June 21, 2016

Jean-Claude Junker’s Barmy EU Army

It was NATO that prevented Soviet tanks rolling through the Fulda Gap, not the European Union, says Comment Central.

In another act of cynicism that has come to be the hallmark of this referendum campaign, EU officials are alleged to be holding off on announcing plans for the formation of a European defence force until Thursday’s vote is out of the way.

Under plans drawn up by the European Union’s chief of foreign affairs and security policy, Federica Mogherini, the EU is looking to establish a joint headquarters to oversee shared military assets provided by member states. The move would mark the first step in fulfilling Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s dream of his very own EU Army.

Junker’s officials argue such an army would enhance defence cooperation, afford the European Union greater standing on the world stage, and ensure it is taken more seriously as an international force.

The proposals have been met with alarm on this side of the Channel. A string of policymakers and military types, including former Chief of the Defence Staff, Lord Guthrie, have criticised the proposals, arguing that they risk undermining NATO.

Most troubling, and in a shameless attempt to justify their position and bolster their own sense of self-importance, European officials have sought to rewrite the history books by claiming it was the EU, rather than NATO, that brought peace to Europe’s shores.

But the plans are dangerous. By forming a force to rival NATO, far from boosting our security, they threaten to destabilise it.

As Lord Guthrie recently explained: “There are [already] too many ministers, officials, HQs, generals, admirals and air marshals as it is. [An EU Army] would mean, even more than today, that we would not be spending money on the people who make the difference.”

An EU Army would be like having two sets of hands on the tiller of European security. It would split resources, duplicate efforts and waste vast sums of European taxpayers’ money. All of this at a time when Europe is facing the greatest migration crisis since the Second World War, and an increasingly belligerent Russian neighbour on its Eastern periphery.

Another shortcoming with a European Army is that it would lack effective leadership. Like it or not, a key advantage of NATO is that America, due to its size and military clout, offers direction. There is a clear chain of command, able to make decisions quickly. Without America, it would be left to representatives from the 28 member states to make decisions by committee. Never an easy task.

And on that point, a continual bugbear for the US is the seeming inability of many of her European allies to allocate sufficient resources to their military budgets. By offering more junior players a seat at the top table, you remove any incentive for them to invest in their respective military budgets. They get prestige and positioning on the cheap.

Better to base defence agreements on willingness to act, rather than geographical proximity. This would allow the flexibility for countries, such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, all of whom have effective militaries, to play a role.

An EU Army is a bad idea. The European Union would do well to tend to its more pressing priorities. It has the slowest economic growth of any continent on Earth (with the exception of Antarctica). One-in-five young people living in the Eurozone is out of work. Meanwhile, far-right extremism, the likes of which have not been seen since the War has returned to the continent. Tackling these problems should be Europe’s priority, not embarking on Euro-vanity exercises like setting up its own army.

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Comment Central
Comment Central
Setup in 2016, Comment Central is a forum for policy debate and discussion. Editorially free-market, the site is intended to mirror the portfolios of Government, it therefore covers a broad range of topics, including commentary and analysis regarding the latest healthcare reforms, to musings about the state of play in US politics.
  • Shadow Warrior

    Hammond is continuity Brown. He is a hand-wringing lefty looking for clever wheezes to raise more tax in ways that people don’t immediately notice.

  • captainslugwash

    I predict the Budget will attempt to show the Left how caring the Tories are, and it will be funded by screwing over the working man.
    If Corp Tax comes down, I bet Divi tax will be going up.
    I would love to be wrong.

  • skynine

    We really need to look at tax credits, in particular in work tax credits that encourage people to work part time to preserve the benefits. 45% of women work part time and I would hazard a guess that tax credits are the main cause. This leads to low pay, low skill work in supermarkets and the retail sector including coffee shops. The government needs to get back to the employer paying people to do a job for economic reasons rather than to get onto the tax credit ladder. Like all government benefits it distorts the market and diverts government expenditure into non productive areas.
    The refrain that the government has cut expenditure is not true, it increases every year as more and more goes into welfare.

  • MrVeryAngry

    fat chance

  • MrSauce

    So, when wouldn’t we want a ‘budget for growth’?

