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Defence and Security advisory group Veterans for Britain have warned of seven ways that they believe the EU Defence Union binds the UK in terms of Brexit.

According to their analysis which can be found here, the seven reasons are:

1. It threatens UK autonomy in defence procurement decisions

How? UK companies are tied into defence procurement deals which require adherence to EU defence policy and European Defence Agency (EDA) membership. When the UK leaves these, it regains defence autonomy. But the companies will be hostages to EU policy and political pressure from Brussels.

2. It gives the EU new leverage in the Brexit talks

How? The agreements are an additional set of UK commitments. These will be harder to unravel post-2019. They cover defence command structure, intelligence, defence finance and defence procurement.

Once signed up, the UK loses its ability to negotiate a deal that best suits an independent country.

Worse, as a key military power the EU wants our support, but we will have handed it over without gains in other Brexit areas in return.

3. It commits the UK to legal merger of defence capabilities for at least two years

How? It means refusing to even begin discussing UK disengagement from recent defence agreements until after March 2019. Exit talks first, future relationship second. That could take months or years and will keep the UK tied in for the duration of a transition deal, during which the UK will still be a member of the European Defence Agency and applying Common Defence Policy.

4. It hinders our exit from the European Investment Bank, the EU state bank, created to “further EU policy goals”

The new EU policy means linking UK membership of the European Investment Bank (EIB) to defence, making it more difficult to leave the European Investment Bank, which is an organisation closely association with supporting EU policy with considerable UK financial assets but for limited UK gain.

5. It adds a ‘gravitational risk’ to the UK for the start of defence talks in 2019, which are intended to take us closer to EU defence union

How? Since the UK is already part signed up, it feeds future calls for the UK to remain in the EU’s centralising military strategy, removing the UK’s ability to take independent action in defence and defence procurement to save jobs and expertise.

6. It threatens NATO

The European Commission’s European Defence Action Plan repeatedly asserts the EU’s ‘strategic autonomy’ in defence.

“The EU will continue to work closely with its partners, particularly with the United Nations and NATO, while respecting the autonomy of the EU’s decision-making processes.”

The EEAS’s Security and Defence Implementation Plan, as well as the EU Council conclusions from March, May and November 2017, repeatedly refer to the development of EU strategic autonomy in defence.

The EU is pursuing four separate funding streams that partly claim authority over member states’ national defence budgets and joint financial assets. The decision making over these funds and their conduct will be done within the EU remit, not through NATO.

The protagonists of EU defence union have outlined areas in which NATO has not served the objectives of then EU. Ursula Von Der Leyen, German Defence Minister, justified EU defence union by citing NATO ‘inability’ to intervene in the Western Balkans, Ukraine and Africa. This helps explain why the EU is moving towards developing common pooled EU assets. It already has collective assets such as its Satellite Centre, and a Space Policy to go with it.

7. It is completely unnecessary for the UK to be involved, yet EU Commissioners have told the UK Govt it is expected to “play its full role”.

Denmark, an EU member state plays no part in EU defence because it opted out. The UK should have insisted on the same deal.

Diplomats and Ministers thought they were “nurturing good will” by playing along, but that’s not how the EU works. It’s an acquisitive project that exploits every opportunity behind momentary consensus.

The EU Commission has told the UK that because “decisions over EU Defence Union were taken unanimously”, the UK is expected to “play its full role while it remains a member”.

25 COMMENTS

  1. The UK can be passive in this process. Meaning whilst the EU might want uk troops, ships and planes to contribute we do not gave to send anything but small token forces like the EU commits to NATO missions.
    The EU is full of hot air. Against a desire to leave and the fact they cannot coerce UK to do anything we do not want to do.
    EU must be scared without the UK they have very little defence capability apart from France and to a lesser extent Italy. Rest of EU has cut back to the point they cannot generate a capable EU force without UK and NATO (US and Canadian) contributions.

