European Defence Union – never a mention by UK media?

european defence flag

cadxx: It must surely by now be obvious that a no-deal Brixit is the only means by which the UK will exit the EU, bearing in mind the unending opposition of MPs of all colours. If you are of a mind like mine you will have asked yourself ‘what the hell is going on’? Why are these idiots so determined to scupper Brexit that they are prepared to risk their own livelihood? Blackmail has occurred to me. But to keep this from becoming a conspiracy blog the article below may provide some clues.

European Defence Union – Parliamentary Written Questions

Reblogged by cadxx from: https://www.ukcolumn.org/

by

David Scott

| Saturday, 18th May 2019

Without any fanfare, or public statements, parliamentarians are starting to ask questions about European Defence Union and what it means for British self-determination and national sovereignty. In this article we decode the answers.

The background to the recent questions has been a long period of silence. When President Jean-Claude Junker said, in his 13 September 2017 ‘State of the Union’ address:

And I want us to dedicate further efforts to defence matters. A new European Defence Fund is in the offing. As is a Permanent Structured Cooperation in the area of defence. By 2025 we need a fully-fledged European Defence Union. We need it. And NATO wants it.

The response in the UK was for politicians and the press to ignore it completely and carry on as if nothing had changed. But this is vital information. It provides a timescale (complete by 2025), a scale (fully fledged Union – that is complete integration and full operational control) and a partner in this venture (NATO).

There was further silence in the UK when the German Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen, revealed more when interviewed by Kathimerini, an English-language daily newspaper published in Athens.

Kathimerini:

France wants this force outside the framework of the EU, to allow Britain to join in even after it leaves the bloc. Germany prefers it to remain within the EU. What is your opinion?

Ursula von der Leyen:

Our common goal is a strong European voice. We have started to build the European Defence Union. With PESCO at its core, this framework will lead to the harmonization of planning, procurement, and use of European military capabilities. And Britain is welcome to join in specific projects or missions. We have come a long way in a short period of time – but we still have a long way to go. The so called “European Intervention Initiative” fits well with this PESCO framework and the project of building a European Defence Union. It is not about a standing military force. It is a strategic topping helping to build what we call a European “Strategic Culture”; we just have to put the pieces together as we go along. I envision kind of a “roofing ceremony” for the European Defence Union during the upcoming Council Presidency of Germany during the second half of 2020.

This revealed much more, that the structure is virtually complete and will be topped-out in 2020, that progress is now rapid, and that the mechanism is a harmonisation of existing national forces under a European strategic topping, not a separate standing force.

So let us examine the recent parliamentary questions and answers, keeping in mind the key points detailed above:

  • European Defence Union is to be complete by 2025
  • It is to be a fully-fledged union
  • NATO wants it
  • It is to be structurally complete by late 2020
  • It is to be a Strategic topping over (that means controlling) national forces, not a separate standing army.

Question asked by Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington) on 18 April 2019

Ministry of Defence, Armed Forces: EU Defence Policy

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the effect of leaving the EU (a) with a deal and (b) under a no-deal scenario on the legal status and chain of command for UK armed forces personnel serving on EU-led missions.

Answered by: Mark Lancaster on 30 April 2019

The Political Declaration on the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom sets out the basis for our future cooperation as a third country. This includes providing the legal framework, in the form of a Framework Participation Agreement, for the UK to contribute to EU crisis management operations and missions, on a case-by-case basis and when in the mutual interests. Such a partnership must respect the sovereignty of the UK, the UK will maintain control over its defence policy and decision making.

In a No Deal scenario, the UK would withdraw from Common Security and Defence Policy missions and operations – both military and civilian, and associated personnel seconded to the EU institutions. The UK would continue to act through other multilateral fora, including through the UN and NATO.

From this we learn:

  • The Political Declaration is the key to UK involvement in EU Defence Union
  • Under this agreement, UK forces will remain under EU operational control
  • A no-deal Brexit would interrupt this, at least in part.
  • Even in a no deal scenario we would be engaged in bi/multilateral cooperation with EU member states (pillar 1 of European Defence Union).

Question asked by Mrs Pauline Latham (Mid Derbyshire) on 25 April 2019

Ministry of Defence: EU Defence Policy

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how the Government plans to ensure that the UK does not become part of the EU’s military unification project in the event that the UK remains in the European Defence Agency, the European Defence Fund, the European Defence Industrial Development Programme and the Permanent Structured Co-operation programme.

Answered by: Mark Lancaster on 02 May 2019

NATO will remain the cornerstone of our defence and security, and the UK will retain full sovereign control over its defence policy and decision making. A deal with the EU will, however, enable us to cooperate on foreign and security policy issues of shared interest. Accordingly, the Political Declaration agreed in November 2018 states that the UK’s future relationship with the EU should benefit from cooperation on capabilities that facilitate interoperability and to promote joint effectiveness of Armed Forces. It thereby provides the option for the UK to participate in mutually beneficial capability projects and initiatives on a case-by-case basis, through the European Defence Agency, the European Defence Fund and PESCO, subject to conditions in Union law.

