With a recalcitrant US President, a resurgent Russia, and the threat of a no-deal Brexit, what is the future of UK-EU defence industrial cooperation in the post-Brexit environment and how might this impact the security of the Continent?

This article was submitted to the UK Defence Journal by Mike Archer, Director in the Public Affairs team at FTI Consulting and former UK Civil Servant @MikeRArcher.

At an annual gathering of French diplomats last week, Emmanuel Macron surmised that, “Europe can no longer entrust its security to the United States alone”. Most analysts agree that the cooling of American support for European defence, which begun far before the arrival of Donald Trump, means that countries like France, Germany and the UK should take greater responsibility for their own – and Europe’s – security. To date, there is little sign that this message is getting through, with spending envelopes barely maintaining inflation parity and new equipment programmes being scaled back or mothballed.

One only has to look at recent reports on the state of Germany’s military to feel a palpable sense of concern about the state of European defence. As the UK Defence Journal reported earlier this year, the Bundeswehr doesn’t have enough serviceable tanks to assume leadership of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force and the Luftwaffe has only thirty percent of its Typhoon aircraft available at any one time.

This might lead one to the conclusion that Europe’s serious military players – especially France and the UK; an alliance stretching back over 100 years – should pool together and enhance their defence cooperation programmes. In places this conclusion appears to be valid. Key programmes from the Lancaster House Treaty continue to be developed, such as the Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon. In addition, France was one of the first countries to condemn Russia for its use of chemicals weapons on UK soil in an attempt to murder Sergei Skripal, and earlier this year the UK committed Chinooks and troops to support French operations in Mali.

But, with Brexit hanging like the Sword of Damocles, there appears to be somewhat of a disjoint among political leaders. Only last year French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that, “Brexit will not damage in any way the extremely strong defence cooperation that we have with Britain”. Yet, it seems his President disagrees, with Mr Macron stating that forging a close relationship with the UK should not come, “at the expense of the European Union’s integrity”.

In equal measure, the EU has been stalwart in defending its position to exclude UK firms from future contracts on the Galileo satellite project and restrict UK access to the critical Public Regulated Service (PRS), forcing the UK to consider its own options for a GPS satellite network.

Indeed, this debacle has cast a long shadow over the whole negotiations on the future of UK-EU defence and security cooperation post-Brexit. This could put at risk a number of industrial cooperation programmes that have, over the years, provided the UK and EU members with platforms and equipment that they could not otherwise have produced individually, including – of course – Eurofighter Typhoon.

As the UK has made clear, it is in the best interests of both parties to maintain close cooperation on defence and security matters, both in terms of coordination between authorities on internal and external security, and maintaining close industrial links. The UK’s White Paper on the future relationship states that, “Collaboration on defence and security capabilities will ensure that armed forces remain capable and interoperable, that the best use of defence budgets is made and that support is given to the innovation and global competitiveness of the European defence industrial base”. For the EU’s part, they too have been clear that a strong bilateral relationship on security and defence is an aim of the negotiations. At the EU Institute for Security Studies conference in May this year, Michel Barnier stated that, “I firmly believe that a close partnership is in our mutual interest”.

Tellingly, however, when it comes to industrial collaboration, Mr Barnier was less enthusiastic, saying, “industrial cooperation…in the field of defence, is intertwined with EU rules underpinning the Single Market”. Whilst he seemingly kept the door open on UK participation in European Defence Agency Research and Technology projects, he slammed it firmly shut on Galileo.

This aspect, more than perhaps anything else in the negotiations so far, is haemorrhaging good faith between both sides – with the EU seemingly adamant that the UK, no matter how close a partner they may be, cannot be trusted with security data. Even ardent Europhiles in the UK have greeted this with outrage, with well-known Remain campaigner and Chair of the UK’s Parliament’s Brexit Select Committee – Hilary Benn – saying that the decision to exclude the UK was “frankly insulting”.

To add further insult to injury, in President Macron’s speech he argued that, “Multilateralism is, in effect, going through a major crisis”, whilst at the same time showing no signs of breaching EU solidarity on excluding the UK from these critical defence industrial programmes. Indeed, the European Parliament is seeking to go further and exclude all non-EU countries from the ability to participate in the EU Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP). The juxtaposition of these two positions is causing significant frustration in London, with potential consequences for existing bilateral and multilateral relationships across Europe.

The lack of progress in negotiations on defence, coupled with ongoing issues around the future trading relationship, poses a raft of issues for the complex supply chains that operate between European defence firms. Companies like Airbus, MBDA and Leonardo all manufacture products for defence customers across the UK and EU countries, disruption to which could reduce their competitiveness and give succour to international rivals in key export markets.

Is it possible to resolve this impasse? With pragmatism and flexibility on both sides, the answer is yes. Given that the EU shows degrees of flexibility to ‘third countries’ across a number of other areas – for example allowing countries like Argentina, Japan and Ukraine to bid for funding under Horizon2020 – there needs to be a realisation that blocking UK participation, with all the expertise and technological prowess it brings, can only damage European industrial capability. For the UK’s part, accepting that, as a third country, there will be limitations to this participation, particularly around the decision-making process, is equally important. Secondly, EU countries with strong links to UK defence, including Sweden, the Netherlands and Poland, need to speak out more. They need to resist the efforts of some, particularly in the Commission, to punish the UK for leaving the EU, and stand-up to certain Member States who perhaps see an advantage from UK exclusion for their own defence firms.

This is important because the UK’s defence R&D spend represents around 40% of the EU’s total, the UK is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, boasts the second strongest naval capability in NATO and is the home of some of the world’s leading defence firms. The recent Farnborough International Airshow provided a chance to demonstrate this, as a consortium led by BAE Systems unveiled a plan for the next generation of fighter aircraft. Team Tempest, combining the capabilities of BAE, Rolls Royce, Leonardo, and MBDA, was greeted warmly by gathered dignitaries, especially in comparison to the lukewarm response to a similar announcement at the Paris Airshow by Airbus Defence and Space (Germany) and Dassualt Aviation (France). The Tempest, perhaps, represents an opportunity to reset the dial on UK-EU defence industrial cooperation – but only if all sides demonstrate some humility and accept that they are far stronger together.

As the Brexit negotiations enter a critical phase, political leaders on both sides need to face up to the reality of the damage that would be caused to Europe’s defence industrial base if a sensible agreement cannot be reached. With President Macron’s warning still being digested in Westminster, renewed effort is required to avoid a situation where dogma trumps pragmatism, and where the lives of ordinary citizens and the capabilities of Europe’s armed forces are irreparably damaged.

85 COMMENTS

  1. Do the French have memory problems, Concorde and Sepecat Jaguar programs were around before UK joined, cooperation was not an issue then. Also a number of EU countries participate in the F35 as partners (Tier 2) which is a US program. So why is the EU a barrier now for current and future cooperative programs with the UK, the only logical conclusion is that the EU wants to punish the UK.

