surely Labour MPs, privately, beyond their chants in pleasing certain sections of their party and constituency electorates , surely they must feel a little uneasy about this Franco-German alliance?
    Rubbing out of borders and bilingualism? Has anyone asked the French and German people about it? Nothing wrong about bilingualism. Not unless you have some eccentric “traditional” nonsense-ideology about linguistics and Race. It stinks of it.
    They’ve been into too many pre-war French Structuralists.etc ed
    Things and stuff do seem to parallel pre WWII musterings. We need out of the EU. Trouble is in the air/

    • Prigger
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Besides, French and German languages “alliance”is a misfit. They understand a bit but not enough, fortunately

  19. HenryS
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    There is a strong feeling now in European countries that they can’t rely solely on NATO any more, especially with someone like Trump at the helm in US. Likewise they feel they cannot rely on the UK either with all of the political turmoil about, and putting all of that together with what is going on in Ukraine, Turkey, the Middle Eastern countries and then Putins Russia, they have a right to be concerned.

    • Mitchel
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      President Macron in August last year:

      “Europe can no longer rely on the US to provide it’s security.It is up to us today to take our responsibilities and guarantee our own security,and thus have European sovereignty.We have to draw all the necessary conclusions from the end of the Cold War.This amplified European sovereignty requires reviewing the architecture of European security and defence systems by starting a new dialogue on cybersecurity issues,chemical weapons,conventional weapons,territorial conflicts,space security,the protection of polar regions and particularly doing it in co-operation with Russia.

      I call for us to start considering these issues with our partners in the broadest sense of the word,that is,with Russia.”

      • Mark B
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        President Trump called for member countries of NATO to pay their dues. The USA, as he saw it, was subsidising their defence and thereby, giving them a commercial advantage over the USA.

        The future is Asia. President Trump is turning his attention to that part of the world as that is where the new growth is. The UK, outside the EU, can secure better terms and quicker as we can speak with one voice.

        • Mitchel
          Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

          “The future is Asia.President Trump is turning his attention to that part of the world…”

          What an extraordinarily banal response.The world does not wait at Mr Trump’s pleasure.Asia’s markets will not open at our command.

          Try googling “America’s technology and sanctions war will end by bifurcating the global economy” by Alastair Crooke(former British diplomat and MI6 officer) of Conflicts Forum.

      • roger
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        And Merkle was close behind him, signing agreements with Putin for the supply of 20% of Germany’s energy requirements from Russia.
        What could possibly go wrong?
        In other news we learn today that bacterial resistance to antibiotic drugs is as great a problem as climate change, so no problem there then anymore!

  20. StephenJ
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    This is not exactly a European Army though is it…?

    Rather it is a German army by the back door.

    As soon as it feels strong enough, in the german way, it will start to assert itself.

    Nigel Farage was just being polite when he called it an EU army.

  21. Alan Jutson
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    We already know who the main drivers of EU policy have been over the years, this just confirms it will still be the case for the future.

    Germany leads and France follows in her coat tails hoping to keep up, the rest, just do as you are told. !

    The sooner we get a clean break out of it, the better.

  22. GilesB
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Yet another example of the seven stages of fooling the useful:

    1. Ridicule: This is worthless nonsense
    2. Extremism: This is an interesting, but perverse, point of view
    3. Denial: This isn’t happening
    4. Minimise: This is true but quite unimportant
    5. Tidying: This is just simplifying what is already happening
    6. Institutionalising: This is how it is
    7. Normalising: I have always said so.

    On the EU Army the Remainers are at point 4: Minimise.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      You should re-post this every time a remainiac starts defending the EU.

      • Mark B
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

        Agreed. And well done GilesB

  23. steaddyeddie
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    The reply to Hans Christian is so infuriating. I voted Remain, not because of any fondness for the EU but because I want it to change and that can only be done by remaining within. Leaving is always a bigger risk and that means risking our prosperity and influence. The ECJ has decided on matters such as business competition, environment and consumer affairs, all subjects that are best sorted by international agreement. Migration is a problem but as Eastern Europe prospers, the problem reduces.

    • David Price
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      The poorer parts of Europe prosper because of the money extracted from UK tax payers being diverted there and because work and industry have been moved from the UK to there. Too much has been taken and is demanded of people in this country without so much as a please or thank you. Instead we have been abused and slandered, so now we leave and our politicians had better be very careful about what commitments and relationship they cookup in the future.

      The EU and it’s attitudes of entitlement and arrogance will not change. I don’t see why it is our mission to change the EU. We should focus on our needs and dreams not the mess and mania of elites in Brussells.

