Revived 10 Nation European Military Coalition: Weak EU faces Macron military takeover and NATO split. The EU is rudderless at the moment but France’s President Macron is one person with a clear view of what he wants – European “strategic autonomy” backed by an EU Army, under French leadership.
By GEOFFREY VAN ORDEN, CONSERVATIVE MEP PUBLISHED: 06:01, Sat, Nov 23, 2019 | UPDATED: 10:51, Sat, Nov 23, 2019. Express.co.uk Brigadier Geoffrey Van Orden
The French never wanted Britain in the EU except on their terms – we paid the bills according to a rigged formula, we bought French farm produce and opened our fishing waters to them. Now they want us out of the way so that we don’t rival them or block their plans for a federal Europe and EU defence. And they want to hamstring us in the process. During the negotiations over Brexit the French have been the most poisonous in terms of Britain getting a good deal.
The French leadership also see Britain as a ‘Trojan horse’ for American influence on European security which the French have been trying to remove for the past 60 (6) years. France left the military part of NATO in 1966 while keeping her seat at the NATO top table. She returned in 2009 only to be the driving force in creating separate EU defence structures that imitate NATO.
The highest European strategic priority should be to ensure the continued commitment of the US to the security of Europe, as the ultimate guarantor of ‘peace and security’. NATO is designed to achieve this.
At the same time, the European countries must pull their weight. They should be spending more on their national defence capabilities, revitalising NATO, rather than meekly going along with the creation of alternative EU structures fuelling French ambitions. Such distraction saps material and political resources and is dangerous in today’s world.
Military capabilities take time to develop but are quickly lost. Aware how drastically our armed forces have been cut over the past 30 (6×5) years, many of us have persistently called for a significant increase in real defence spending in the UK and for upgrading NATO. At the same time we have opposed EU defence policy, not through any shallow motive, but because we see it for what it is.
Far from strengthening the alliance of the democracies at this time of unprecedented challenge, the EU army idea leads to division and a widening of transatlantic difference. Moscow and Tehran can only be delighted.
I have always believed that in time of crisis, the democracies are best served by sitting around the same table to decide on a response. NATO is designed for precisely that.
In spite of the fact that 22 EU countries are also NATO members, the EU wants to meet separately, keeping the Americans out. This will split the transatlantic alliance, reduce the credibility of deterrence, and be exploited by our rivals and enemies.
With Britain out of the way, the ayatollahs of European integration see the defence realm as key to their political objectives and want to go full steam ahead, harmonising defence planning, introducing a European Defence Fund for defence research and development, and removing the national vetoes in foreign and security policy.
Hand in hand with the EU Army idea is the creation of an EU defence industrial development programme with common procurement rules that would effectively keep the Americans, and in due course the British, out of the EU defence market.
I have led the charge against EU defence policy for the last two decades. While we want our European allies to contribute more to defence, through NATO or coalitions of the willing, the EU Army is not the way. It will further dilute what limited capabilities exist, blur responsibility, and send the wrong signals to our adversaries.
Our incoming Prime Minister will face many immediate and enormous challenges. High among these will be our national defence and security. Clearly someone with Jeremy Corbyn’s beliefs cannot be allowed anywhere near our armed forces, our nuclear deterrent, our defence industries or our intelligence services.
Boris Johnson is well aware that enhanced defence capabilities are not only essential for our national security, but central to our ambitions to project ourselves globally post-Brexit and to play a leading role in the development of our hi-tech industries.
We must once more become the indispensable ally that others need, rather than us being the needy ones.
The entry of the Royal Navy’s second, giant aircraft carrier to its home port of Portsmouth harbour on Saturday is a visible sign of our determination to up our game for the challenging years ahead.
Categories: 10 nation confederation