    • It’s only a barrier because our Establishment as a sub-set of the EU Establishment want to make it an issue.

      Remember France ran away from the military half of NATO in the 60s when there was a ‘threat’ from the east, or more realistically a threat of ‘war’, whilst blocking our entry into the EEC telling everybody we didn’t belong. They were right! But it was more about Gallic bloody mindedness as they saw us a rival. The West German economic miracle may have been underway but back then a ‘Europe’ lead by France was a instinct probability.

    • Agree all of a sudden the UK is viewed as being unreliable or a security risk. Or even funnier a risk to EU integrity. Really??
      Or more accurately the EU does not want cordial relationships and is simply trying to exclude us. They are afraid of the UK outside of the EU as we are then not under their control and can do what we want to as a sovereign free nation.

      • Bullseye Mr Bell.I cannot think of as single main player E.U. ‘collaboration’ that went smoothly or did not cost more and take longer to come to fruition.

        Considering the Germans have stuffed their own pockets with Euro gelt and the French notion of collaboration makes America look self effacing, this article is stretching patience beyond politeness.

        Certainly we shouldn’t cut off from the rest of the world but, scratching my old head, I can’t remember when we ever did. What I liked about the Tempest initiative was it was bold, confident, soundly based on what we can do now, open and honest to our friends. I think it earned us some respect at long last.

  2. The UK has always conceded more to France than she has received(Remember Concorde with an”e”) and maintained a stubborn independence in Defence matters either not
    participating(Tornado,Typhoon) or needing to dominate the partnership. The Germans have built their recent economic successes partly on allowing their Defence Forces to collapse. They and other EU forces need to up their game. Whist no fan of Trump, some of the things he does/says make perfect sense. the US has carried the can for too long in covering the failings of other nations in the defence arena.
    btw on another subject-when will the QE be arriving in the USA and whilst one understands the need for some secrecy it would appear there has been a total blackout on any news or pics on her progress

    • I agree with the last point (if not all the others), as a resident of NJ, I am looking forward to seeing QE moored on the west side at some point in September.

  3. I’m not long back from Krabi Thailand 🇹🇭 and met an Italian who worked in economics and we had a few beers and chatted over Brexit and I explained to him why I voted to leave, he went off his nut, his hands were everywhere then his rant ended with, no the EU is a big a big family and in the future we’ll have one taxation system. In my unprofessional I was confident that Brexit would be a success but having discussed this with many Europeans I can see why our negotiators are having a difficult time of it as everybody and his dog seems to be thousands of miles apart in our views of todays society and where we aught to be heading.

    I’m not European, I do not think like one. I’M Scottish and have more in common with people from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester and beyond.

    London imo has surrendered itself to multiculturalism and is no longer British.

    One of my fav European cities Berlin is in tatters and perhaps in time people from Europe will rise up in bigger numbers to fight against this becoming of one BS. This becoming of one BS has resulted in EU countries spending less on defence resulting in increased US influence.

    • London and the SE is barely identifiable as British in any meaningful way.

      Whether its multiculturalism or hard liberal beliefs espoused from the BBC the values and aspirations of that region have drifted far from the rest of us. I now live in Edinburgh and I see a similar drift in Scottish Politics.

      Britain has typically followed the English legal belief of custom and precedent, even if implemented differently in Scotland. We believe in light touch law, implemented rigorously. We believe in innocent until proven guilty. We believe in one person one vote. We believe in equality in the eyes of the law. We believe in law by common ascent. As such, we believe in live and let live. We are not liberals as a people but we affirm people’s freedoms and liberty: i.e. we tolerate in peace but are free to disagree.

      London has become ever so EUropean. Law has become very much more Napoleonic and consequently our individual relationships with the state have changed. Thus live and let live is no longer sufficient. Toleration is offensive and other peoples’ liberties and opinions have become law. Light touch is gone and the full weight of the state stands behind everything. Equality in the eyes of the law is gone, replaced by equality in the eyes of each individual. As such, we are no longer all equal, how can we if there’s a million different opinions on a thing. Law is no longer implemented equally and we must all watch our words lest our disagreement is no longer acceptable. The state has the power to decide right and wrong and change society accordingly, whereas historically the state was a social enterprise of the people – a cooperative for political administration – it is now headed by a CEO with absolute power.

      This is my hope for Brexit. That this tide has now reached its high point and that without the gravitational pull of the EU, influence and pull will return to the people: we will see.

      • SE not British……. how very dare you, I assure you places like Worthing, Chichester, Bognor ect are very British, I will have an apology if you please.

    • Good lad. London’s always been its own not-so-little world, for over a century it was effectively the capital of the world, and it’s still one of the 3 most important cities globally.

      My personal view is the EU is fundamentally flawed. The Industrial Revolution and subsequent growth happened because people could innovate and trade to get the best results. Compare that to today’s world of strict regulation, dominated by a few large companies that can never be challenged because the strict rules don’t allow them the freedom to try. We need to get away cleanly, look at scrapping so much of the pointless red tape that’s choking our industry while countries like South Korea flourish.

      Out of curiosity, what’s your view on Scottish independence?

      • Don’t want it, voted against it.

        I think nicola sturgeon is a solid politician, too bad she couldnt channel all that hatred and divide within her and put it towards making the UK stronger.

        Will never vote for SNP

        • Today in the Independent, the article said that a recent opinion poll has indicated that should the madness of brexit continue, the majority would be in favour of Scottish independence. I’m in favour of Scotland’s independence for the same reason that England voted to leave one union, Scotland should vote to leave another.

          • That thought crossed my mind too, one of the reasons I voted remain. If the British don’t want Scotland to leave the union, then they can hardly vote to leave the EU too (well they can but it’s hipercritical.)

  4. There has been a massive underestimation in this country of the determination of the EU27 to keep the club alive. They are willing to tarnish relations with us for decades in order to keep the block together and yes that may mean us not participating so much in defence programmes with our European friends in the short to medium term.

    People on the continent, by and large, feel very different to the majority of Brits about the EU and the idea of European integration. They set the rules of their club so we will have to abide (given our relative size) but it doesn’t mean we can’t thrive. But let’s top whinging about what they will not allow us to be involved in, we decided to leave and they have no desire or obligation to make it easy for us.

    • I agree that people on the continent see the EU differently to us in the UK. However that does not necessarily mean they like the way it is headed. We have a place in Portugal and the people we speak to there don’t see the EU in the same way as we do but they also have their own reservations built on their own experiences and their own fears, culture and economy. They also do not think they are listened to as citizens and feel that the EU sometimes works against them at for the benefit of Germany and France. In fact they are sad the UK is leaving as it was the only large country that was standing up to Germany and France. They see us to a degree as a moderating force in the EU. They also feel trapped in the EU to a point as they are not powerful enough to leave.