      If you want to fix the EU then go join them but don’t demand we sacrifice ourselves and future for your dreams.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the first sign of insanity.

      Many people thought the same as you and tried to change the EU from within, but without success. What makes you think things will be different this time, or at any point in the future?

    • Edward2
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      The EU won’t change.
      It has a plan and it is moving steadily towards it.
      The UK is one vote in 28 with the power to veto decisions being eroded further in 2020.

    • NickC
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

      Steaddyeddie, You’ve had 46 years to change the EU. What have you achieved so far – do tell?

    • Original Richard
      Posted January 25, 2019 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      Whatever damage the EU can do to the UK when it is outside of the EU it is nothing compared to the damage the EU can do the UK when inside the EU and thus subject to all the directives, rules and regulations covering taxation, trade, budgetary contributions, immigration, welfare, energy, fishing, agricultural, environmental and foreign policies etc. all decided by persons we do not know, who do not care for the wellbeing of the UK and its peoples, and whom we did not elect and cannot remove.

  24. David Price
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Time to ask questions in the house of the government to be clear and complete on what we are committed to even if we leave or stay, even partially courtesy of the WA.

    Just as importantly, start demanding of euphilics in the house and elsewhere what commitments are planned if we remain to any degree entangled with the EU.

  25. MickN
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Sir, may I make a couple of points a little off topic.
    With Mr Corbyn now seeming to back taking a WTO deal or as they like to call it a “No deal” off the table, perhaps Mrs May should offer this in return for him backing a government bill that means in all industrial disputes the Unions would be forced in law not to walk away from the table or withdraw labour.
    If the ability to walk away is ceded in the vote next week what is to stop the Eu demanding increasing to 39 billion to say 150 billion whilst at the same time insisting we stay in the single market etc etc. After all she could not walk away could she? What a ridiculous situation she has allowed Oily Robbins to get us into.

  26. Chris
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Please will you detail to readers the commitment that has already been made (and signed) towards the European Defence Policy by our government. The actions by our government have, I fear, been done covertly, and the general public are not aware of the extent to which we are already involved and committed to the European Defence policy including the proposed European army.

    • Norman
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      And it needs to be published in the Daily Mail etc!

  27. Lynn Atkinson
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    It’s the old story; Charlemagne; Hitler; the unknown who established the E.U. as it was always intended to be, by stealth and stages.
    The only question is this, will Britain play it’s usual role or has it been nullified by 46 years of Continental Rule?
    Sir John, how do the numbers stack up against the Grieve amendment?

  28. BOF
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    An EU army is ‘a dangerous fantasy’ said Nick Clegg during the Ref. campaign. It is now becoming an even more dangerous fact.

    Mrs May has been signing up our armed forces to a great deal of co-operation with the EU, seemingly with no consultation.

    MP’s seem largely to have ignored the letter from Sir Richard Dearlove and Field Marshall Baron Guthrie of Craigiebank in which they warn very strongly about the implications of Mrs May’s ‘deal’ for the armed forces and the security services.

    I think that in view of this no amount of tinkering with the Irish Backstop can make it remotely acceptable. The whole deal is a rank betrayal of the UK.

    • Bob
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      “An EU army is ‘a dangerous fantasy’ said Nick Clegg during the Ref. campaign.”

      Believing Nick Clegg about anything would be dangerously naïve, he is a product of the College of Europe and was programmed there to become an EU agent. The fact that he rose to office of Deputy PM should serve as a warning against complacency about the level of infiltration of EU proxies into the UK Establishment.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      It is not just the ‘backstop’ that should be removed but the whole Agreement. The thing is bloody toxic.

      • NickC
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

        Mark B said: “It is not just the ‘backstop’ …” Indeed it isn’t. Backstop; no exit clause; no international law; single customs territory; EU own our fish; singlemarket rules effectively including the CAP; military, security and diplomatic subservience; ECJ; money; etc. Mrs May’s DWA is a sell-out.

        What about using GATT Article 24? I’d prefer no deal at all. I wouldn’t trust the EU to see me across the road, but I would consider compromising so that we use the GATT Art24. That would give us the 2-4 years envisaged in the DWA but we would be out of the EU treaties and setting our own trade policy.

      • rose
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

        Quite so. And we don’t need a withdrawal agreement anyway. It is just a glorified ransom note.

  29. Dominic
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    If Tory Brexiteers capitulate to May on the WA you will all suffer absolute humiliation and expose the UK to generations of servitude and subjugation

    The British military may as well wave goodbye to their identity and independence.

    The modern British political class is devoid of moral dignity and any sense of shame

    I can smell betrayal of British democracy a mile away

    Parliament dictating its will to the people. We have become an authoritarian state

    Disgusting

    • Andy
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      It’s called Parliamentary sovereignty. Apparently you voted it for it in 2016.

