EU Army: NO WAY post-Brexit Britain will join a European defence force, Brexiteers declare
BREXITEER MPs have vowed UK troops will not play any part in a future European Union Army.
The majority of member states agreed to join forces as part of a new defence pact last month, which some believe is the first step towards a joint military force.
But speaking at a discussion organised by conservative think tank the Bow Group this week, pro-Brexit MPs said there was “no way” the UK would contribute to any Europe-wide army after it leaves the bloc.
MP for Shipley Philip Davies told the meeting at the House of Commons: “There’s no way that the Government is going to join.
“It’s just not going to happen.”
So far, 23 EU nations have signed up to the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) pact, which includes commitments to integrate armed forces, boost defence spending and establish a new headquarters building.
And EU chiefs have earmarked £4.9billion (€5.5billion) for the project, which includes cash to fund research and development into new kit and the joint purchase of new equipment.
But some have warned the new pact will only serve to further complicate the already convoluted links between the EU, NATO and now PESCO members.
Peter Bone, MP for Wellingborough, reminded the Bow Group meeting it was “NATO that saved Europe from communism”.
He said the prospect of the UK joining up to an EU army was a “non-starter” and “a load of rubbish”.
Key European nations including France and Germany have long-campaigned for greater integration among member states.
And plans for an EU army were fleshed out further by EU President Jean-Claude Juncker when he unveiled his grand vision for the future of the bloc earlier this year.
Speaking in September, Mr Juncker said: "In the field of defence more effort is required. The setting up of a European defence fund is on our agenda.
“Permanent structured cooperation in the defence field is well on the way.
“By 2025 we will need a functioning European Defence Union. We need it and NATO would like us to have it."
Addressing the Bow Group meeting, Sir Bill Cash, MP for Stone, said: “If Mr Juncker had made the speech he made a few weeks ago, before the referendum, make no mistake about it - we would have got 65 to 70 per cent Leave at least.”
Following the signing of PESCO last month, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the agreement represented an ”historic moment in European defence”.
She said an EU defence union offered more flexibility than that currently provided by NATO.
She told reporters: “Think of Africa, think of security in Africa.
“The European Union is more present there than NATO when it comes to training of security forces, when it comes to the delicate link between development and security.
“We are better equipped to act in areas where there is not a purely military action that is needed, but we can also develop more our military capabilities to act to reinforce our strategic autonomy.”