The Ministry of Defence has rejected sensationalist claims by a campaign group that British troops will be forced to join an ‘EU army’ even after Britain leaves the European Union.

The claims were corrected by the Ministry of Defence, which confirmed that the UK has always had the sovereign right to deploy military troops and equipment and will continue to do so after Brexit.

A Government spokesperson said:

“Claims that the UK could be forced into any form of EU Army are inaccurate.

The UK has always made our own sovereign decisions on defence spending on where and how to deploy our Armed Forces. This will remain the case as we leave the EU.”

The MoD say that any decision to involve British Armed Forces in co-operative missions with other countries would be taken by the UK based on an assessment of the UK’s best interests.

They also say that the UK is committed to Europe’s security and will continue to demonstrate that commitment through our leading role in NATO and other international organisations. The UK also has extensive bilateral arrangements for defence and security.

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Levi Goldsteinberg

Things that don’t need saying

Andy P

Agree Levi, I maybe get my news from the wrong providers but I wasn’t aware of this ‘story’.

andy reeves

europe? bugger that., this comes out every six months. amalgamation of aspects of own services could be something that will emerge in the future it goes without saying that a merger of the S.A.S and the S.B.S into one elite regiment that could happen likewise the R.A.F and FLEET AIR ARM. the army has had regimental mergers on a regular basis the chances of a single u.k defence service are something that won’t happen. although japan,canada and israel have managed it. it would be a massive undertaking to see if there is a big enough benefit to do so.there was… Read more »


The Canadians have seen their unified armed forces gradually move in the direction of the old order in recent years Andy. This includes the reviving of the names Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force


I worked with Canadian Army and Air Force staff in NATO. They all agreed that the coming together of their respective services was a horrible decision and that the divergence was for the better.
Simple things like the loss of pride/identity with the service uniform and Esprit de Corp where all things that where not quantifiable at the time of the decision but had a large negative effect.


Spot on GB.


Pride comes before a fall



Mark B

Too much merging just pisses people off. Yes the RAF will be able to operate off the carriers and there will be a lot of interoperable units but messing around with the structure is in itself not worth the candle.

Daniele Mandelli

Merge the SAS and SBS? Not necessary. Both have a joint selection and although there is overlap in roles I would not want to see it.

Merging the FAA and the RAF? Nope!


Selection is the same for both, Hereford and Poole work together all the time Daniele, as you say, and the SB are seen as a 5th working Sqn. All have role specifics, but cross pollination and training are common, as you finish selection, get told you are off to your Sqn, put in boat troop and then get told to bugger off to Poole for your boats course lol. As a working organization UKSF, to include SFSG and SRR, 18 sigs etc all work pretty seamlessly and any amalgamation isn’t needed or necessary. And the RAF would never agree to… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

Agree. DSF ( UKSF ), as i understand it, although part of Strategic Command ( JFC in old money ) comes under VCDS and D Ops at Mod. Already separate from the 3 services.

Adding the oft forgotten 18 SR, SFSG, SRR, and also JSFAW, I think we are in a good place as far as SF organisation is concerned.

Mergers are not necessary.


Been here before, won’t happen!

Mark B

I think any EU army would need to prove it was well funded, well equipped, well led and well respected before anyone touched it with a barge pole. I’m having difficulty seeing any EU nation handing over their defense budget to some project yet to be defined on the back of a fag packet. Even a Corbyn Government would be against it as they probably want to raid or eliminate defense spending. Any self respecting UK government would stay well clear and stick to the tried and tested NATO route.

Aethelstan the curious

I agree that a Labour Govt. ought not to cut defence, but to my knowledge most cuts in the last 50 years have happened under a tory government.

Mark B

Labour under Corbyn talks mainly about welfare of the troops and stopping private sector contracts. Clearly from what he has said he does not support military action with the possible exception of action defending home soil. The discussion is of a defense force. By extension that suggests capital funding for all areas could be reduced if not eliminated although funding might still exist for defense industry under public ownership and troops. Certainly no nuclear deterrent me thinks. I think it is this specific leader that could be described as anti military – I accept that previous Labour Governments have been… Read more »

Sid morely

Do we already not have a European army called NATO, with the way Brit-exit is going and Turkey about to throw its teddy out the cot, will be surprised if NATO survives, as too many European countries have been free loading, on the back of the UK and the USA for too long.

Sid morely

Andy look at the last 70 years the cost alone of the BAOR, yes I accept the UK footprint has reduced, but even now the French are using UK Chinooks in Mali, could a European nation, put together amphibious landing brigade? I don’t think so. Only the French with a credible carrier task force and the UK. Leaving the USA out of this.