      I voted to remain but to be honest I would like to stay in an EU that is different from the current one we have.

      • I was talking to a Spanish guy last week who basically said the same thing, he was quite against the EU now as Spain is totally tied to something which doesn’t benefit Spain at all. Hes tired of being ruled over by France/Germany and having to deal with a currency that only benefits one country, Germany.

    • What majority of Brits? The ones who were allowed and did vote circa 17m or the population? 60 – 70m, some of whom were disbarred from voting and some who are not old enough to vote? Total shambles voted for by geriatrics on death’s row.

      • What the hell are you talking about?
        Not being old enough is not being disbarred. That is what is called not being old enough to take on full legal responsibility. I would bet you damn well wouldn’t argue for the life imprisonment of 16yr olds now would you.
        As for a majority? A majority of the people who voted and participated in the election. Under the rules setup by a democratically elected Parliament. As every election is governed. If they didn’t want that result they should have campaigned better or not sat on the couch eating, playing video games, and watching God knows what on the computer.
        As for voters being “geriatrics on death’s row”? For one respect your elders. The people who while you were a child kept your miserable hide fed, clothed, and considering your socialized medicine paid for your medicine. Clearly you were never disciplined or taught respect growing as a youth.
        Either you believe in the vote or you believe in anarchy or authoritarianism. In either case children do NOT have the franchise.
        If you think that’s unfair? Life is unfair, then you die and some else where’s your clothes.

        • (Chris H) Elliott – You and I cross metaphorical swords over a few things but on this (and other matters) we do actually agree and I am pleased we do. What you are witnessing here is the self righteous superiority of those we call ‘Remainers’ or more accurately ‘Remoaners’ because they never stop moaning about not being allowed to remain in the EU.

          They peddle this false idea that we have 17.4 Mn old age pensioners and no one else voted to Leave when we have some 10 Mn and at best only some 60% voted. Of course no one really knows how anyone voted but these folks don’t understand reality. We Brexiteers are roundly abused and denigrated simply for exercising our democratic right. Just as Trump voters were / are. Now I dislike Trump but he won the vote under your declared rules just as we did.

          There is now a campaign to hold what they call a ‘2nd Referendum’ which forgets we had our 2nd one in June 2016 (where I voted to leave the EU) while the first one was in 1975 (when I voted to remain in the EEC). So I had to wait 40+ years for another vote and 20 years after the Eu was created. We were never asked about that by ‘the Establishment’.

          I am surprised Riga never played the % game where they try and make out there was no majority because 17.4 Mn is about 26% of the UK population …!!

          Anyway thank you for defending democracy and us ‘oldies’….

  5. Erratum: Jean-Yves Le Drian’s role in the current Macron government is as Foreign Minister. He was Defence Minister for the previous governement under François Hollande. Florence Parly is the current MinDef.

  6. I think the EU is overplaying its hand in terms of defense co-operation as this has done more to damage UK industrial capacity over the last 30 years than benefit it. Germany has shown no signs of increasing defense spending in the near term and with an arms race heating up in the far east a tie up with Japan and Australia to develop aircraft and missiles would result in far more guaranteed orders rather than the promise of 100 and an order of 10 that we get so much from the EU after the work share has already been split based on false promises.

    • I think it is a dangerous game by the EU. If they do cut us off then it will just mean we try harder and also pushes us even closer to the US. The very US defence industry that the EU is trying to compete against! In the end it could well be the EUs defence industry that suffers the most.

      It could be that by trying so hard to protect the EU project, they actually set in motion all the elements that might destroy it.

      • (Chris H) Lee1 – You are so right in those comments. The EU’s sole ‘raison d’etre’ is to look after French agriculture and German exports and so it has built a huge protectionist ring round itself exemplified by the costly ‘EU External Tariff’ we pay on all non – EU imports and then pass on to the EU coffers. Its an indirect EU tax on the UK population.

        It is so protective it forces wealthy countries like the UK to pay £13 Bn a year to be in its EU Internal Market, aka The Single Market, so it can buy the voting majority of countries off with subsidies and ‘investment’. Like nice shiny new trams in Poland. Protectionism never ever worked in a developed economy as it protects inefficient industries (like French farmers and fishermen), denies those involved cheaper and higher quality products from elsewhere and needs a political union to protect the protectionism. And of course the EU forbids any member state to negotiate its own trade deals in case they get a better deal.

        The Euro was created by the Germans with rules written by the Germans for the benefit of German exports. It was a back door devaluation of the Dmark by sleight of hand to make German expoorts more competitive. Where is the ECB? Oh its in Frankfurt! And who pays for this German straitjacket? Southern Europe whose economies have been slaughtered by rules and interest rates that they have no control over unlike us who kept the hell out of the Euro. Contrary to the advice of the same people who now say we should remain in the EU.

        The EU has been declining as a world trade power for years and in the process has penalised growing economies like Africa in its downward protectionist spiral. Our leaving and the loss of our £130 Bn in the next 10 years will see the means by which the EU maintains power (money) greatly reduced with more of the 22 countries who are subsidised by the EU getting less and see no reason to belong.

  7. Its also really important to remember that this is a negotiation, by there very nature they are not friendly affairs, and lots of negative comments are made pre deal. The EU is the master at fudging together last minute deals that break their own red lines. The reality of no-deal would be a significant blow to both the UK and the EU, in all matters not just defence. Its easy to get offended by people from abroad making negative comments about the UK, and offense can take a long time to abate.

    What’s most important is to try and keep in mind that these are governmental discussions designed to achieve an advantageous outcome for each side. Why is it so hard to achieve, because its never been done before and NO ONE really understands what will happen after the event. No-deal is a nightmare for all concerned, the wrong deal is just as bad.

    Its best to simply kick back and see what happens. Everything you read on the subject currently is simply hyperbole, propaganda and opinion. The simple reality is this. In the medium to long term no deal will work for both sides just as a comprehensive deal will work for both sides. I don’t care about working with the EU on defence, the USA is and will always be the partner of choice, and if we really have to go it alone, well it wouldn’t be the first time now would it ?

    • Some good points David. I am a fence sitter as i have not seen a convincing or comprehensive and properly researched article from either side as to which way is better for the UK. From this I am derisive of the oft repeated mantra from May and others that we are carrying out the”Will of the British people!” Such an animal does not nor ever did exist. What we have is a tiny majority for Brexit at a point in time 2 years ago based on the most superficial information-a huge decision and undertaking where even today nobody knows what the outcome will be with any certainty!
      ps any news on the QE-has it completely disappeared somewhere in the Atlantic? When is she due to dock in the USA?