  2. i thought the EU were planning a way to leave NATO by creating an EU army which will be controlled by the EU bully boys,in Brussels we the UK vetoed this before the Brexit vote,as part of this EU army it meant all military equipment weapons and secrets are to be shared within this EU army..which is why we vetoed it as we do not share all our defense weapons or secrets….my belief is once we leave or have left the EU they will be more upset about it than us.as our defense and secrets are better than there,s even though our manpower and equipment has shrunk through past and present governments who don,t give a damn..

  3. How is it that anyone can still believe that Euro Federalists like Mrs.Von Der Leyen are trying for anything other than lebensraum? The only difference between them and their grandfathers is they are to lazy to do it by warfare and instead choose economics, mass media, and duplicitous diplomacy. At least their grandfathers were honest enough to admit what they were after.

      • Right wing “fascist”? For a supposed “fascist dictator “he certainly tolerates a lot of dissent. Apparently if he is the definition of fascism now they aren’t what they once were.

      • Children’s guise to politics:
        ‘Anyone who doesn’t agree with me is a Nazi!’

        Please stop embarrassing yourself.

        • Didn’t call anyone a Nazi, he was comparing modern German politicians to Nazi Germany.

          I was just pointing out that it’s a bit rich from an American at the moment. I’m well aware Trump is not a Nazi or a fascist, but neither are German politicians.

          So why don’t you engage isntead of throwing around the new line “he’s only calling him that because he doesn’t agree with him”

          No Lewis I called him that because I think he is deplorable. Nothing to do whether he agrees me or not.

          That seems to be the new defense doesn’t it? “Oh well he is not technically a fascist so you can’t call him that”

          That is embarrassing, having to use a technicality as the the only line of defense.

          • And yet despite claiming such awareness you used the term fascist. Is it in any way fascist to say the security of your state I paramount? . What you call a technicality is a very large difference. Considering the fate of so many of my grandmothers cousins. I tend to be very accurate.
            Words overused merely to convey a feeling of personal outrage rob them of their meaning. In the end you make people no longer care. Being called a racist once had real meaning as did deplorable. So did redneck I might add . But overly sensitive people kept saying them over and over again and they have lost almost all meaning. Or did you miss all the Deplorables for Trump bumper stickers, signs, shirts etc.

    • I said I was aware he is not a fascist because he isn’t in the ‘traditional’ sense, to want of a better word. And because you added a word that I never even used “dictator” I was responding to that also.

      He well may be a fascist, fascism is an ideology. You or a I could be a fascist, we just don’t have the means to get away with all the stuff we would believe in as fascists.

      In one paragraph you’re using terms like “lebensraum” and comparing modern Germany to Nazi Germany, yet you are getting very sensitive when someone uses the word “fascist” because family members died in ww2? thats a bit contradictory wouldn’t you say?

      “You tend to be very accurate” yes I can see that mate, proper accurate, your theory on modern German lebensraum is a belter.

      I don’t know where you’re from exactly but the word racist has not lost any meaning in the UK, no matter how many times it gets used. I think if you as person thinks that being called a racist is not a big deal, that tells us more about the person itself than anyone else.

      It only appears to be the case that when confronted with Donald Drumf being called a fascist, Trump supporters and UK Trump sympathisers will only really say one thing, and that’s to compare him to a fascist dictator and because he hasn’t killed anyone that means he isn’t a fascist.

      You can be a communist and not be Stalin you know, you can be a Nazi and dont have to invade Poland.

      I can’t really tell what angle of this you’re coming from anymore, whether you’re a Trump supporter or not, it’s fine to be one by the way if that’s what politics you believe in crack on. But instead of crying “oh he’s not Mussolini” every time someone calls Trump a fascist, why don’t you tell us why he isn’t a fascist, that’s usually how a debate works.

  4. “Defence and Security advisory group Veterans for Britain have warned of seven ways that they believe the EU Defence Union binds the UK in terms of Brexit”

    That is quite a misleading description of Veterans for Britain, they were set up in 2016 before the referendum with the sole purpose of advocating and campaigning for a leave vote using national defence as their argument. So they are certainly not just a “defence and security advisory group”

    Which is all well and good, there is not a problem with Veterans for Britain, they make and have made some excellent points but no matter how you want to portray them, their arguments on EU defense cooperation will always be biased without giving any possible good points.