      If you do not like you what your sovereign Parliament does you can change its make up. You get a vote every five years to do this.

      It means MPs are required to seek a regular mandate from the people. And in 2017 the people sent a majority of MPs who personally backed remain to Parliament.

      It is ironic that the biggest critics of this are Brexiteer MPs who were happy to stand as candidates for pro-EU parties for decades on end.

      • Edward2
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

        It is an odd version of Parliamentary soveriegnty when a few MPs act to thwart the views of a majority in a referendum where the voters were promised…
        This is your drcision
        We will implement what you decide.
        Very very different to a routine genrral election.

      • NickC
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

        Andy, No, we voted to restore sovereignty to the UK. In a democracy (demos=people; kratos=power) the people are sovereign. Parliament has sold us out to the EU over the last 47 years (Heath to Cameron).

        The specific mandate given by the people in the 2016 Referendum cannot be undone except by another referendum with the same choice in about 45 years time. That’s the precedent. And we cannot keep having fresh referendums every 3 years anyway- it’s just impractical.

        The candidates in the 2017 election standing for UKIP, Labour and Conservatives all accepted their party manifestos honouring the specific mandate to Leave. Since the Referendum mandate was known to them prior to the election, all candidates should have put their personal beliefs to one side. Or stood down. Otherwise they are acting in bad faith.

      • Original Richard
        Posted January 25, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        A majority of MPs, mine included, have lied to the electorate that they were Eurosceptics when in fact they were Remainers.

  30. Adam
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    If the French & Germans want to cooperate in promoting peaceful pursuits, that is a matter between them, so long as what they create does not interfere adversely with others.
    We in the UK should be independent in defence to whatever extent is practicable, yet everyone is dependent on the actions & cooperation of others at some level, whether in peace or in conflict.
    The concept of an EU Army is probably a retrograde step. The recently-signed French-German Treaty at Aachen is a move toward it. Remainer denials of an EU army being developed, such a from the inept Nick Clegg were misleading, as he should have or may have well known at the time.

    • Original Richard
      Posted January 25, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      “If the French & Germans want to cooperate in promoting peaceful pursuits, that is a matter between them, so long as what they create does not interfere adversely with others.”

      Please read carefully what Mrs. Merkel said :

      ““As a bulwark against the rising forces of populism and nationalism that are threatening to tip Europe into an era of chaos.”

      This combined force is designed to interfere in other European countries!

      • Adam
        Posted January 25, 2019 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        Original Richard:

        Yes; noticed. Merkel’s quote can be interpreted from different perspectives.

        If her internal forces were needed to quell rising violence from within Germany, that may fulfil the basic function of maintaining peace to protect citizens. A similar situation would apply within France, or any civilised well-intending country.

        In contrast, if German or French forces are combined to intervene in each other’s territory, or more widely, that raises the risk of being sinister.

  31. Iain Moore
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I am always surprised no Brexiteer asks the EU supporters of a Losers referendum …’what do you mean by remain?’ For the EU is not a static thing , as we see with moves for an EU army the ratchet of ever closer union never stopped.

  32. Martin
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    The Withdrawl Agreement, or a variation of it, would affect the UK’s defence capability too. Professor David Blake:
    ‘In terms of defence, the UK would be required to collaborate on future projects of the European Defence Agency, under conditions of EU law, with a European Army as the ultimate objective. Indeed, it is much more serious than this. The Prime Minister has secretly given away control of significant aspects of UK defence policy to the EU in a way that undermines NATO and our Five Eyes intelligence and security alliance with the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The clear intention by the EU is to destroy the UK’s relationship with the US and the Commonwealth.’

    • NickC
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      Martin, That is a very chilling point. I do agree that one of the main purposes of the EU is to degrade or even destroy the UK and our alliances to the Commonwealth and the USA. The Remain fanatics on here are oblivious to the consequences of slavishly conforming to their EU ideology. Or maybe they just overwhelmingly hate the UK.

  33. Roy Grainger
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Interesting that Macron said this European army was needed to oppose the rise of nationalism in Europe – obviously he envisaged using it inside Europe.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Or is he giving the Germans cover for same? Remember that old advert in Paris ‘Gun for sale, never fired, dropped once!’

    • Chris
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      That is apparently one of the purposes of the European army: to crush dissent against the “le grand projet”. Sinister stuff, and real.