  8. Cut them loose. Simple as that. They want our armed forces to defend them while they get on with trying to wreck our economy. Everyone talks about our net contributions. Currently £12.5bn p/a according to that arch euro-sceptic Mr J.C. Juncker. But how much are we spending on defending them ? They can defend against Putin with one hand tied behind their back if they choose too. If not they should find an EU Lukashenko (which wouldn’t be hard) either way is their business. Franckly my dear I don’t give a damn !

  9. As Sergei would say ” It’s so simples.” WE decide what we can do and want to do and let the rest of them get on with it. Over the decades we have spent so much wasted time trying to be part of Europe it has cost us dearly and at times we have forgotten what it is we are ultimately trying to achieve, namely the defence of the United Kingdom.

  10. Who needs the EU, just purchased a UK made Dishwasher from White Knight. First white goods I’ve bought from UK manufacturer in long time, mainly because there wasn’t any. That’s money back to the UK government in Tax and profits staying in the UK. Probably only contributes a few extra pence to the defence budget 🙁

  11. We should always remember who did what in these Brexit ‘negotiations’:
    It was the EU, not us, that laid out the sequential programme of talks that demanded money first that has cost us some £39 Bn and then fabricated a huge issue in Ireland so the EU could inflame dangerous passions and interfere in the domestic arrangements of the UK. 18 months in and we are only now getting to the trade talks. All contrary to Article 50.

    It was the EU, not us, that declared the UK ‘persona non grata’ and banned us from Galileo and now owe us over £1 Bn and have lost all the British Territories to control the satellites. But we are now doing our own space programme as a result

    It was the EU, not us, who encouraged Airbus and Dassault to create an EU fighter to ensure the UK was shut out. In their desire to teach the Uk a lesson they forgot that BAE and Italian companies were the major shareholders in ‘Eurofighter’ and have won all the Typhoon export sales. But we are now doing our own Tempest fighter programme as a result.

    It was the EU, not us, and their perpetual ‘Non’ and ‘clarification’ stance that delayed the UK being able to present a trade plan and when it was created (Chequers White Paper) they have rubbished it. It doesn’t help when Barnier (the man who likes ‘Non’) says last week the EU will offer the UK ‘a Trade Deal like no other’ and then this week to a different audience, the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, writing he is “strongly opposed” to the prime minister’s Chequers proposal on future trade with the EU after Brexit, warning the “illegal” offer would “end” the European project.” Personally I think he is a fruitcake but if all this kills the EU then I for one will raise a glass to it.

    And all the while the EU’s useful idiots here in the UK form a disgraceful 5th Column to undermine a Prime Minister and Government democratically elected on a Brexit manifesto (as was Labour) to deliver the democratically expressed decision of the UK electorate in 2016. Step forward Lords Adonis and Heseltine, PMs Blair and Major and all the other EU pensioned apparatchiks.

    And talking of ‘useful idiots’ Boris will be Labour’s very own by challenging May and we will see Corbyn elected as our next PM. God Help Us All.

    • Please withdraw the comments “5th column” and “useful idiots” – it is pathetic and insulting to the many patriots who voted remain. It will only sew division between us – this kind of language serves only one aim and that is to further Putin’s agenda. 52/48 – we need a compromise that will somehow unite the majority – not one side rubbing the others noses in it.

      • (Chris H) TC – Did I say every remain voter was a ‘5th Columnist’? No I didn’t I was referring to those of a similar intention to those I mentioned who are clearly acting on behalf of the EU by trying to make life as difficult as they can for the duly elected Government in its manifesto pledge to take us out of the EU regardless if that actually damages the UK. In a battle those who would work against you from your own side are ‘5th Columnists’. Like MPs and people who are deliberately acting to damage our negotiating position by using their influence gained by being in power or appointed. Most of them are on the payroll of EU pension (aren’t you Mr & Mrs Kinnock)? And I used the term ‘useful idiot’ as much about Boris Johnson (Leave) as I did against the likes of Lord Adonis (Remain). I was totally fair.

        So you find it acceptable people like me are called a whole pile of abusive names every day but thats OK? Is it acceptable for people to try and undermine the democratically declared wish of the British electorate by throwing in false issues and peddling months of ‘Project Fear I and II’? 80% of the UK electorate voted for political parties who support Brexit in the last General Election but still we have a campaign for a ‘2nd referendum’? Should we make it the ‘Best of 3’ or maybe pull short straws? if that isn’t acting for the EU I really don’t know what is.

  12. The UK needs to respect the EU position, it can’t be in and out at the same time. The Uk needs to prepare for a future trading relationship based on a free trade agreement, it also needs to pull out of European mainland defence. The UK has to shoulder almost the entire naval burden for NATO against Russia, let the French and Germans handle the land boarder, if other European allies like Poland felt the UK’s contribution was needed and that the French and Germans could not be relied upon they would be vocal supporters of the UK instead of trying to stick the knife in for their own pound of flesh.

    • The UK does not have to respect the EUs position. Respect has to be earned and is usually reciprocated .
      It is the EU that has consistently determined the pace and tone of the negotiations.
      The UK does not need to shoulder the naval burden on its own to face Russia down. Don’t get me wrong I definetly think the UK should revert back to strong defence posture with enlarged and upgunned Royal Navy. The Russian’s would have to take on the whole of NATO which they cannot do.
      The EU in terms of French and Germans do not necessarily offer adequate armed forces to reassure and defend eastern NATO allies. Poland has a stronger army than Germany currently. Germany has so few serviceable and combat ready armoured vehicles to lead a NATO battleground they had committed to doing 2 years ago.

  13. AsI have always said, it’s time for the current British military forces to stop flouncing around the world in a vain attempt to impress with big undefendable ships and nuclear weapons which could never be used, sending aircraft here and there and generally pretending the country is still a world power and to concentrate on the coastlines and offshore of the British Isles. Evidence the fiasco last week with the French fishermen and a retired admiral publicly stating that the navy does not have sufficient vessels to protect British home waters. Defence begins at home.

    • Google how many UK citizens there are in the Middle East alone, we’d need sizeable force to hold ground to allow an effective evacuation, your suggesting we abandon UK overseas workers who bring money into the UK through their endeavours. Very narrow minded and certainly not fitting with the global economy we have to work in today. Far better to place a deterrence in the Gulf to prevent such a scenario unfolding.

          • (Chris H) The TH Troll punted his trigger phrases and got the reaction he wanted so he could peddle his childish abuse.

            Same s*it different day …

            And he clearly doesn’t know his subject as the incident in the Bay of Seine over Scallops was in French territorial waters and therefore the Royal Navy had no rights of access. It was the duty of the French Navy to protect EU registered boats. Yeah right!

            The real joke of it all being UK boats were there quite legally under EU Law. Come next March we will not have access to those Scallops but the French fishermen will not be allowed anywhere near UK waters … UK boats will fish UK waters

          • Steady the Buffs! TH is a troll. I say this because he incites without proposing much more than Michael Foot’s defence plans – a white flag and hope to make ourselves useful to whomever (there is such a word, trust me) takes over our stale pale dull little Atlantic island home.

