Local MEP welcomes latest success in pushing back EU federalism as Cameron kills off EU military amb



The East of England has a large military presence and so defence decisions are important.  At a key summit in Brussels on 19 December, Prime Minister David Cameron effectively killed off EU ambitions for an “EU Army”.



The East of England has a large military presence and so defence decisions are important.  At a key summit in Brussels on 19 December, Prime Minister David Cameron effectively killed off EU ambitions for an “EU Army”.

 

At the European Council meeting in Brussels - where Heads of State and Government meet -he stated: "It makes sense for nation states to co-operate over matters of defence to keep us safer, but it isn't right for the European Union to have capabilities, armies, air forces and all the rest of it [...] Defence kit must be nationally owned and controlled and that should be clear to everyone."

 

The Summit conclusions now emphasise the EU’s civil capabilities and the role of NATO.

 

Local Conservative MEP and Conservative Spokesman on Defence and Security, Geoffrey Van Orden MEP, commented:

 

"This is great news. David Cameron has turned the tide on an “EU Army”. Clearly there is now no appetite for an ambitious EU military policy. The emphasis is quite rightly on national responsibility in military matters, greater EU focus on civilian capabilities, and recognition of NATO’s role. Conservative MEPs and their allies have long campaigned for just such a shift so that the EU might actually do something useful – complementing, rather than trying to imitate, NATO's military muscle. It's been a long haul to get to this position.

 

"In terms of our defence industries, by all means invest more funds into research, but there is no need for the European Commission to get involved in collaborative defence projects and certainly not to have its hands on any defence equipment.

 

"We can now see that the high point of EU military ambition was reached with the 2009 Lisbon Treaty which Britain’s Labour government signed up to. This established a 'High Representative' as the putative EU Foreign and Defence Minister, gave formal blessing to a European Defence Agency, and enshrined a dangerous "mutual defence" clause, which the EU has no capacity to fulfill and which was just a pale imitation of NATO's robust Article 5.

 

"But for the Eurocrats, military effectiveness was always secondary. It was always about “fulfilling Europe’s ambitions on the world stage”. More attention was paid to EU military "visibility" than its relevance.

 

“It has taken British Conservative Ministers to recognise the nature of CSDP. They have now seen that we cannot, in one breath, seek to distance ourselves from 'ever closer union' and call for repatriation of powers from Brussels, and in another acquiesce in a flagship EU policy designed to deepen political integration and extend EU competence.

 

"The EU has no military requirements different to those of NATO. It may make sense for less capable countries to get together to improve capabilities, provided they have the will to use them, but there is absolutely no need for the EU to be involved in any of this. Nor does the EU need to be involved in multi-national defence industrial projects.

 

"Britain's strategic priority is to ensure that the US remains fully engaged in NATO, and, elusively, to get European Allies to develop their military capability in a way that will contribute more effectively to the Alliance. Creating wasteful, duplicative EU structures has never been the solution to this.”



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