    That is not “impartial”

    Personally I believe there has to be a fine line between cooperating with the EU on defence and not doing anything at all. Whether we like it or not Germany and France are the 4th and 5th largest economies in the world and the EU together is the largest economy in the world. Germany is finally coming back to being a player on the world stage, they are our neighbors and in regards to France, Portugal, Belgium, Poland and Norway they are our oldest and most trusted allies.

    I don’t see any problem with further cooperation on defense projects, we as a nation cannot afford to run a fighter program, unless something drastically changes in the near future, our air force will almost always entirely consist of foreign procurement and multinational programs. We also have a lot of joint programs in the works with France with missiles and drones etc. We can either buy American or jointly produce our own programs, we should always have a choice.

    I also think a European defense force similar to Nato with response forces is a good idea, it works for Nato, why not Europe? Europe cannot rely on uncle sam forever, we should be able to defend ourselves properly without the need for outside assistance. We needed America when Europe was at war with each other, now Europe is at peace (it took us a 1000 years) a united Europe should be able to defend itself from any threat.

    What I don’t advocate is full on integration of entire defence budgets, armies, procurement etc, like I said there has to be line we go to. We have to preserve what little shipbuilding we have, we have some of the best technology that we should not just give away to other smaller countries in the EU. And I certainly do not want anyone other than the British Prime Minister in charge of our armed forces.

    But if that’s the way the EU wants to go, while we may not be part of it, I certainly don’t want Britain totally excluded, we should use it as a positive as it’s another layer of defense, there are some strong countries with excellent technology we can use for joint programs, and another big reason, a united Europe is probably the biggest deterrent to Russia or China there is, a united Europe with equally important allies like USA, the Commonwealth our Asian allies.

    • All well and good, but the European Commission is run by small men with huge egos and delusions of grandeur. If you follow Guy Verhofstadt on Twitter for example, he has demanded that the EU intervene in virtually every world event to “send signals” about his (so-called) liberal agenda. Many of these senior Eurocrats are former Communists and are pretty nasty and extreme, politically – hiding behind the veneer of grandeur that Brussels bestows. We need to keep our defence capability run by us – and only share it with NATO and our Commonwealth Realms. The EU is out for all it can get – not for nothing has it traditionally called us “treasure island”…

      • Yeah I agree, we do need to keep our defense run by us with a doubt.

        But if this is going the way it looks like it’s going we need a to be just about involved for us to get benefits from it, like joint defense projects etc. I think there will be a way we can be partly signed up to certain agreements.

        Yes the EU is out for all it can get, but so is the USA, a lot more than the EU. In fact so is every country really, we need to be smart and not close the door completely, the EU might not be for us, but we do have allies in the EU. And Europe is our neibourhood so we must always try to be involved in at least some way.

  5. A European Defense Union will inevitably lead to the dissolution of NATO. There is no other outcome it’s purpose as espoused by it’s first Secretary General Lord Ismay was to and I quote “to keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down”. How does giving Mrs.Merkel or whoever succeeds not only economic but military dominance of all the continental powers accomplish that last goal? Have you forgotten how that went last time? I assure you Russia with it’s 20 million military/civilian dead has not. Way to provoke a war.
    And before you argue that Lord Ismay was only referring to communism read a history book. The problem wasn’t that they were communist the problem was they were Russian. Neither the U.S. or the U.K. have ever been overly fond of the idea of one power controlling all of Europe. At least until this latest band of historically ignorant morons who scream fascist everytime there view is challenged.

    • You really are living in a WW2/Cold War mindset arnt you.

      “Historically ignorant morons” 😂

      You do know Germany was Britains historic ally for centuries? In fact Germans were fighting alongside Brits as allies before your country even existed.

      Germany today is in no way comparable to Nazi Germany, just like France is not to napoleonic France etc etc.