            There would of course, be nothing like this present age were it not for eighteen fateful months mid last century when one stubborn people who lacked TH’s wonderful realism refused to face facts. We do go on about it, but then we can can’t we?

        • And to you my Corbynist, Kremlin typing Putin loving idiot TH. Why do you not go somewhere they appreciate your idiotic posts. Somewhere like the communist observer.

    • “Evidence the fiasco last week with the French fishermen and a retired admiral publicly stating that the navy does not have sufficient vessels to protect British home waters. Defence begins at home.”

      It was in French waters.

    • Oh what a surprise, I would never expect to see you in this comment section. I have nothing against you, I’m just going to address your points in the order they come up:
      -British ships are not “flouncing around the world in vain attempts to impress”. They are partaking in critical training with allied navies that will allow them to operate with them smoother and better in the future and in the case of a war. ‘Nough said
      -Big ships are good. In Terms of Amphibious Assault ships, the bigger the ship, the more it can carry. And in terms of Surface Combatants, the bigger the ship, the more provisioned weapons can be fitted and the comfier the living spaces are for the crew.
      -The ships are not ‘undefendable’ (which might I add isn’t recognised as a word). Ships like the Type 45 are fitted with PAAMS/Aster – arguably one of if not the best air/missile defence system in the world; so much so the Americans asked the RN to turn it off during training, and Frigates like the T26 and T31 are fitted with CAMM and CIWS such as Phalanx and soon Dragonfire, perfectly capable of defending against attacks. RFA vessels and Assault ships virtually all have CIWS, with some like the Fort Victoria class having provision for a 32-Cell Sea Wolf VLS SAM system. Even the carriers can be fitted with Containerised CAMM along with their CIWS in dangerous waters, according to this ukdj article:https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/queen-elizabeth-class-aircraft-carrier-guide/
      -The nuclear weapons COULD be used, albeit extremely unlikely to happen, granted. They ARE functional, which MEANS they COULD be used. Simple logic. If we scrap them we’ll be seen as peace hippies by the Americans and lose our status as their most critical ally in NATO, with that role passing over to France who would still have nuclear weapons. Which explains why they’ll never be scrapped by any Tory or even Labour government, according to their manifesto.
      -‘Sending aircraft here and there’ do you mean the Typhoons in Romania which are currently deterring Russian aggression and honouring the UK’s commitment to NATO? Or could you be talking about the Typhoons and Tornados that are currently stationed at RAF Akrotiri, providing overwatch for Syrian airspace and bombing terrorist scumbags, showing that the UK is still a global force capable of projecting its power and willing to fight for good? I strongly doubt you’re in the RAF, nor a pilot stationed abroad, so are you really sure they’re just being sent ‘here and there’ for the sake of it? I think not.
      -Oh boy, here’s the biggie, ‘pretending we’re a world power’ UGHHHH. Do you have any idea how many times I hear the press, the media, the internet, Quora commenters, YouTube commenters, online newspaper commenters and ukdj commenters utter this phrase. IT’S MADDENING. Simply because IT’S NOT TRUE. Let’s breakdown the UK’s power into three areas, money power, hard power, and soft power:
      Money Power – the UK is the 5th Largest economy in the world and has the 4th Largest Net National Wealth (basically all of its financial and non-fianacial assets combined – in terms of total wealth it is richer than Germany)
      Source 1:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)
      Source 2:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_wealth
      Hard Power – A simple google search will prove that the UK still has the 5th Strongest military on the planet thanks to it’s superior training and equipment
      Furthermore, the UK operates the 2nd largest amount of Military Bases Abroad, 2nd only to the US’s huge web of bases. This means it can project its power all over the globe better than almost all other nations.
      Source 1: https://www.reckontalk.com/most-powerful-country-army-military-world-2017/
      (the first result when you google strongest militaries)
      Source 2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overseas_military_bases_of_the_United_Kingdom
      America also often talks about the UK being its strongest ally in NATO, I can provide a source if you desire.
      Soft Power: Easily the UK’s strongest suit. The Soft Power 30 2018 rankings show that the UK has risen to 1st, becoming the worlds most powerful Soft Power, despite Brexit. The Soft Power 30 ranks 30 nations on their soft power takes into account many different factors including diplomacy, the arts and quality of life. The UK ranks 1st thanks to its “Education, culture, and international engagement” – oh boy, that last one is bound to hurt your ‘flouncing around the world comment’
      Source 1:https://www.britishcouncil.org/organisation/policy-insight-research/top-soft-power-2018

      So in summary:
      Money: 4th/5th
      Hard: 2nd/5th
      Soft: 1st
      What more could you possibly want to be able to call us a world power? Top 3 only? That’s more superpower club status, which we are in in terms of Soft Power/Power Projection.

      OK, moving on:

      -the RN has plenty of Patrol vessels that could be used in a coastal defence role. The Hunt and Sandown classes have it as a secondary role, and we could even have up to 7 OPVs if the 3 River class B1s remain in service and all River class B2s are procured. Let’s not forget the many RN vessels currently used for training in universities that could easily be fitted with ramming equipment/mini-guns needed to fend off fishermen. Furthermore, there’s a total of 5 Border force cutters and 4 Border Force Coastal Patrol Vessels that could also be used to fend off fishermen. And anyway, fighting French fishermen could escalate the situation, which would make the ‘Scallop War’ a hell of a lot messier than the ‘Cod Wars’ against Iceland, a country which had a minuscule navy at the time.
      -The only reason these retired admirals are saying we cannot defend are own waters is because they are lobbying for increased defence spending (which might happen considering the fact that Williamson keeps nagging Hammond and because there is the biggest budget surplus since 2000 https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-economy-budget/uk-shows-biggest-july-budget-surplus-since-2000-easing-spending-headache-for-hammond-idUKKCN1L60Q5)

      -Sometimes I speculate about the media paying these retired admirals to say stuff like this so they can write up new stories.

      -Yes Defence does begin at home, there’s always going to be plenty of vessels/ aircraft/manpower within the UK to defend it. Done.

      And don’t give me that Debt argument, by that logic then the US, the most indebted country, with $21.48 trillion in debt, should just keep a small fleet of littoral combat ships.

      Looking foward to seeing your response to all this, and please do respond, I love a friendly debate!

