The inevitable rise of a European army to rival those of other world super-powers appears on our collective horizon. The Telegraph reports:
Under a deal reached in Brussels yesterday, leaders of all 27 EU countries promised to “strengthen” Europe’s ability to deploy troops “rapidly and effectively” in any future crisis.
They committed to “systematically considering cooperation” across Europe whenever EU member states begin drawing up their national defence plans.
Downing Street sources said the Prime Minister was “entirely happy” with the new arrangements. Britain already has a formal treaty with France for sharing defence capabilities, such aircraft carrier capacity.
Government sources said the new agreement would pave the way for Britain to extend this collaboration beyond France to other countries.
It’s worth remembering that less than 70 years ago millitary “collaboration” between the European powers had terrible consequences. The last time a command and control centre was established in Europe it took the combined might of the American and Soviet millitary to eventually thwart its aim of world domination.
Such analysis may seem like scare mongering but the whole notion of a European army was described in the same terms only a few years ago by the British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. He wrote a communique to that effect, which was mainly addressed to UK media commentators but used to be freely available on the Government’s website. I remember being instructed to read it, unfortunately though, at the time of writing, it was unavailable.
We are currently experiencing technical problems with FCO websites. We are working to resolve the problem, so please try again later.
Annoyingly the UK Government’s online archive is also experiencing technical difficulties and I was unable to locate the Foreign Secretary’s denial of the “myth” of a forthcoming European army there either.
Fortunately for interested Disinfonaughts it is located it on The WayBackMachine here:
Myth Two: The Constitutional Treaty will create a European ArmyThe Facts: British armed forces will remain under British control
Just as in NATO, our armed forces are deployed only with our Government’s agreement. We choose whether to deploy them as part of an EU force.It adds another layer to our security
European defence cooperation allows us to mount peacekeeping and conflict prevention missions using European military forces. We have already launched three such operations, in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Bosnia. We have also mounted civilian operations in Macedonia, Bosnia, Georgia and are about to do so in Democratic Republic of Congo.Britain keeps its veto over European defence
We negotiated successfully to keep our veto, allowing Britain to decide when the EU should act and only where NATO chooses not to.European Defence does not undermine NATO
The Treaty is clear: for those states which are members of NATO, it ‘remains the foundation of their collective defence’ (Article I-41.7). Any development of a European common defence must be passed unanimously by the Council (Article I-41.2)
The European Defence Agency is not building a European Army
The Agency, led by a British Chief Executive, is designed to help Member States develop their own capabilities and ensure that those capabilities are deployable, sustainable and able to operate together
Time will tell if Jack Straw’s interesting piece of “mythbusting” will hold up to scrutiny. The denial is looking a little shaky already though, as it was written prior to the announcement of France’s enthusiasm to become collaborators. It was also written prior to these shocking new developments. Perhaps Straw was misinformed. The Telegraph continues:
[..some..] Conservative MPs, [..have..] warned it was the first step to creating a European army.
The development comes as five countries – France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Poland – prepare to step up moves for a formal joint EU military command structure and an operational headquarters.
Some fear the new arrangement will provide a European rival to Nato.
Douglas Carswell, Conservative MP for Clacton, said: “This really shows that we can’t trust our negotiating team. You turn your back for two minutes and they go and sign up to something as daft as this.
The maniacal drive towards a United States of Europe has been protected from serious scrutiny by the curious notion that the centralisation of international power is in some way an intrinsic part of left-wing ideology. Critics of it have been reported to have had children stolen from their care by the state because EU skepticism is still seen by some as implicitly “racist”. A curious notion given the fact that significant ethnic diversity between France, Britain, Germany and the majority of Europe is unnoticeable to most.
For American readers it is also important to know that the people of Britain were never asked if they wanted to be part of an EU. The only vote held on the issue was to decide whether or not the UK wanted to be part of the ‘European Common Market’, a trading agreement. Politicians occasionally suggest the idea of a referendum on the matter, our sitting Prime Minister is a notable example. He issued a “cast iron guarantee” at one point, only to curiously reconsider his position later.
It’s understandable therefore that some people find it a worry to be brow-beaten by the President of France, Francois Hollande, in his widely reported comments that:
Britain cannot choose which laws it wants to follow from an “à la carte” menu and [..he has..] insisted the EU “is for life”.
The same man is also quoted, in The Telegraph, as saying:
France was a strong supporter of “defence Europe”.
“There is a willingness to strengthen defence capacity and to develop a European defence industry,” he said.
“We want to act in Europe. In order to be heard at the international level, defence resources are fundamental. So we agree to cooperate, we agree to hold joint missions.”
In other words it is the acquisition of power on the world stage which inspires the world’s oldest, and historically most ruthless, Empires to begin planning once again to team up in such a way.