  34. Everhopeful
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    In the face of Brexit and much other opposition a stubborn reaffirmation of the all important Project.
    Never mind the suffering it is causing. Untold misery.
    The rhetoric around this treaty is most worrying. Apparently those who adhere to ideals of nationalism are the problem and must be stopped since they are to blame for the sins of the past.
    No…patriotism,nationalism are just the previous lies used to get us to war when it suited.Now that the money is on combining efforts with previous enemies to war in the ME or Russia the “leaders”criminalise those who still hold the now discredited viewpoint. “ My country first.”
    Very like the workplace complaint “ Run to that corner of the room…NO! Now run to the other corner!.”
    Utterly chilling.

  35. ferdinand
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    O dear, an EU army. I can visualise Halt! and Fire ! being shouted in 27 different languages.

  36. Dominic
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Every Tory MP who backs May as our leader is little more than offence on every level.

    They are backing the destruction of our nation, our democracy, our sovereignty, the independence of our armed forces and undermining our constitutional monarchy

    They are a disgrace to everything we stand for

    How the hell Tory Brexiteers can sit next to their anti-UK colleagues is beyond me. I’d feel infected in their very presence

  37. Anonymous
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Why is Amber Rudd back in the cabinet ? To make Brexit more difficult and threaten to resign if there’s no deal ?

    What sort of Remain is it that you want, Amber ?

    • Mark B
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      She took one for the PM last time out. 😉

  38. Paul Margetts
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Didn’t these two countries try this before in 1940?

  39. Everhopeful
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    I just can’t imagine the Remain delight at the prospect of their kith and kin being called up to serve the EU. What was it? Conscription for all between ages 17 and 25? (Girls too…ain’t equality just wonderful?).
    Go fight for the EU …that amazing, war-ending Utopia!
    Oh..maybe they will have non kill bullets?

  40. Bryan Harris
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    This is all very well for the French and German elite that believe in the Kalergi plan, but other nations will be sucked in, simply because the EU commission will require it.
    I just hope the UK can avoid being embroiled in all of this – It would be a disaster, and certainly conscription will be on the agenda – Again, I hope the UK can stay out.
    It is time we rebuilt our professional armed forces though – Successive governments have allowed them to become a mere skeleton of what they were and what they should be. In a troubled world we need a reliable armed force to keep the peace and protect us.
    The EU will of course choose to ignore any voice of protest – it is not in them to consider that they are achieving great harm for the region, not to mention the people who will suffer as the bigger plan develops.

  41. Anna K.
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Every war in Europe in the last 300 years have been caused by the lust for domination of the continent by either France or Germany. Think what the terrible two might do in combination – and tremble.

    • margaret howard
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

      Anna K

      Professor Quincy Wright offers this further statistical evidence for the period 1480-1940:

      Of the 278 wars involving European states during this period, the percentage of participation by the principal states was:

      England, 28;
      France 26;
      Spain, 23;
      Russia, 22;
      Austria, 19;
      Turkey, 15;
      Poland, 11;
      Sweden, 9;
      Netherlands, 8;
      Germany (Prussia), 8;
      Italy (Savoy-Sardinia), 9;
      Denmark, 7;

  42. Lookalike
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Good to see and listen to Len McClusky in Downing Street..the real Labour leader..he talks sense too and is not avoiding the hard questions

    • Mark B
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Move East. And eventually suffer the same fate as before.

      • Mark B
        Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        This comment was to Anna K. Don’t know how it got here ?

    • Johnno
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      More interesting to me is that Mrs May is more interested in talking to Mr McClusky and other Union leaders than Mr Redwood and Mr ReesMogg. She has obviously decided the votes are there to get her deal through, as long as she adds a permanent customs union and binding commitments on keeping EU labour and environmental standards, as well as long term payments and a role for the ECJ. I voted remain, but I could happily leave on those terms

    • DoleCuddleTomater
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      Elected by 11-15% of his membership who didn’t even know his name until it was on the ballot paper

  43. Peter A
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Reminds one of the Dual Monarchy: Austro-Hungary army 1867-1918, they joined forces to become the Austro-Hungarian Empire, after Austria was thrashed by Bismark’s Germany in the war of 1866. Italy was in there somewhere too. Fascinating history . . . .

    • Ed Mahony
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      I think Europe’s had enough fighting.
      I think the real global-political threat to Europe/UK comes from 1. Russia, 2. The Middle East, 3. Religious terrorism, 4. Mass migration from N. Africa, and 5. America no longer willing to dip its hand in its pocket to help us over here in Europe/the UK.
      We also need to be careful about Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands.

      Personally, I think European army is terrible idea. However, what would be a great idea, would be for regiments, from different countries in Europe, to do more training with each other so that if there ever was a war – God forbid – in which Europeans had to fight together, we’d be better prepared than a group of countries fighting on their own.