  • Rob

    I note that the UK Government has just slapped on a 25% tax charge for anyone moving abroad and wishing to move out their private pension from the UK.

  • SonofBoudica

    The Remoaners will do their utmost to sabotage the Government’s negotiating position. They do not want a successful outcome; they want a failure. They want to be able to scream “Told you so!” from the rooftops.

  • EnglandLaments

    Thank goodness for Andrew Neil, the one media hack who scares the pants off the established politicians. He was spot on with Heidi Allen!

  • joshuafalken

    I had a very long, hard, studied and considered look at the hope, care and aspirations of all Europeans, before I voted to get the UK out of the toxic grasp of Brussels.

    The European Union and it’s charge of “ever closer union” has borrowed and spent its way to oblivion, whilst enslaving the working and middle classes in debt.

    The central control mantra of the unaccountable Brussels ruling elite, delivered through a mixture of socialism, globalism and corporatism is entirely responsible for the populist revolt by the millions of “Just About Managings” across Europe.

    We must remember the ultimate goal of socialists, globalists and corporatists is control, not prosperity. see https://mises.org/blog/goal-socialists-socialism-—-not-prosperity.

    Social equality and economic growth always fail under central control and fighting against the Brussels doctrine on behalf of all Europeans is why I voted for Brexit.

    Britain has a long history of helping Europeans depose tyrants and Brussels is just the latest incarnation.

    Britain is the most racially advanced and accepting society on the planet. We welcome those in need and those that can help us with open arms and a smile; that will not change.

    We are also one of the most innovative, talented and open societies in the world, which why everyone wants to live here. However, we cannot fit everyone in, so we have to have clear, balanced and fair immigration policy which is where the arguments start between the monetarists and humanists will never be reconciled.

    I thought long and hard before coming to the conclusion that leaving the EU was in the best interest of all Europeans, as Brussels is toxic and cannot be reformed from within.

    Also, I find it insulting that people who voted Remain have insufficient faith in British ingenuity, compassion and skill to get a good deal for us and see the Europe that we love get a better deal from Brussels and the reform that European people deserve. https://mishtalk.com/2017/03/29/bad-brexit-deal-better-than-no-deal-mathematical-idiocy-odds-of-no-deal/ and https://www.worldheadlines.info/2017/03/after-brexit-9-reasons-to-be-bullish-on-great-britain/

    The politics of left verses right are dead because neither have delivered the promised economic growth and social mobility for anyone, but themselves. The populists are not selfish per-se, they just want to take back control of their own destiny that left/right politicians have freely given away and/or exploited for their own ends. In my constituency, the local residents group are taking over the councils as politicians ignore voters, so Westminster should beware of the well-organised, local resident independents at the next election. This is a peoples revolution which should be shouted from the rooftops, but liberals remained deafened by the socialist, globalist and corporatist “vested interests” that have spectacularly failed us and are obediently crying foul and fake.

    There will be an initial unpalatable inflationary cost to fighting globalism and rolling back central control that few appear to have factored in, but dismantling failed left/right vested interests should eventually free libertarian socially-conservative capitalism from the shackles of TBTF corporatism to feed economic growth and social mobility.

  • agdpa

    The EU usually makes the wrong decision – on immigration, on freedom of movement, on the euro, on the Ukraine, etc. etc. Little hope it will get Brexit right.

  • brownowl

    Eh? Reference please!

  • Neil2

    Sod caring. Screw the spongers and breeders. Kill HS2. Stop all “green” subsidies. Slash “foreign aid” and walk away from the EUSSR with immediate effect.

  • Rob
  • John C

    What a confused article. It conflates surveillance by the security services with poor defences against fraud.

  • John C

    Err, it’s the UK that’s leaving the EU, not vice versa.

  • John C

    Me, now. ‘Growth’ is a manic obsession.

  • La Face Nord

    Mr Redwood – are you aware of the Biased BBC website? It’s been exposing their agenda for a long time, but I imagine you’ve been well aware of the BBC’s agenda for quite some time…

  • Contact Rvtech

    The post is great

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