Andy P

The thing is Sid, you can’t leave the US out of it. Aye, us and the French are relatively large players compared to most, certainly in capability. Not much point flagging up the French borrowing our Chinooks, we’ve had to ‘borrow’ assets off other countries to make up a shortfall in our own capabilities. A total lack of MPA’s being one example, when the entire S & T boat fleet being tied up alongside we even had to ‘borrow’ (or at least ensure suitable units were taking part) SSK’s to put on a decent JMC (Joint Warrior now). You can… Read more »


British-French Joint Rapid Reaction Force
British-Dutch Joint Amphibious Group

Doesn’t the EU Army already exist?


Exactly what I said, we have plenty of cooperation and Millitary operations in Europe, the Baltic Anglo Dutch amphibious Force and a French/British field army, ok maybe not a field army but a joint battlegroup or Brigade makes sense and makes France and The UK safer, we are the two most powerful nations in Europe..


How long would such arrangements survive IF an EU Army was created.

Any such EU Army would be mostly, ummm…. ‘administrative’, but there is no doubt based on the more extreme ideas and intent in some quarter that day by day, year by year, the EU will have its own army and become a country in it’s own right… albeit an undemocratic and quasi fascist one.

Bill Kenny

I am afraid this article reflects MoD double think rather than a true reflection of the situation. The term ‘European Army’ is politically toxic so they avoid using it at all costs. However Mrs May signed up a number of European Defence initiatives including ‘Pesco’. This has lead to the creation of a command structure and the pooling of a variety of military capabilities under their control. The new EU Commissioner for foreign affairs, amongst others, is claiming this force will act as the EU’s military arm. This is in all but name a European Army and politicians as well… Read more »


Unfortunately Bill whichever side of the Brexit argument you are on the double think is actually just plain dishonesty and has happened ever since we joined the ECC. The current difficulties have been brooding ever since we joined because the constitutional changes that have been waived through by our elected politicians have not been specifically agreed too by the electorate. Of course the excuse for this is because we were, and are still perceived by our political elite as too thick to be trusted. The sad fact is if there had been referendums on fundamental constitutional changes, I genuinely believe… Read more »

Andy P

“the double think is actually just plain dishonesty and has happened ever since we joined the ECC.”

A bit before my time but colour my sceptical that politicians started being ‘dishonest’ or whoever you want to label it just because we joined the ECC. Politicians are politicians, some will be more upright than others but the um, more ambitious or selfish ones will tend to…. och we all know the score. I’d set the baseline at the start of parliament rather than some arbitrary point after it.


Don’t worry about the European army, worry what will happen to NATO, with the current aggressive behaviour of Erdogen and the Turkish military in Northern Syria and Kurdistan. The Turks have been waiting for this opportunity for years, and now they are going for it. It’s only going to cause serious issues within the NATO members! I can see Turkey being booted out, and then becoming even closer to the Russians, (I can verify Russian influence, both Government and private in the region) and then that will have impact on NATOs southern flank and more! and how about damn russkies… Read more »


Airborne, there is plenty of cooperation at the moment as you say, Putin and Erdogan seem to be able to work together more or less, but from the business side I have seen there is no trust it will last and no faith in Erdogan. I have seen some articles about kicking Turkey out of NATO, from a western perspective that would be a very short sighted move


apologies… I may have thickthumbed the flag on your comment by accident and cannot seemingly remove it


It certainly seems that way. Turkey no longer shares a land border with Russia so no longer see’s them as a threat which is why they joined Nato in the first place. Erdogen does not see eye to eye with the US or Saudi’s on most things relating to the middle east so he will be happy to align himself more closely to Russian foreign policy providing he does not piss off the Americans too much. The balance power has certainly shifted in the middle east, in the near future we could be looking at Iran, Iraq, Syria, Qatar, Yemen… Read more »


Erdogan wants to be the loudest voice and the biggest player in the Sunni world. If he manages to make that work, and then build a good working relationship with Iran then it will become very inconvenient for the west

Mark B

Hi Ulya, Are you sure he is not just trying to survive. He makes and discards friends but nobody is quite sure how reliable he is or what his next move might be. A loose cannon?




Why do we need to, France and the UK have a joint expeditionary Force these days, well it will be operational next year or so. And don’t we have the Baltic amphibious Force with Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and the Royal Marines and their ships and the Commando helicopter force and all JHC helicopters. And Nato isn’t much different to wha an EU army would be! No big deal if every nations spending its fair share.


There would likely be one BIG difference between NATO snd the EU army and that is that the EU Commission will be involved. A BIG negative I reckon.