  • Notice how when faced with really well directed questions, the first word in response is “NATO”. This is to reassure people that nothing is changing, it is also a deception. Recall Junker’s state of the Union address: “NATO wants it [European Defence Union]”
  • Mark Lancaster here confirms that there isa deal over defence with the EU
  • The second reassurance is that the UK retains full sovereign control. This is a half-truth, as the structure of EU military unification is a strategic topping over national control. Yes sovereign control exists, but the forces will be strategically directed by the EU in their interests via a structure built over and above national sovereignty.

Question Asked by Mrs Pauline Latham (Mid Derbyshire) on 25 April 2019

Ministry of Defence: EU Defence Policy

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department is currently or has been part of a trial for the EU’s Coordinated Annual Review on Defence.

Answered by: Mark Lancaster on 02 May 2019

The UK participated in the trial run of the EU’s Coordinated Annual Review on Defence in 2017-18. The trial run culminated in a report that was presented to Ministers in November 2018

  • Lesson here: we remain in CARD, pillar 3 of European Defence Union.
  • And membership of CARD means that the EU, a foreign power, has been given full access to top-level, classified, military and defence planning.

Question asked by Andrew Rosindell (Romford) on 08 May 2019

Ministry of Defence: EU Defence Policy

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what her Department’s policy is on the integration of European armed forces plan; and if she will make a statement.

Answered by: Mark Lancaster on 13 May 2019

The Government is not aware of an integration of European armed forces plan. The UK supports increased cooperation and interoperability between armed forces, including at European level, for example through joint exercises and development of defence capabilities. Such cooperation must be complementary with NATO, the cornerstone of our defence.

  • More or less pure deception here. Is the Government not aware of the plan for “Fully fledged European Defence Union by 2025” as confirmed in the 2017 state of the union address by the President of the European Commission? Of course it is. The trick being played is the nature of the union and whether “integration” is technically the correct word. As units will remain nominally separate, the Government has deniability. But we must be clear, this reply is attempting to deceive the British people in parliament.
  • Again NATO is mentioned with the implication that it is a safeguard. It is not, it is a partner in, and a pillar of, European Military Union.

Question asked by Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington) on 09 May 2019

Ministry of Defence: EU Defence Policy

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, which Common Security and Defence Policy (a) missions and (b) operations the UK contributes to; and which other countries participate in each of those missions.

Answered by: Mark Lancaster on 14 May 2019

The UK deploys personnel to two military Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations (Operation ALTHEA and Operation SOPHIA), two military training missions in Mali and Somalia, and three civilian missions in Georgia, Kosovo and Ukraine. As an EU Member State, we also provide common funding for all CSDP operations and missions, both military and civilian.

Other countries contribute personnel, equipment and funding to all of the CSDP operations and missions in which we take part. We can provide a snapshot of contributions by other states for the week ending 5 May 2019:

Operation ALTHEA: Austria; Bulgaria; Czech Republic; Greece; Spain; France; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Slovenia; Slovakia; UK; Albania; Switzerland; Chile; Northern Macedonia and Turkey.

Operation SOPHIA: Austria; Bulgaria; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Germany; Denmark; Estonia; Greece; Spain; Finland; France; Croatia; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Latvia; Malta; Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Sweden; Slovenia and UK.

EU Treaty Mission (EUTM) Mali: Austria; Belgium; Bulgaria; Czech Republic; Germany; Estonia; Greece; Spain; Finland; France; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Latvia; Netherlands; Portugal; Romania; Sweden; Slovenia; UK; Albania; Georgia; Montenegro and Serbia.

EUTM Somalia: Spain; Finland; Italy; Portugal; Romania’ Sweden; UK and Serbia.

EU Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) Kosovo: Austria; Belgium; Bulgaria; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Germany; Estonia; Greece; Spain; Finland; France; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Lithuania; Netherlands; Poland; Portugal’ Romania; Sweden; Slovakia; Slovenia; UK and Switzerland.

EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) Georgia: Austria; Belgium; Bulgaria; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; France; Germany; Estonia; Greece; Spain; Finland; Croatia; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Latvia; Malta; Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Sweden; Slovakia; Slovenia and UK.

EU Advisory Mission (EUAM) Ukraine: Austria; Bulgaria; Czech Republic; Germany; Denmark; Estonia; Greece; Spain; Finland; France; Croatia; Hungary; Ireland; Italy; Lithuania; Latvia; Netherlands; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Sweden; Slovakia; Slovenia; UK and Canada.

  • This leaves no doubt we are fully engaged in the Common Security and Defence Policy (pillar 5 of European Defence Union).
  • By extension, The United Kingdom will also be involved in the facility set up to fund the common costs of EU military operations under the Common Security and Defence Policy – The European Peace Facility (pillar 6 of European Defence Union).
  • Note the participation of NATO countries that are not in the EU, such as Turkey and Canada, and European countries that are not in the EU, such as Switzerland. This is part of a global agenda (termed the “Rules-based international order”) that is backed by NATO, and run by the EU, but is not limited in scope by the membership of either organisation.

