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– Twenty-First Century Crusades?
Continued build-up of the EuroArmy
An EU military HQ would undermine Nato
Geoffrey Van Orden - Telegraph - UK
As the euro crisis unfolds, those pushing for EU fiscal and economic
government have now seen another opportunity to take forward the process
of European integration using the Lisbon Treaty's "permanent structured
co-operation" to fast-track EU defence policy.
You cannot get closer to the bone of national sovereignty than our armed
We have always said that any attempt to develop an autonomous EU defence
policy would only be at the cost of the Nato alliance and the sovereign
integrity of our nation.
Since the St Malo agreement of 1998 I have led the opposition to EU
meddling in defence. This is a duplicative, divisive and dangerous
distraction at a time when military resources are overstretched and we
need to focus on meeting real security threats. EU defence policy is
primarily an instrument of European political integration and brings no
additional military capabilities to the table.
The current Libya crisis has exposed the hollowness of the EU's defence
ambitions. At the beginning of the crisis, the EU desperately sought a
military role merely in order to add another chapter to its bogus
Neither the UN nor Nato were interested.
The idea of a new and expensive EU military HQ has been resisted by
successive British governments. It would merely duplicate capabilities
that already exist at Nato and in the UK and elsewhere. It can only have
the effect of undermining Nato and it is ridiculous that co-ordination
mechanisms between the EU and Nato are now required to enable more or
less the same nations to talk to themselves in different locations.
Burden-sharing between the US and its key allies remains the key issue.
This requires both military capability and political will. Nato needs
wholehearted commitment which has unfortunately been sadly lacking among
certain European allies when the Alliance has been engaged on vital
Geoffrey Van Orden is a Conservative MEP for the East of England