      Regards, Ben

    • TH, (I’m putting the sources in separate comments since I had too many apparently)
      Oh what a surprise, I would never expect to see you in this comment section. I have nothing against you, I’m just going to address your points in the order they come up:
      -British ships are not “flouncing around the world in vain attempts to impress”. They are partaking in critical training with allied navies that will allow them to operate with them smoother and better in the future and in the case of a war. ‘Nough said
      -Big ships are good. In Terms of Amphibious Assault ships, the bigger the ship, the more it can carry. And in terms of Surface Combatants, the bigger the ship, the more provisioned weapons can be fitted and the comfier the living spaces are for the crew.
      -The ships are not ‘undefendable’ (which might I add isn’t recognised as a word). Ships like the Type 45 are fitted with PAAMS/Aster – arguably one of if not the best air/missile defence system in the world; so much so the Americans asked the RN to turn it off during training, and Frigates like the T26 and T31 are fitted with CAMM and CIWS such as Phalanx and soon Dragonfire, perfectly capable of defending against attacks. RFA vessels and Assault ships virtually all have CIWS, with some like the Fort Victoria class having provision for a 32-Cell Sea Wolf VLS SAM system. Even the carriers can be fitted with Containerised CAMM along with their CIWS in dangerous waters, according to this ukdj (SEE SOURCE A)
      -The nuclear weapons COULD be used, albeit extremely unlikely to happen, granted. They ARE functional, which MEANS they COULD be used. Simple logic. If we scrap them we’ll be seen as peace hippies by the Americans and lose our status as their most critical ally in NATO, with that role passing over to France who would still have nuclear weapons. Which explains why they’ll never be scrapped by any Tory or even Labour government, according to their manifesto.
      -‘Sending aircraft here and there’ do you mean the Typhoons in Romania which are currently deterring Russian aggression and honouring the UK’s commitment to NATO? Or could you be talking about the Typhoons and Tornados that are currently stationed at RAF Akrotiri, providing overwatch for Syrian airspace and bombing terrorist scumbags, showing that the UK is still a global force capable of projecting its power and willing to fight for good? I strongly doubt you’re in the RAF, nor a pilot stationed abroad, so are you really sure they’re just being sent ‘here and there’ for the sake of it? I think not.
      -Oh boy, here’s the biggie, ‘pretending we’re a world power’ UGHHHH. Do you have any idea how many times I hear the press, the media, the internet, Quora commenters, YouTube commenters, online newspaper commenters and ukdj commenters utter this phrase. IT’S MADDENING. Simply because IT’S NOT TRUE. Let’s breakdown the UK’s power into three areas, money power, hard power, and soft power:
      Money Power – the UK is the 5th Largest economy in the world and has the 4th Largest Net National Wealth (basically all of its financial and non-fianacial assets combined – in terms of total wealth it is richer than Germany)
      Source 1:(SEE SOURCE B)
      Source 2:(SEE SOURCE C)
      Hard Power – A simple google search will prove that the UK still has the 5th Strongest military on the planet thanks to it’s superior training and equipment
      Furthermore, the UK operates the 2nd largest amount of Military Bases Abroad, 2nd only to the US’s huge web of bases. This means it can project its power all over the globe better than almost all other nations.
      Source 1: (SEE SOURCE D)
      (the first result when you google strongest militaries)
      Source 2: (SEE SOURCE E)
      America also often talks about the UK being its strongest ally in NATO, I can provide a source if you desire.
      Soft Power: Easily the UK’s strongest suit. The Soft Power 30 2018 rankings show that the UK has risen to 1st, becoming the worlds most powerful Soft Power, despite Brexit. The Soft Power 30 ranks 30 nations on their soft power takes into account many different factors including diplomacy, the arts and quality of life. The UK ranks 1st thanks to its “Education, culture, and international engagement” – oh boy, that last one is bound to hurt your ‘flouncing around the world comment’
      Source 1:(SEE SOURCE F)

      So in summary:
      Money: 4th/5th
      Hard: 2nd/5th
      Soft: 1st
      What more could you possibly want to be able to call us a world power? Top 3 only? That’s more superpower club status, which we are in in terms of Soft Power/Power Projection.

      OK, moving on:

      -the RN has plenty of Patrol vessels that could be used in a coastal defence role. The Hunt and Sandown classes have it as a secondary role, and we could even have up to 7 OPVs if the 3 River class B1s remain in service and all River class B2s are procured. Let’s not forget the many RN vessels currently used for training in universities that could easily be fitted with ramming equipment/mini-guns needed to fend off fishermen. Furthermore, there’s a total of 5 Border force cutters and 4 Border Force Coastal Patrol Vessels that could also be used to fend off fishermen. And anyway, fighting French fishermen could escalate the situation, which would make the ‘Scallop War’ a hell of a lot messier than the ‘Cod Wars’ against Iceland, a country which had a minuscule navy at the time.
      -The only reason these retired admirals are saying we cannot defend are own waters is because they are lobbying for increased defence spending (which might happen considering the fact that Williamson keeps nagging Hammond and because there is the biggest budget surplus since 2000 (SEE SOURCE G))

      -Sometimes I speculate about the media paying these retired admirals to say stuff like this so they can write up new stories.

      -Yes Defence does begin at home, there’s always going to be plenty of vessels/ aircraft/manpower within the UK to defend it. Done.

      And don’t give me that Debt argument, by that logic then the US, the most indebted country, with $21.48 trillion in debt, should just keep a small fleet of littoral combat ships.

      Looking foward to seeing your response to all this, and please do respond, I love a friendly debate!

      Regards, Ben

  14. The Eastern block countries such as Poland will not support the UK. They are in too much debt to the German’s who are the puppet masters of Europe. Best thing for the UK to do is pull our troops out of Europe and let the German’s and French defend it against the Russians. We need to get back to being perfidious Albion and pitting one nation against another like we used to do. We should have done that in the first world war by the way instead of all these treaties that ended up dragging us into a war caused by Germany. France and Russia. Anyway time to ditch foreign aid apart from disaster relief and enhancing our own trade networks (closing down DFID). We should also raised our defence spending to 3% of GDP which should be the bare minimum. Then we can have a balanced military industrial base that also supports civil manufacturing capability i.e. a long term industrial strategy leveraged by defence spending.

  15. TH, stop misrepresenting the truth. The incident took place inside French Territorial waters and the RN has no right to intervene, it is a civil matter. For anyone else interested in this story, ignore TH and his feeble propaganda and read The thin pinstriped line which has a clear analysis of the incident.

  16. I do think we need to really sit down and think about what we are offering in regards to defence and if it’s actually in our best interest.

    Do we really give two hoots about the Russian near abroad and is it in anyway in our interest to defend it. The answer in reality for the UK is no. The EU on the other hand very much does care about the Russian near abroad and have been winding up Russia a treat for years by both influencing nations and NATO to actively bring as much of what was once Russia’s area of influence into the EU, this activity has strengthened Putin and created a dialogue of conflict, making the UK less safe.

    Personally I think NATO has passed the point where by it can convince the world it will hold together against both obvious threats and especially war in peace based threats against minor nations who are both unable to defend themselves and or don’t share the major players western liberal values.