      Also, countries with armies that cooperate strongly with each other sends a strong signal to countries such as Russia: do not mess with us.

  44. acorn
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Michel Barnier’s speech (23rd Jan 2019) reads like the final chapter of the Brexit saga, as far as the EU is concerned. https://ec.europa.eu/info/departments/taskforce-article-50-negotiations-united-kingdom_en

    A second, two stage referendum is going to be the only way our of this self inflicted crisis, created by self serving politicians. Fist vote = May-Deal versus No-Deal. Second vote = result of first vote versus Remain.

    Westminster can then do a Pontius Pilate and wash its hands in front of the voters and blame the “will of the people” for the result.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the will of the people. Unless that is, that ‘will’ isn’t quite what they expected or want.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Well, acorn, since you have gone off-topic with this comment, here is the letter I sent to the editor of the CityAM newspaper this morning, headed:

      “Aspirin for the Irish border headache”

      “Dear Sir

      It seems the EU has a paranoid concern that unless it keeps Northern Ireland under its control as a kind of buffer zone it will have to erect something like a Maginot line of defences along its side of the Irish land border to keep out undesirable products such as US-style “chlorinated chicken”.

      Why should that be? Is there any good reason for the EU to assume that once we have become a “third country” we will automatically become a hostile power, determined to use that weak point in the EU’s external frontier to flood the EU Single Market with non-compliant goods?

      At present the UK has domestic laws which implement EU Single Market laws, and it is that UK domestic legal arrangement which is effective in keeping non-compliant goods out of the 0.1% of UK GDP which is carried across the land border into the Irish Republic and the rest of the EU.

      So why should the EU not be satisfied if the UK now pledges to pass and strictly enforce new domestic laws expressly to prohibit the carriage across the land border of any goods, such as “chlorinated chicken”, which the EU deemed unacceptable?

      Yours etc.”

      I don’t know if you have any sensible answer to that last question.

      • acorn
        Posted January 25, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

        How are you defining “unacceptable”? Would it be the same
        for all the other WTO members?

        You still have not accepted a priori the UK is voluntarily leaving the EU, it is not being ejected from the EU. It’s their Club and their rules and you leave on their terms.

        This isn’t trading in your old car for a new one, where if you don’t like the deal you drive your old car back home. In this deal the dealer keeps your old car and you walk home.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 25, 2019 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

          The phrase “which the EU deemed unacceptable” seems clear enough to me, and it obviously does not mean that I am called upon to define what is unacceptable.

          Your last two paragraphs make as little sense as the first.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted January 25, 2019 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        @ Denis Cooper

        Your final para. You must be joking. Who would accept a pleaddge from a country in constitutional turmoil that seems prepared to let a treaty (the GFA) be wrecked because someone was a bit careless with a referendum?

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted January 25, 2019 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

          Yet despite all that “constitutional turmoil” the EU is still relying on UK domestic law to implement EU laws, including laws to ensure that only EU-compliant goods cross the border into the Republic.

    • Mark B
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      . . . the United Kingdom and the EU would form a single customs territory, at the specific, insistent request of the United Kingdom. We have aligned ourselves with this UK idea, which was not in our blueprint for the backstop . . .

      http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-19-642_en.htm

      Interesting.

    • Edward2
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      We have had a vote on remain versus leave already.

    • libertarian
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      acorn

      I think you missed it, the vote was back in 2016. Leave won, the politicians either implement it or they get removed

    • a-tracy
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      It isn’t really a ‘May-deal’ though is it acorn? May presented the ‘EU Deal offer’ (their only deal) so the alternative is no EU deal you’ll have to tough it out. We tried but the backstop is irredeemable unless the DUP can come up with a plan satisfactory to Barnier but a customs border and people border between the UK and Ireland would be needed anyway wouldn’t it and their people would then have to join the queue of people wanting to emigrate to the UK instead of just getting free entry if no agreement can be achieved with the EU side.

    • NickC
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      Acorn said: “A second, two stage referendum is going to be the only way our of this self inflicted crisis …”. No, it’s not self inflicted. It has been inflicted by Remain politicians attempting to square the Remain circle. We voted out, not to remain in or remain partly in. We could have been as independent as New Zealand by now if our Quisling government hadn’t betrayed us.

    • Steve
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

      acorn

      “Fist vote =”

      Obviously a typo, but yes, I like the idea.

      Actually it could well come to that if the remainers get their way, I’m looking forward to it.