      What Germany is doing in the EU is not as bad as what America is doing around the world, except Germany uses trade and finance where as USA uses “regime change”

      Stop kidding yourself on that every Brit is on board with this idea that Germany is on the rise and going to conquer Europe again, its pathetic and shows how very little you know.

      • @KieranC excellent and balanced comments both here and above.

        There are very good reasons why Europe (EU and non-EU) needs to work harder at aligning defence procurement and cutting out duplication and waste. We have already seen numerous international agreemetns on sharing defence assets. (Belgium and Netherlands – and Austria and Switzerland – sharing quick reaction air patrols – or just recently Germany and the Netherlands sharing close air defence units – and a naval support vessel).

        All of this is to be welcomed. The EU move is (despite worried voices urging the contrary) never likely to be more than a w\y of further augmenting this. National governments jealously guard their budgets and who ultimately gets to control their armed forces. The name-calling by some here of ‘communists in EU clothing’ is silly and simply inaccurate. The EU is never going to replace Nato.

        Frankly given the very low levels of defence spending throughout Europe it doesn’t matter right now whether you badge as assets as ‘Nato’ or ‘EU’. The real issue is getting countries to spend more on defence in the first place.

        Best Tim

        • Thank you Tim.

          I agree, I think quite a lot of people on here and in Britain in general need to know that there is a difference between Europe the continent and the EU, and after Brexit that difference will be huge.

          Europe as a collection of nations must always look to maintain a shared responsibility for the security and well being of this continent, I would love to see some people’s reactions if we started to dictate the defense of the American continent.

          You make good points with examples of countries working together, I knew I had seen over the years lots of examples of shared defense projects and patrols but it was getting late last night so didn’t put in the time to find them.

          In regards to NATO, I have already said on here before I see that future as a worldwide defense arrangement, I think Asian and commonwealth allies need to be brought into one umbrella.

          Thanks for your reply mate all the best.

          • “We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow”- Lord Palmerston
            I do not have a cold war mentality just a natural suspicion borne out of a knowledge of history. A fully united E.U. military would inevitably lead to more resources taken away from NATO and to the ever faster full integration of the E.U. states. This would make the dissolution of NATO a inevitability.
            “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests”-Henry Kissinger
            America would act to contain what it saw as a threat to its national security. A united E.U. would have a combined economic and industrial capability to be a superpower. Now there are currently only two countries that come even within shouting distance of the capabilities of U.S. Armed Forces to wage war. Ask yourself where are the majority of forward deployed assets (exclusive of combat zones)?
            On NATO expanding to Asian and commonwealth countries unlikely. The U.S. already has the ANZAC treaty the RIMPAC treaty, and not to mention the Rio Pact all of which it has greater authority than it does in NATO.

  6. People please remember this is a defence website not intended to be for political comments or ultra left wing hatred against Brexit voting uk citizens.
    The EU is not a unity of equals France and Germany run roughshod over all eastern EU nations concerns.
    Militarily until Brexit is either reversed by a new referendum or is seen through to its fruition the UK should only send minimal forces to EU missions a single land rover and 4-6 men as a “battle group”
    A single archer class patrol ship as our naval task force.
    EU and NATO are not compatible. Either the EU goes it alone…good luck with that or NATO underlines their security. They cannot have both. EU will continue to cause a drawn out painful demise of NATO by fractioning and dividing defence efforts, duplication of command and control and god help us if we need to coordinate a unified response with the EU to a military crises.
    I think NATO should be more vocal about this issue. EU either ups its game and becomes a viable military force with its own federal forces or it stops this nonsense.

    • Mr Bell I know you mean well but the article is a political one about defense, defense and politics go hand in hand sometimes.

      And to correct you, a lot of “ultra left wing” would have voted for Brexit, it was the left who were campaigning for us to leave the EU long before anyone else. Jeremy Corbyn is glad we are leaving, George Galloway campaigned passionately to leave. Sometimes identity politics doesn’t work Mr Bell.

      I voted to leave myself. I hate the European Central Bank and what they did to Greece. The European Central Bank is a deplorable entity only interested in making themselves richer. I think freedom of movement is a political tool to move the cheap labour workforce to be exploited. I want that to end.