    I personally would be mighty pissed with my governement if it got into a potential exchange with a nuclear power over a nation which has never been a direct ally or shares our values but has ended up in NATO because of EU ambitions.

    We should probably start to consider developing new meanful treaties with trusted allies or nations with a shared interest outside of NATO structures as a just incase policy.

    In this I mean Scandinavian countries, US, Canada, maybe France (If they get over the EU first thing) ect.

    • Should NATO fall to bits, which I think it eventually will, I feel we would be better off making a new alliance with the following:

      1. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, i.e. other English speaking countries with similar values.
      2. Norway.
      3. Denmark.
      4. The Netherlands.
      5. The US (but not to follow it without question).

      That’s it.

        • Mainly because neither Sweden not Finland are members of NATO now, but also because Finland has a large land border with Russia and lots of history, so why take on more hassle than it’s worth. Plus Sweden and Finland are part of the EU, and an EU military could be formed which woud complicate matters.

          Yes, Norway has a land border with Russia, but it’s small, and cooperation with Norway can help greatly in the anti-submarine role among others.

          Australia and New Zealand are not members of NATO, but they share linguistic and cultural aspects with us.

      • I believe in the future the UK need to work with really three main groups of allies in ascending order of preference
        1. The Commonwealth, Canada, australia, NZ and whoever else, Singapore, Malaysia are all itching to make free trade deals with the UK and cannot wait to see closer ties with the Commonwealth, Canadians Conservatives have adopted the policy of CANZUK to create a new personal union between our countries, this is much better than the EU in my opinion, we share so much together, we need to do more as we have in the past! We already have the T26, Australia is buying so much British equipment these days and vice versa, I see a future of Commonwealth Joint bases and task groups, we have the same ideology, foreign policies, hell nearly the same armed forces(based on the British model)
        2. The US, Scandinavia as well as other local partners, France???, but with the US we have to work as equals with them and not just be there lapdog. We need to work separately with these countries outside of NATO and other alliances.
        3. NATO, it still has a vital role to play in our defence, its not dead yet and we still need to have those allies close, but then again if they(and us) don’t start pulling their weight then we may find the US and the UK is no longer there for them, and then who will defend Europe, France??? EU Army?? Ha. But as of now NATO is still a great organisation and is still key, but we definitely need to have priorities elsewhere also and not just focus on NATO.
        4. And of course we need to get out and start doing stuff ourselves again, and more than sending 2 Chinooks to Mali(which is great though) and nothing like the invasion of Iraq by ourselves but we need sovereign task groups, missions and more than sending 1 frigate to the Far East, we need to be able to make decisions without seeking the US’s full support(obviously they can’t oppose it but we don’t or at least shouldn’t need the for everything)
        The future looks good for the UK, it can look globally again instead of just Europe, it can do stuff with other countries, and if Europe doesn’t want our help why should we give it at all, I have a feeling we will and thats fine, we should, they are still our allies and friends and we should be there for them, and we are still European, but if they keeping trying to kick us out of all projects and trying to screw us over, they may have to defend for themselves.

  17. Dear TH, (for some reason this comment wasn’t appearing as a reply, maybe this’ll work? – It’s in response to your ‘flouncing around the world’ comment
    Oh what a surprise, I would never expect to see you in this comment section. I have nothing against you, I’m just going to address your points in the order they come up:
    -British ships are not “flouncing around the world in vain attempts to impress”. They are partaking in critical training with allied navies that will allow them to operate with them smoother and better in the future and in the case of a war. ‘Nough said
    -Big ships are good. In Terms of Amphibious Assault ships, the bigger the ship, the more it can carry. And in terms of Surface Combatants, the bigger the ship, the more provisioned weapons can be fitted and the comfier the living spaces are for the crew.
    -The ships are not ‘undefendable’ (which might I add isn’t recognised as a word). Ships like the Type 45 are fitted with PAAMS/Aster – arguably one of if not the best air/missile defence system in the world; so much so the Americans asked the RN to turn it off during training, and Frigates like the T26 and T31 are fitted with CAMM and CIWS such as Phalanx and soon Dragonfire, perfectly capable of defending against attacks. RFA vessels and Assault ships virtually all have CIWS, with some like the Fort Victoria class having provision for a 32-Cell Sea Wolf VLS SAM system. Even the carriers can be fitted with Containerised CAMM along with their CIWS in dangerous waters, according to this ukdj article:https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/queen-elizabeth-class-aircraft-carrier-guide/
    -The nuclear weapons COULD be used, albeit extremely unlikely to happen, granted. They ARE functional, which MEANS they COULD be used. Simple logic. If we scrap them we’ll be seen as peace hippies by the Americans and lose our status as their most critical ally in NATO, with that role passing over to France who would still have nuclear weapons. Which explains why they’ll never be scrapped by any Tory or even Labour government, according to their manifesto.
    -‘Sending aircraft here and there’ do you mean the Typhoons in Romania which are currently deterring Russian aggression and honouring the UK’s commitment to NATO? Or could you be talking about the Typhoons and Tornados that are currently stationed at RAF Akrotiri, providing overwatch for Syrian airspace and bombing terrorist scumbags, showing that the UK is still a global force capable of projecting its power and willing to fight for good? I strongly doubt you’re in the RAF, nor a pilot stationed abroad, so are you really sure they’re just being sent ‘here and there’ for the sake of it? I think not.
    -Oh boy, here’s the biggie, ‘pretending we’re a world power’ UGHHHH. Do you have any idea how many times I hear the press, the media, the internet, Quora commenters, YouTube commenters, online newspaper commenters and ukdj commenters utter this phrase. IT’S MADDENING. Simply because IT’S NOT TRUE. Let’s breakdown the UK’s power into three areas, money power, hard power, and soft power:
    Money Power – the UK is the 5th Largest economy in the world and has the 4th Largest Net National Wealth (basically all of its financial and non-fianacial assets combined – in terms of total wealth it is richer than Germany)
    Source 1:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nominal)
    Source 2:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_wealth
    Hard Power – A simple google search will prove that the UK still has the 5th Strongest military on the planet thanks to it’s superior training and equipment
    Furthermore, the UK operates the 2nd largest amount of Military Bases Abroad, 2nd only to the US’s huge web of bases. This means it can project its power all over the globe better than almost all other nations.
    Source 1: https://www.reckontalk.com/most-powerful-country-army-military-world-2017/
    (the first result when you google strongest militaries)
    Source 2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overseas_military_bases_of_the_United_Kingdom
    America also often talks about the UK being its strongest ally in NATO, I can provide a source if you desire.
    Soft Power: Easily the UK’s strongest suit. The Soft Power 30 2018 rankings show that the UK has risen to 1st, becoming the worlds most powerful Soft Power, despite Brexit. The Soft Power 30 ranks 30 nations on their soft power takes into account many different factors including diplomacy, the arts and quality of life. The UK ranks 1st thanks to its “Education, culture, and international engagement” – oh boy, that last one is bound to hurt your ‘flouncing around the world comment’
    Source 1:https://www.britishcouncil.org/organisation/policy-insight-research/top-soft-power-2018

    So in summary:
    Money: 4th/5th
    Hard: 2nd/5th
    Soft: 1st
    What more could you possibly want to be able to call us a world power? Top 3 only? That’s more superpower club status, which we are in in terms of Soft Power/Power Projection.