As for the MOD statement I’m not even sure that’s right(?). Recall TM’s infamous Withdrawal deal – wasn’t it mentioned here recently how one of the articles/clauses give the EU Commision substantial power over UK defence and would be enfoced via the ECJ. That alone is reason enough IMHO to reject the deal.

Mark B

Cam we don’t need to for military reasons it would be a political project to turn europe into one country. One military, one currency, one Government etc. etc.


Britain will alighn with the US on an increasing basis due mainly to shared interests across the globe. Trump will leave office either sooner than planned, or will see out his second term. Whatever the outcome, he too has recognised the significance of close ties with the UK. Whomever succeeds him the military alliance between our countries will prevail and become much closer. The two carrier task groups fielded by the UK will broaden interoperability beyond anything seen since WW2. I’m sure that any threat to the mainland of Europe will be backed up by British forces, but the main… Read more »

Mad Murdoch

April Fool’s, “heads I win, tails you lose ok?”. Some people think the taxpayer is that stupid. They may be correct.


I think worth adding ”..because the UK is leaving the EU”.

In the event we had voted to remain part of the EU, we would of course been fully involved in the integration of our forces with other EU countries like the Germans and the Dutch have done, with the end goal of full EU military status in the future.

Mark B

Wow Billy do you really think our forces could manage that? Perhaps we could get a certificate for the wall?


And what happens if we remain in the EU?

Mark B

The UK either veto the whole idea or opt out on the grounds of national security. If in fifty years it is thriving then we see. All EU Countries and citizens are soon going to need to take of view on how far the project will go and how much flexibility there is for differing points of view. Only then will we be able to see what happens thereafter.


There is no such thing as an EU army. There are specific joint units which exist between some countries to collaborate, but they answer to the countries involved in that initiative. There is no EU control over these specific units. The EU is nothing more than an economic agreement, it is there to negociate trade deals and it’s only weapon is the application of tariffs, like it did on bourbon, jeans a few months ago in retaliation to Trumps’s tariffs. The EU is not designed, mandated nor has the capacity to craft foreign policy. Ironically, it is often criticized as… Read more »


Clearly you didn’t hear Guy Verhofstadts “EU Empire” speech to the Lib Dem conference, nor have you read the Lisbon Treaty (aka EU Constitution).


Obviously the UK would never join, either because it leaves the EU (most likely) or, if politics took a sharp turn and we never leave, because when still within the EU the UK is able to either veto the whole idea or secure an opt-out. I am curious though as to how the EU and the EU countries that want this to happen think such an EU Army would work in practice. Would the commission originate proposals for deployment that are then approved? If yes then I assume since time would be of the essence that it would be approved… Read more »


If an EU country is attacked all other members states are now obliged to defend it. That’s why Ireland was so worried about the EU Constitution/ Lisbon Treaty as it affected their long held neutrality.
Centralised control of all the military within the EU by the Commission is the long term plan, and a lot of the treaties to achieve that have already been signed. You just won’t see anything so explicit as “EU Army” in case it upsets the public.


Campaign group Veterans for Britain and experts such as Major General Julian Thompson would disagree. The EU Army is the endpoint, and with the Lisbon Treaty, and the clauses copied from it into May’s Withdrawal Agreement put us on the path to it.

Richard Cooper

What does the EU want an army for? The answer would be that the main threat, in fact the only real threat, is Russia. We really do not want our army to get involved on the Russian Front. Better to use our naval and air forces to cover the flanks and rear of Europe (not the same as the EU).

Hob Boskins

This is just seagull crapping tactic by fanatics, drop one and fly off, Waterloo was not won by purely British troops any more than WW2. Europe has faced a common enemy since the end of WW2 and NATO is a multi national Army that has faced that. Of course they know this it isn’t a genuine critism of military formations used to apose a common enemy. It to paint a picture of Tommy Atkins saluting a French general and a Europen flag therefore presumably damaging our national identity to promote nationalistic politics.

Peter D Gardner

The UK Government appears not to have read the Boris Withdrawal Agreement which is also a legally binding defence treaty with the EU. If it has it certainly doesn’t understand it. Article 129.6 refers to military and other overseas actions and policies of and by the EU. It is legally binding and applies in perpetuity: “Following a decision of the Council falling under Chapter 2 of Title V TEU, the United Kingdom may make a formal declaration to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, indicating that, for vital and stated reasons of national policy,… Read more »


*Cough… Lancaster house treaty, look it up.


The reason they can say that, is because the politicians do not call it an EU Army, too toxic. It is the EU Defence Agency. If Johnson has not thrown out the commitments May put in the withdrawal bill we will be part of the “EU Army” when it is passed.


Bang goes another Remain scare story, which was preposterous in the first place, fuelled by the MSM, of course