      But that doesn’t mean I hate Europe, far from it in fact. It’s our continent with important allies in.

      And a question, Do you think NATO is a unity of equals?

    • Mr Bell

      ….By that token neither is it a website for ‘ultra right wing’ (to adapt your terminology) against those who happened to vote Remain and who also happen to think the EU (with or without the UK) has a complimentary role to play in European defence alongside Nato.

      Best wishes Tim

  7. @Elliot

    Yeah a suspicion from knowledge of history since 1939.

    “America would act to contain what it saw as a threat to its national security. A united E.U. would have a combined economic and industrial capability to be a superpower.”

    What are you trying to say here, the US would intervene to stop a United EU? (In your words) what would that entail?

    “On NATO expanding to Asian and commonwealth countries unlikely. The U.S. already has the ANZAC treaty the RIMPAC treaty, and not to mention the Rio Pact all of which it has greater authority than it does in NATO”

    So much for NATO being a lovely group of equal allies hey, it’s ok everyone, NATO doesn’t need to expand because the good old U S of A has got that covered. And more importantly it has greater authority in those treaties, phew.

    You’ve basically proved my point, at least a united European defense organisation without the lingering US involved would at least put European priority first.

    • Direct intervention? No. Reassess whether the EU or Russia constituted a greater threat. Under the understanding of only being able to wage a two front war and plan accordingly. Once again- ” America has no permanent allies or enemies only permanent interests”. Remember thee U.S. is at least nominally allied with most of the Middle East. Is emphatically allies with all of South America except Venezuela. Under this unhappy little scenario that leaves only access to Norwegian oil and U.K. North Sea fields. I hope you can afford that rather sharp rise fuel costs. Not to mention the heating allowance. By the way those remaining sources of fuel do not produce enough for military expenditures much less a civilian economy.
      Why would the U.S. want another quote alliance of “equals”. Where it pays most and mostly receives judgement in return. Where were America’s European allies at the Ia Drang, Op Junction City, and at Hue or the rest of the Tet offensive. Only Australia, New Zealand and South Korea answered the call there. Some of our so called allies even Norway, Italy, and though not in NATO distinctly euro Sweden either restricted or placed us under an arms embargo.
      Or when European countries see fit to meddle in U.S. foreign policy such as when in the Yom Kippor war the when the U.S. decided to resupply Israel. They refused to allow the use of American bases or materials already in Europe. This meant all those supply had to air lif from VIRGINIA and when they realized we could still do it some still debated interfering with transports. Reuquiring every one to have a fighter escort.
      European countries never seem to miss an opportunity at America bashing whether it be Panama, Nicaragua, Grenada, or Iraq. Now they talk of North Korea as if it is OUR fault. No I don’t believe America should have any obligation to an alliance of equals only to it’s interest.

      • This has gone too far.

        You my friend are deluded. You’re genuinely peddling the idea that the US would put an oil embargo on Europe to stop it becoming too big and powerful.

        Just say that to yourself out loud and see what you think.

        Laters dude.

        • Embargo no. Charge through the nose yes. Embargos never accomplish much greed is always much more useful. The price of oil is very easily manipulated when the producing nations choose to.
          If you had ever worked in the petrochemical industry you would know this. In the Middle East you have OPEC in America you have the individual states resource and export committees. All of which control production to manipulate price. Currently the trend is America is favorable export price of export product to Europe. That is subject to change.

  8. Back to military matters. Does anyone on this website actually think without NATO that a EU military force has anywhere near the capability to defend itself from say Russia?
    EU is more interested in quantative easing build more HQ buildings and other vanity projects rather than actually resolving any of its deep rooted structural problems.
    For Europe to become anything near a super power will require unity, agreement and a focussed programme of shared military capability whereby each nation brings a defined capability to an EU military force. Such as France has strike carriers, Spain air defence destroyers, Italians marines and amphibious landing forces, Germany armoured divisions. Holland amphibious forces abd mine clearance etc
    That is never going to happen.

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