    OK, moving on:

    -the RN has plenty of Patrol vessels that could be used in a coastal defence role. The Hunt and Sandown classes have it as a secondary role, and we could even have up to 7 OPVs if the 3 River class B1s remain in service and all River class B2s are procured. Let’s not forget the many RN vessels currently used for training in universities that could easily be fitted with ramming equipment/mini-guns needed to fend off fishermen. Furthermore, there’s a total of 5 Border force cutters and 4 Border Force Coastal Patrol Vessels that could also be used to fend off fishermen. And anyway, fighting French fishermen could escalate the situation, which would make the ‘Scallop War’ a hell of a lot messier than the ‘Cod Wars’ against Iceland, a country which had a minuscule navy at the time.
    -The only reason these retired admirals are saying we cannot defend are own waters is because they are lobbying for increased defence spending (which might happen considering the fact that Williamson keeps nagging Hammond and because there is the biggest budget surplus since 2000 https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-economy-budget/uk-shows-biggest-july-budget-surplus-since-2000-easing-spending-headache-for-hammond-idUKKCN1L60Q5)

    -Sometimes I speculate about the media paying these retired admirals to say stuff like this so they can write up new stories.

    -Yes Defence does begin at home, there’s always going to be plenty of vessels/ aircraft/manpower within the UK to defend it. Done.

    And don’t give me that Debt argument, by that logic then the US, the most indebted country, with $21.48 trillion in debt, should just keep a small fleet of littoral combat ships.

    Looking foward to seeing your response to all this, and please do respond, I love a friendly debate!

    Regards, Ben

    • Ben.

      Been off here for the last week as was on holiday with no internet access.

      A quite magnificent post in my opinion.

      TH is easily debunked on many occasions and then runs for the hills rather than debating back.

      BRAVO!

  18. We would have better relations with the EU if we weren’t trying to spy on them on behalf of our true love, Uncle Sam.

    Personally, I don’t think defence and security concerns will ever trump economic ones for the EU. If they let us have a common market for goods and services but not peoples movement, it would be the end of the EU. Other countries would want the same and freedom of movement would be over.

  19. Just look at the huge number of British soldiers sailors and airman who paid with their lives to liberate Europe from German expansionist policies twice in 20 years….

    The EU is German led and effectively controlled by Berlin, he who holds the purse strings is in control after all.

    The Germans simply cannot allow us to easily leave the EU and make a success of it, as they may loose control of their project to finally create Germania.

    These blinkered people who would happily and rather disturbingly) cast democracy aside to have a second EU referendum, simply don’t believe in the democratic process when it’s not going their way, perhaps they have more in common with those past and present masters of European adventurism, the Germans!

    I think the hatefull and hostile EU response proves beyond doubt that we are right to leave and bring to a close our 40 year long EU experiment.

    A wonderful opportunity for the future awaits.

    • I agree with your sentiments John, the Euro was created as a vehicle for German export growth. The Deutschmark was becoming too strong, German exports were becoming unviable, German industry was looking like it was in trouble long term. Then a German came up with the idea of the Euro. Result Germanic economic control of Europe, devalued currency, massive boast to German exports and now one of the largest trade surpluses in the world.
      Germany now has acheived through economic means what they failed to do in 2 world wars. Namely control of Europe.
      Whatever happens we have to leave the stinking pile of mess in March 2019. No more Junkers, Barnier, Merkel andMacron telling a sovereign power and in security council member what to do. We are still the 5th or 6th largest economy in the world, wedo not need to fear becoming a trading nation able to form our own alliances.
      Militarily let the Europeans worry about Russian encroachment into EU countries. The mighty Germans can stop them, with their 13 serviceable Eurofighter Typhoons, single armoured battalion combat ready and 1 serviceable submarine.
      In terms of defence, aerospace, space, security and intelligence services it is the UK that holds ALL the cards not the EU. We actually do not need them. Let’s go WTO and not strike a bad deal that will leave us as a vessel state, sha kled to Junkers and Barnier’s control forever. That is NOT what was voted for.

  20. For a different perspective on this, and bear with me, I not only voted Remain, but am Scottish and an Independence supporter for 46 years. So let’s run a scenario here. I’m now in 2021 and for some unaccountable reason have some senior position in Independent Scotland’s defence and security oversight advisory strategy partnership review thingy whatnot, and I’ve to give my opinion. Who are we going to bond with, who to form defence alliances with, industrial defence ones and all that stuff?

    Well, I’ve liked the idea of NORDEFCO for years, and goepolitically a northern alliance of sorts makes sense. But even with Scotland added, it’s quite small, so it needs more to be added to the mix. Clearly the rUK being right next-door is a very sensible choice for Scotland as long as we part having put the spears and swords back where they belong, on the ceremonial wall in the ancestral homes for the tourists to look at. And we’d expect the rUK to have its usual co-operations with the EU, which many of us in Scotland would want to stay in / rejoin. PESCO also sounds like a good idea, it is time the rest of the EU apart from the UK and France pulled more weight.

    But wait, what’s all this nonsense about Galileo, and even more of what, indeed, I would see as just spite from the EU – how dare the (r)UK leave the EU? So I think my decisions based on defence as opposed to other factors of the EU would be to make those NORDEFCO alliances, and the rUK one, and as far as the EU goes probably take the EFTA and EEA route to keep the EU politics at arms length.

    So basically speaking, even from a greatly different perspective here in Indy Scotland, I agree with the article, and think all tis does not reflect well on the EU, including its common sense of which it seems to be showing a flat none when it comes to defence.

    That’s all it folks!

    • Good luck with that mate. If Scotland does go it alone then that is their choice, not sure the rUK will simply dance to Scotland’s song and do exactly what you want us to do. I think the reverse will be the case.
      Scotland after all will have split from rUK and caused huge economic and military disruption. Under those circumstances I would hope the rUK will simply remove all support from Scotland and allow you to stand on your own 2 feet. Which apparently is what you want. Oh but wait a minute then Scotland will run to join an even less democratic and foreign controlled federalists superstate called the EU. Bravo. That’s the spirit of independence.

  21. As a side shoot of Dad’s Army’s idea, I have to say that I would love to see the UK linking in with the Nordic countries with some sort of loose trading alliance … I would say ‘Common Market’, but we all know what that leads too!!

    I personally feel more in tune with those countries in general, so should the EU implode like the old Soviet Union ……

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