  45. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Did we vote for your party to give the Unions a say in the future of the country?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted January 25, 2019 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Unlike some predecessors Theresa May did not offer them beer and sandwiches …

  46. Christine
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    You should be asking your boss Mrs May why she has signed us up to numerous defence agreements since the referendum. And, did you know that the treaties already in place allow the EU to conscript any EU citizen into this army? They want an army in the first instance to quell the insurrection, which will occur once the populations of the EU realise that they have lost the democratic control of their countries. Dangerous times lie ahead if we allow ourselves to become subservient to EU rules. I don’t trust Mrs May and this current Government. I trust Labour even less. Time to educate those MPs who behave like sheep. I’ve written to mine pointing out what lies ahead. I suggest you all write to yours.

    • NickC
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      Christine, A well informed comment; thank you.

  47. Christine
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    The EU has already purchased buildings around the world in preparation for them to become embassies once they take control of foreign policy. They currently call them EU Information Centres. They have already asked France to give them its permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Look how they attend the G7 and G20 meetings even though the EU isn’t a country. Things are moving at a pace to achieve the goals set out in the Five Presidents Report. We need to leave now and leave totally. Trying to change things from within will no longer work as the member state vetoes are being taken away. People need to understand how QMV works and the power it gives to Germany and France if they work together.

  48. Ian
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    High time everyone smelt the coffee.

    The sooner we get Brexiteers in charge the safer we are likely to be, only a few weeks now to get out properly on 29/3/19 with straight into WTO.
    Far from being a terrible thing it is totally safe, we already use it for Gods sake , a founder member no less.
    Companies have been useing WTO for decades right here in The Good Old U.K.

    We just need to be rid of all the rotten eggs ( Remoaners ) and just be allowed to do business

    It is business that does business, not politicians, they simply get in the way, they are the problem, as Ronny Reagan said.

    The only WAY Out is WTO, someone do something to make this happen ?

    An election that allows Leave means Leave to wipe the floor with the three main parties, get rid of all that dead wood, and have committed Brexiteers take the breaks off this economy !

  49. agricola
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Having read your submission I conclude that T May is a subversive fifth column working against the wishes of 17.4 million electors
    I am sure you read my highlight of what M Barnier said to his cohorts before setting out on the negotiation 2.5 years ago. He was out to punish us and May has willingly bent over his desk and allowed it to happen.
    I contend that in the circumstances we should leave on 29th March with no deal. Thereafter we need a complete change at the top table of government because the present incumbents are not of the right mind set to create circumstances for enterprise and real success. Something that would stick in the throats of the EU because they could not live with a Singapore adjacent their socialist LaLa land.

  50. Dominic
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    How can it be that a hopeless, empty vessel like Yvette Cooper is able to undermine the votes of 17.50m Leave votes?

    Why is this happening? Why?

    Leave won the referendum in good faith. It is unacceptable for Tory Brexiteers to support this PM and this Remain government.

    I do fear that if the appalling Cooper gets her way then she will damage British democracy beyond repair and keep the UK tied to the EU forever

    Brexiteers in the Commons cannot allow this to happen.

    • Doorstep Chomper
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

      Ms Cooper’s constituents do not approve of her behaviour ongoing. She does not know to what extent.

  51. Rien Huizer
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood,

    I am not quite sure what to make of this (except an Express-worthy heading): both countries are firmly part of NATO (a NATO with or without the US) and military cooperation, cross border region affairs and more rational approach to that great source of patronage, defence spending are all good, constructive subjects and have been under way for a long time.

    For instance, the Dutch Army has as one of its main tasks to supply staff and equipment to a joint Dutch-German brigade (englsish speaking), the Dutch and Belgian Navies are integrated and do joint purchasing, as do their Air Forces. Parents send children to school across the borders between Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands. Border people live where conditions are the most attractive (taxes, house prices, schools) Germans are a litte more precious about this, but they are adapting.

    Aachen is one of those cities that are almost at the border between three countries, where all of this happens. And all are fiercely proud of they chosen football clubs…

    • NickC
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

      Rien, We are happy to cooperate under circumstances that suit, but we prefer independence to the subservience you seem to enjoy. Although I don’t think your compatriots in your own sub-state or the others are all that happy with your EU-loving elite calling the shots.

      • Rien Huizer
        Posted January 25, 2019 at 9:34 am | Permalink

        @ NickC

        Those what you call “pro-EU loving elite (?) ” , if I am right in assumeing that you mean EU employees (including the most senior ones, but they are all employees of the state or an association a state is part of). I am pretty sure you are completely unfamiliar with what I describe. That military cooperation is within NATO, incidentally and maybe you are aware that the border conditions on the continent are pretty similar to those in my beloved Ireland.

  52. Ronald Olden
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    The ‘Scotch-Club’ in Aachen was the first discothèque in the world and opened on 19 October 1959. When the first disco place opened in the USA, there were already 17 discos in Aachen.

