It is clear that the EU is making concrete plans to create a European army with little in the way of public discussion, despite the potential damage to NATO, writes UKIP MEP William Dartmouth.
•Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said recently that the European Union is not about peace, but about power. We know now that Blair was greatly in favour of waging war. In his first six years in office, Blair ordered British troops into battle five times. Indeed, more than any other prime minister in British history. It included wars in Iraq twice; Kosovo in 1999; Sierra Leone in 2000 and Afghanistan in 2001.
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, of which I am a member, on Tuesday voted in favour of a report authored by Elmar Brok and Roberto Gualtieri calling for, among other things, EU battle groups as well as a permanent military operational headquarters - in which every national delegation is to have a military attaché. All this is part of expanding the role and scope of the European External Action Service, which currently has a budget of €500m per year.
And of course, the report talked about economies of scale, downplaying national embassies and upsizing EEAS representations. There has been a lot of talk in the last month about growing German hegemony in Europe. Who can ignore German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in her Kalspreis speech, in Aachen on May 13, 2010 when she said: "We have a shared currency but no real economic or political union. This must change. If we were to achieve this, therein lies the opportunity of the crisis and beyond the economic, after the shared currency, we will perhaps dare to take further steps, for example for a European army."
Where most people think that talk of a European army is pie in the sky, it is now a matter of military boots on the ground. It is clear that the EU is making concrete plans to create a European army. These are very dangerous people indeed. It is one thing to have federalist fantasy of a currency union and economic union. That is bad enough. Just ask the suffering people of Greece, Cyprus and Spain.
However it becomes incredibly dangerous when this EU political union, with little public discussion, creates a military arm ready for war and looking to expand. This whole thing could also be perceived by the Americans to be a threat to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and this is detrimental to the military protection of every nation state in Europe. The United Kingdom should refuse to become involved in building up a common EU army. The political and economic consequences of the union are bad enough without giving it a military wing as well.
I would hate to see British soldiers being used as cannon fodder for the EU as it attempts to expand its empire. The report by Brok and Gualtieri called on the EU to "implement the full potential of the Lisbon Treaty by pursuing a comprehensive approach that integrates diplomatic, economic, development and - in the last resort and in full compliance with the United Nations charter – military means behind common union strategic policy guidelines in order to promote the security and the prosperity of EU citizens and their neighbours".
We already have in place a European Defence Agency and EU battle groups. The EDA was established with an initial budget of €1.9m in 2004 and by 2011, this budget had grown to €30.5m. The EDA was legalised and made part of the Lisbon Treaty. Its role in encouraging the militarisation of the EU was consolidated by Article 28.3. As the then European Commission President Romano Prodi said on February 13, 2001, to the European Parliament: "Are we all clear that we want to build something that can aspire to be a world power?"
At a press conference on Strasbourg on the July 10, 2007, current European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said:
"Sometimes I like to compare the EU as a creation to the organisation of empire. We have the dimensions of empire."
We must no longer think of the EU as a free trade area - it never was one. It is a custom union, which has grown into a currency union and is looking at present to become a full fiscal and monetary union. Everyone is clear; it is currently a political union.
The next step is to become a military union with its own foreign policy, command and military force. The very shrewd then German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck said in 1880:
"I have always found the word 'Europe' on the lips of those who wanted something from others which they dared not demand in their own names."
It is clear that is EU wishes to become a concrete and active military power to compliment its expansionary political union. It is the duty of every peace-loving respecter of democracy to resist this threatening advance.
William Dartmouth is a UKIP MEP for the South West of England