A power grab from the EU

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Despite assurances, the UK Government has given way to a major defence power-grab by the EU.

Our defence secretary is complicit in undermining our country’s defence, along with our defence industries.

Two proposals from the European Commission and the EU’s External Action Service, and a third from the European Parliament set out the EU’s long-term aspirations in defence.

The UK Government approved the key parts of these plans during EU Council meetings in November and December.

The two main proposals are the Security and Defence Implementation Plan (SDIP) and the European Defence Action Plan (EDAP), which include: –

The first centralised EU defence budget, supported by funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB), in which the UK is joint-largest shareholder.

This will pay for the EU’s “defence capability” projects and defence research.

Member states will generate EU military units by triggering PESCO (Permanent Structured Co-operation), a previously unused facility of the Lisbon Treaty.

The EU declares itself a distinct military presence in its own right with “defence decision-making autonomy from NATO”,

This is all the more incredible when you consider that the plans claim to tackle duplication, only to create it at the highest level.

The creation of a defence single market, known as EDTIB.

Defence procurement will be co-ordinated centrally by a greatly empowered European Defence Agency, with priorities being bartered between states.

If the UK adheres to EDTIB post-Brexit, UK defence manufacturers’ production decisions would be subject to negotiation between member states.

The UK will now submit “defence capability priorities” towards a centralised EU priority plan and make proposals for UK intelligence services to feed into a central EU intelligence hub, the Single Intelligence Analysis Capacity (SIAC).

An implementation group is being formed by the EU in the next few weeks, initial implementation will be in the spring and the first progress report will be in June.

The EU admits to moving with “unprecedented” speed.

It is clear that the UK should have vetoed the proposals.

Unfortunately, no veto was used due to pressure from EU leaders and the still-prevalent assumption that a departing UK would not be involved.

Unfortunately, the UK has not merely given permission for the rest of the EU to proceed, it has agreed to become involved too.

EU Council staff have confirmed that the UK has no exemptions and “full responsibilities”.

Two further years of defence integration will make extrication more difficult and lengthy following Brexit.

This needs to be stopped now.

Major (Retd) Chris Gallacher, TD VR,

Normanby Road,

Middlesbrough.