    Klaus Quirini as ”DJ Heinrich” was the first DJ ever.

    The first song ‘DJ Heinrich’ played was the chart hit ‘Ein Schiff wird kommen’ by Lale Andersen. His style was immediately popular, and as ‘DJ Heinrich’, he organised other DJs to found a workers’ union that made DJing an official (i.e. healthcare registered) profession.

    The club closed in 1992. But ‘Le Bistro’, another disco opposite it in ‘Dahmengraben 7’, is still there.

    There’s now a thriving ‘Black Metal’ (which is dreadful music) scene there. ‘Black Metal’ is even more unpleasant than; Oompah’ music. But whatever else you say about Germany it is (in its way), ‘musical’.

    Which is more than you can say for Frau Merkel. At least Mrs May ‘dances’.

  53. Andy
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know much about the aviation business – but then I don’t pretend to know much about it.

    However I do know that people like the boss of Heathrow, Ryanair, British Airways etc know what they are talking about.

    As does the boss of Airbus Tom Enders who said the following about a no deal Brexit: “Please don’t listen to the Brexiteers’ madness which asserts that, because we have huge plants here, we will not move and we will always be here. They are wrong.”

    Mr Redwood – what do you say to Mr Enders and then 14,000 people who work for him on the UK?

    Reply The UK is a great place to do business and once out of the EU we can make it even better for them.

    • Alan Joyce
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      Dear Mr. Redwood,

      Andy,

      Good Lord! Something you don’t know much about. A unicorn no less.

    • NickC
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      Andy, You appear happy to define your country as one that submits to corporate threats. Well I never!! Still, the EU is nasty and undemocratic so it is par for the course.

  54. ian
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Two leaders on the way out trying to muddy the waters as much as possible before they are kicked out by their own people for failing them.

  55. Nicholas Murphy
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Can we have a sweepstake on how long it will be before the EU Army will be deployed INSIDE EU borders on internal security?

  56. Kevin Lohse
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    I look forward with interest to the reaction of the German public when they realise that their young people will be protecting French interests in sub-Saharan Africa.

  57. Stred
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Fearballs of the day:-
    Airbus boss says they may have to transfer wing production to a country that would like to produce the wings instead if we leave on WTO terms.

    Airbus makes airliners using American parts such as engines in Toulouse and manufactures in the US and China, which trade under WTO rules.

    • NickC
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      Stred, Yes it’s a political threat from an EU-loving corporate to overturn our democracy. Given Airbus’s international supply chain and customers it’s completely irrational and nasty. So it’s supported by Remains, of course.

    • Stred
      Posted January 25, 2019 at 6:07 am | Permalink

      The deputy CEO of Airbus admitted that the government had asked them to explain how very bad it would be if we left on WTO terms. Re N. Farage Show recorded interview. May is torpedoing her own negotiations.

  58. Edward2
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Sky leading online with headline
    JLR taking an extra weeks holiday due to Brexit.
    No mention of China sales downturn.
    No mention of diesel engines suddenly being demonised.
    No mention of major cities bringing in big daily extra charges to travel inside their low emission zones.
    Disgracefully poor journalism.

  59. ChrisS
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    If Germany want’s a permanent seat on the Security Council they will have to rotate with the French seat. After all, as the Macron/Merkel love-in is tantamount to a merger this is the obvious answer.

    Nobody in the UN will want to open up this particular can of worms. After all, neither South America or Asia is represented nor is the Arab world. It’s hard to see how the subject can be opened without addressing these omissions as well.

    I suspect that the real objective of Merkel and Macron is to remove the British permanent seat and give it to Germany. Apart from the fact that we have a veto, I can’t see the USA agreeing to that, whoever is in the White House. After all, the US knows that the only country it can really depend on is the United Kingdom.

    As long as Corbyn is not in Downing Street, obviously.

  60. Anonymous
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Crime rocketing under the Tories.

    There were those of us who told you it would be so but you ignored us.

    There is nothing to commend this government except to keep Corbyn out and I don’t buy that either. If the establishment can overturn the referendum result it can control Corbyn – unfortunately it is utterly useless on crime.

    • NickC
      Posted January 24, 2019 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

      Anon, Making thoughts a crime, yet failing to catch real criminals is a way of controlling us serfs. We’ll soon be chipped like dogs.

  61. simple soul
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    EU bosses threaten to take our Airbus jobs abroad – to the EU, should we decide to leave. This is typical businessman’s nonsense. The EU has a majority of the shares in Airbus but the wings are made in Britain and without the wings they’ll find Airbus won’t fly very far and they can’t easily take them away as they are threatening to do. The wings are more essential than the shares.

