Advertise On EU-Digest

Annual Advertising Rates


EDF: EU plan to beef up military prompts battle of words over Nato - by Rob Camer

Britain remains firmly opposed to any move towards creating an EU army, Sir Michael Fallon said, as it would simply undermine Nato.

And yet it wasn't on the agenda when EU defence ministers met in Slovakia and barely anyone is talking about the idea. There are no plans for legions of Eurotroops decked out in helmets emblazoned with yellow stars on a blue background.

It's difficult, indeed pointless, to oppose something that doesn't exist and isn't being suggested. But that's the problem with the argument over the EU's future military capabilities; for now it's a battle of semantics, a war of words.

Instead the official agenda here in Bratislava spoke of "the EU Global Strategy and its synergies and sequencing with the Commission-led EDAP".

France and Germany presented proposals that would include joint development of military hardware such as helicopters and drones, expanding the EU's peace-keeping missions and, most contentiously of all, establishing a permanent joint European military HQ.

Germany insists that the idea has nothing to do with a European army.

"It is not aimed against Nato," said Defence Minister Ursula Von der Leyen. "On the contrary, we need a strong Europe and whatever strengthens Europe in defence also strengthens Nato."

And those words were underlined by Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who told reporters at the meeting that there was "no contradiction between strong European defence and a strong Nato". The importance lay in avoiding duplication, he said.

Yet when he stepped out of the meeting, the UK defence secretary said that 12 countries had spoken and half were against the EU military headquarters, including Sweden, the Netherlands, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania. The BBC couldn't immediately verify that.

But for Sir Michael Fallon there's already much to dislike.

Note EU-Digest: In all this one should ask what business it is of Britain, after BREXIT, to question  anything the EU contemplates or plans to do.  Hopefully the EU political leadership will make it clear to Britain they can't have their cake and eat it also.

Read more: EU plan to beef up military prompts battle of words over Nato - BBC News

No comments: