The new exit deal proposed by the EU contains clever, concealed dangers in the area of defence, found mainly in the Withdrawal Agreement Articles 129.6 and 127.2 and the Political Declaration Articles 102 to 104. Darren Selkus, a former officer in the British Army and a Brexit campaigner, explains how a clean Brexit is essential if we are to escape the growing tendrils of EU control over defence.
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The foundation for EU military integration dates back to the 1992 Maastricht Treaty and the establishment of the Common Foreign and Security Policy. Since the Cologne European Council meeting in June 1999, the EU has been implementing a European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). In July 2004 the European Defence Agency (EDA) was established and tasked with overseeing the strengthening of European military capabilities. The 2007 Lisbon Treaty renamed the ESDP the Common Defence and Security Policy (CDSP). It made provisions for military integration through the establishment of the European Defence Fund (EDF) and Permanent Structured Co-Operation (PESCO) but maintained that decisions on military or defence must still have the unanimous support of EU states.
If we still have our veto, what’s the problem?
In 2016 and 2017 after the UK voted to leave the EU, Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Alan Duncan and Angus Lapsley (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) agreed to the activation of the EDF and PESCO and deliberately, or as a measure of goodwill to avoid interference in a club we were leaving, withheld our veto.
The EDF, proposed in 2016 and established in 2017, will exert political influence over defence and intelligence procurement. EU military integration will be achieved through funding and procurement. Member states will not be able to award military contracts to their home manufacturers and be obliged to take part in EU-wide tendering with purchasing decisions made by the EU Commission.
PESCO was activated in December 2017 with the approval of the European Council. Only three of the 28 members are non-participants; Denmark with a permanent opt-out from the CDSP, Malta wishes to remain neutral and the UK because it was scheduled to leave the EU in 2019. PESCO is the driver for structural defence integration, EU strategic autonomy and a future EU common defence.
Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement and Boris Johnson’s proposed deal not only commit us to the European Defence Agency and European Defence Fund but also sign us up to Permanent Structured Co-Operation and EU military integration in perpetuity.
At the current rate of military integration we can expect an EU Common Defence to be established by 2025 with fully integrated Armed Services by 2027.
Our veto is spent, EU military integration is already decided and in process. If we sign the Withdrawal Treaty or remain in the EU, with a Europhile PM, control of our Armed Services and Intelligence will be handed to the EU Commission.
Having served in the British Army from 1988 to 1998 I will for ever remain loyal to Queen and Country. There are many who will never swear allegiance to the European Union or accept EU military integration and our Armed Forces commanded by Brussels.