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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer
Friday, May 27, 2016
Brussels keeps plans for EU army secret
Soldiers from the patrol platoon, 3 Para Battlegroup who took part in the firefight with Afghan fighters in the vicinity of Nowzad, southern AfghanistanCREDIT: HEATHCLIFF O'MALLEY
British voters are being “conned” by Brussels officials who are keeping plans for a European army secret until after the referendum, leading Tories have claimed.
Liam Fox, the former defence secretary who served under David Cameron, told The Telegraph that the ambitions showed the EU is wedded to the “dangerous fantasy” of creating a single defence force.
Another eurosceptic Tory MP said voters were being “deceived” and “hoodwinked” about the true scale of the EU’s drive to create a single army.
The backlash came as it emerged plans to move towards the creation of a European army are being kept secret from British voters until the day after next month’s referendum.
Drawn up by the EU’s foreign policy chief, the Global Strategy on Foreign and Security Policy foresees the formation of new European military and operational structures.
This first step towards an EU army is supported by Germany and other countries, The Times reports.
In 2011, similar proposals were vetoed by Britain, although there were concerns that a loophole could allow nine states to group together to bypass opponents.
In an effort to avoid derailing the Prime Minister’s Remain campaign, the policy plans will not be sent to national governments until the day after Britons vote.
Until then, only a small group of EU political and security committee ambassadors, who must leave their electronic devices outside a sealed room, can read the proposal.
However hand written notes can be taken.
Extracts of the text in notes taken by dipomats, seen by The Times, emphasise that “security and defence is where a step change is most urgent”.
The paper warns that “in turbulent times, we need a compass to navigate the waters of a faster-changing world”.
Head of foreign policy in the EU, Federica Mogherini, has reportedly spent 18 months preparing the defence document to be discussed by European leaders at a summit on June 28.
Mr Fox told The Telegraph: “Those of us who have always warned about Europe’s defence ambitions have always been told not to worry, but step-by-step that ever closer union is becoming a reality. We cannot afford to be conned in this referendum as we were conned in 1975.
“The best way to protect ourselves is to stay close to the US. The US defence budget is bigger than the next 11 countries in the world put together. Europe’s defence intentions are a dangerous fantasy and risk cutting us off from our closest and most powerful ally.
“We’re always told not to worry about the next integration and then it happens. We’ve been too often conned before and we must not be conned again.”
Andrew Bridgen, the Tory MP for North West Leicestershire, said: “This is the way the EU operates. The people were deceived about the aims of the EU in 1975 and they’re being deceived again today. For the security of our country we must vote to leave the EU.
“This blows out of the water the Prime Minister’s claim that we’re being excluded from ever closer union. Voters are being hoodwinked once again.”