  62. Prigger
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    The Home Secretary will know all about it all..going back, as the matters have been reported and investigated by the police. We await his condemnation of Left-wing extremism and the threat it poses to democracy and old people ‘s homes ( non-political ) attacked. Well we’ve had Mrs May and Ms Rudd. Nothing from them.

  63. Mary
    Posted January 24, 2019 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    The French and Germans will encourage bilingualism, how funny: they mean trilingualism don’t they? Are they seriously going to abandon English as their second language to learn a second minority language for a bit of barracks banter? No they will all be chattering away in broken English like an episode of ello ello ! 😉

  64. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted January 25, 2019 at 1:49 am | Permalink

    I am sure that Madame le Pen will oppose and exploit this for all its worth. On our part, we must not forget that this sort of co-operation is already authorised by the Lisbon Treaty.

    And the command language will be ………………… ?

  65. R. E. Pay
    Posted January 25, 2019 at 2:34 am | Permalink

    Could you please comment on the readiness for a WTO exit? This is never discussed in the media, possibly on the basis that we can’t contemplate “crashing out” and that we are years away from readiness – the impression we are given.

    If we had set out at the beginning to be ready for no deal we would not be in this external purgatory…and had a stronger hand.

    Thank you!

  66. Original Richard
    Posted January 25, 2019 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Mrs Merkel at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Berlin 21/11/2018 :

    “Sovereign nation states must not listen to the will of their citizens when it comes to questions of immigration, borders, or even sovereignty.”

    Mrs. Merkel at the re-signing of the Franco/German Treaty of Aachen 22/01/2019 for military co-operation :

    “As a bulwark against the rising forces of populism and nationalism that are threatening to tip Europe into an era of chaos.”

    • Rien Huizer
      Posted January 25, 2019 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      @ Original Richard,

      Some populists are/were funded by foreigners: Le Pen (Russia) Wilders (US pro Israel lobby), AfD (various sources (depending on neo nazi or not).

      SDalvini is not really a populist (meaning he is a constructive politician willing to govern), Five stars is a “movement’ possibly with some US money behind it.

      The main point about populists is that the avoid being in government, but simply try to undermine.

      • Original Richard
        Posted January 26, 2019 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

        Populism : Oxford Dictionary definition :

        “A political approach that strives to appeal to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by established elite groups.”

        Sums up the EU nicely.

    • R. E. Pay
      Posted January 27, 2019 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      The Merkel quotes are chilling…have they had any coverage in the Anglophone media?

  67. Mark
    Posted January 25, 2019 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Words from the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle I do not expect to see honoured:

    Réaffirmant l’engagement de l’Union européenne en faveur d’un marché mondial ouvert, équitable et fondé sur des règles, dont l’accès repose sur la réciprocité et la non-discrimination

    Reaffirming the engagement of the EU on favour of a global free and fair market, founded on rules that grant access based on reciprocity and non-discrimination.

    It is interesting to note that the previous treaties of Aix-la-Chapelle concerned the carve-up of bits of Europe: the 1668 Treaty ended the War of Spanish Devolution between France and Spain over the Spanish Netherlands (now mainly Northern France or parts of Belgium), while 80 years later the 1748 Treaty ended the War of the Austrian Succession, while not really solving the problems. This treaty looks similarly doomed.

  68. Zerren Yeoville
    Posted January 25, 2019 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    France pledges under the Aachen agreement “to seek a permanent seat for Germany on that body (the UN Security Council) as well.”

    By what right does Germany claim such a permanent representation ahead of several more obvious candidates for such status? I can think of two immediate objections.

    First, it is not a coincidence that the five current permanent members of the Security Council are also the five original nuclear-weapon-armed powers. Germany is not one of these and to grant it a permanent seat would be anomalous for that reason alone.

    Second, I would anticipate that much of the UN would take umbrage at the suggestion that a third Western European power be granted a permanent seat, ahead of larger and more populous countries in other parts of the world. India with its 1.3 billion people, Indonesia with its 264 million people, Brazil with its 210 million people or Nigeria with its 195 million people are all far more obvious candidates for a permanent seat than Germany with its 82 million people.

    In terms of the representation of populations, the permanent Security Council status of the UK and France already looks distinctly anomalous in today’s world and adding Germany on a permanent basis, instead of one or more of the countries just mentioned, would only reinforce this perception, particularly in the developing world

    • R. E. Pay
      Posted January 27, 2019 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Fine for Germany to have a seat on the Security Council…if it is not Britain’s seat…Alternatively France’s seat could simply be the EU seat for it to share with a German staff.

  • 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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