Question asked by Andrew Rosindell (Romford) on 08 May 2019

Ministry of Defence: EU Defence Policy

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what (a) existing and (b) proposed commitments the Government has made to the European defence union; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by: Mark Lancaster on 15 May 2019

NATO remains the cornerstone of our defence. The UK has welcomed closer cooperation on security and defence at EU level, to the extent that it is coherent with NATO. The Political Declaration agreed in November 2018 provides the basis for a flexible and scalable future security partnership. The UK, along with other EU Member States, has been clear that we retain full sovereign control over defence policy and decision making.

  • Again a very accurate question, using terminology that the Government cannot disavow (The European Defence Union), gets a response starting with the word “NATO”, which is meant to reassure the ill-informed. It is, in reality, pillar 8 of European Defence Union.
  • Once again, the Political Declaration is the document setting UK Defence policy (!)

The 2018 Political Declaration

As the document titled “OUTLINE OF THE POLITICAL DECLARATION SETTING OUT THE FRAMEWORK FOR THE FUTURE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE EUROPEAN UNION AND THE UNITED KINGDOM” seems to be defining the effective ownership of Her Majesty’s Armed forces, let us conclude by examining that document in some detail: Under the heading “FOREIGN POLICY, SECURITY AND DEFENCE” there are eight bullet points:

  • Close, flexible and scalable cooperation on external action at the bilateral and international level, ensuring that the UK can combine efforts with the Union to the greatest effect, including in times of crisis or when serious incidents occur, respecting the autonomy of both Parties.

An open-ended offer of operational integration.

  • Structured consultation and regular thematic dialogues at various levels, and invitations for the United Kingdom to participate in informal sessions of the Union’s Council meetings where appropriate.

Ongoing policy coordination to build a common strategic culture (pillar 7 of European Defence Union)

  • Cooperation in third countries, including on consular provision and protection, and in international organisations and fora, notably in the United Nations. Possibility to support each other’s positions where relevant, including through agreed statements, demarches and shared positions.
  • Consultation on sanctions, with intensified exchange of information where foreign policy objectives are aligned, with the possibility of adopting mutually reinforcing sanctions.

A unified foreign policy

  • Participation by the United Kingdom on a case-by-case basis in Common Security and Defence Policy missions and operations through a Framework Participation Agreement, with intensified interaction at relevant planning stages, proportionate to the level of the United Kingdom’s contribution.

Ongoing UK participation in CSDP

  • Collaboration by the United Kingdom in relevant current and future projects of the European Defence Agency through an Administrative Arrangement, participation of United Kingdom entities in European Defence Fund supported projects, and collaboration by the United Kingdom in Permanent Structured Cooperation projects where invited on an exceptional basis, under the conditions in Union law.

UK membership of the European Defence Agency

UK participation in the European Defence Fund (pillar 4 of European Defence Union)

UK participation in PESCO (pillar 2 of European Defence Union)

  • Timely exchange of intelligence between the United Kingdom and relevant Union bodies.

Integration of intelligence gathering

  • Consideration of appropriate arrangements on space cooperation, including satellite navigation, where in the Parties’ mutual interest.

Integration of satellite infrastructure.

Conclusions

The responses from the Government are a masterclass in deception. Without anywhere using easily understood language, they have confirmed that:

  • A deal has been done with the EU for continued British involvement in European Defence Union.
  • British Participation will continue in all eight pillars of that defence union.
  • British Foreign and Defence Policy is now being determined in Brussels thanks to the 2018 Political Declaration.
  • The Government has already committed Her Majesty’s Armed Forces to the direction and control of a European strategic overlay that sits above national sovereignty.
  • When questioned with sufficient precision, UK Government sources immediately point to NATO as a deflection tactic. But NATO is a pillar of, not a safeguard against, European Defence Union.

Many more questions should now arise. How is national sovereignty to be maintained when a European strategic overlay is the very conceptual foundation of European Defence Union? If planning of defence spending and equipment procurement is to be coordinated to provide an operationally integrated European Force, how is operational integrity and independence of Her Majesty’s armed forces to be maintained? If operational control rests with Brussels, how is it to be regained in a time of crisis when the interest of the United Kingdom diverge from those of the European Union? How does the move towards military mobility affect UK national defence and the integrity of our borders? What will the effect be upon our defence industries and national technological base? As the leading martial nation amongst European powers, how is the UK defence and security inventory valued? What provisions for conscription might arise? And of course how much will all of this cost the British taxpayer?

Let us hope for more questioning in parliament and a realisation that the correct terminology is vital if anything meaningful is to be uncovered.

For unless the truth of European Defence Union can be discerned from within the smokescreen of plausible deniability and the chaff of terminological inexactitude, this is how Britain will fall: Not by the sword but by the bureaucrat’s deceptive pen.

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