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.
  • janetjH

    An army allows one to force your will on countries.
    Why Juncker feels that he will need to enforce his wishes on the nations composing the EU is an interesting question.

    What does he intend doing that he can’t rely on the loyalty of EU nations?

  • Dodgy Geezer

    To be fair, we only ever had to fight poorly-armed third-world troops until May 1940. There was no reason to improve ourselves until then. At that point we had to raise our game to the level of the Germans – which took us a couple of years.

    Meanwhile the British and Commonwealth Navy was able to destroy anything the Germans could send at us, and the British and Commonwealth Air Force fought the Luftwaffe to a standstill.

  • moe_howard

    great idea : all those Reebok wearing, iPhone users cluttering up Calais should be drafted forthwith – refusal to comply punished by all being bundled back to North Africa where they can be used to rebuild Libya : do I have to think of everything myself ???

  • Gary K. Busch
  • toboot

    Junker, as with most of the EU bureaucrats, has delusions of grandeur. The more swollen the EU becomes, so the more power goes to the unelected in Brussels, increasing these delusions of being deities, it is not only the Pope that claims infallibility.

  • born1945

    Bet that’s on the cards ,problem solved aren’t we clever here in Brussels.

  • born1945

    Hitler & Napoleon always used other nations forces to suppress decention.

  • born1945

    Aren’t some these European armies on 5 day weeks, do they stop fighting weekends and or pay overtime

  • Winston Smith

    I admit it I did

  • KilowattTyler

    Armies have at least three potential uses:
    1/ to defend the homeland from external military threats;
    2/ to conquer other countries;
    3/ to maintain the status quo in the homeland, by violently suppressing domestic unrest.

    I suspect that the European Army will be used mostly for the third function listed above, starting in Greece and then elsewhere as naughty people rebel against EU technocratic control.

    Expect Peterloos and Tianamen Squares all over Europe in the not-to-distant future.

  • nightlurker

    They won’t try, it will only be for show and protection of EU commissars. And lets face it they will not need much training to act as bully boys (and girls) to subjugate the rabble on the streets. Just throw expensive equipment at it, made by friends and family of course, got to make a profit from all the hard work setting it up.

  • runningdog

    They think it because they write the curruculum for schools and the editorials for the BBC.

  • JohnInCambridge

    Of course we never get any details of EU power-grabs until they are done deals. But since it wants its own police force as well as its own army and since the EU army will be too feeble for international adventures it is a reasonable assumption that these forces are intended for internal suppression. Given the EU propensity for Goebbels-like propaganda we should try to guess now to how use of these forces will be ‘justified’. For example, were the EU referendum to be proposed in five years’ time it could be declared illegal and those arguing for Brexit would be deemed ‘terrorists’. In the current referendum campaign Remain has come incredibly close to that position, especially by suggesting that Jo Cox’s tragic death is somehow related to those campaigning for Brexit. The mentality is clearly there ready for the EU to take the next step.

  • EppingBlogger

    At whatever level you consider the EU and Remain claim about its efficacy in preserving peace in Europe it falls apart.

    You can look at the dates: they don’t add up. The big threats to peace in Europe were before even the Iron and Steel Community came into being, before the EEC and long before the EU.

    When the EU did try to marshall its member states to avoid a blood bath in a failed federation it also failed and probably the EU’s efforts caused hundreds of thousands of deaths in Bosnia and around. It was NATYO and specifically US leadership that solved that problem.

    Now the EU seeks to replicate and challenge the NATO military preparedness and strategy thereby weakerning it, giving lazy members the excuse to spend less and do less, and opening the way to potential adversaries or competitors to drive a wedge between these two military jurisdictions.

  • Little Black Censored

    Not up to your usual standard, BQ.

  • I suggest you look at hard – and long – the BEF fought to keep the Dunkirk envelope open in 1940; despite being outnumbered, outgunned, ill-equipped and with no re-supply.

  • Winston Smith says so;

  • Landphil

    That’s classified information, but for a bottle of good malt I could be persuaded to talk.

  • Hampsteadpinko

    And they will be just as effective against errr, who exactly?
    That’s all the fun of having a EU army – it will be no darned use at all.

  • gs_schweik

    Easy to guess. But I think they would mostly be wearing riot helmets.

  • gs_schweik

    He’s lying. Look at the control Germany already exercises over Dutch forces.

  • gs_schweik

    You’ve been peeking, haven’t you?

  • gs_schweik

    Yes, I’ve seen all those wartime posters and Aryan propaganda photos. Not a good precedent, is it?

  • lucysdad01

    In fact it was the Waffen SS who were truly a european force.

  • lucysdad01

    Correct asertion and if Hitler had waited until 1043 he may have had a far better chance of defeating Russia when the Whermacht was more fully moterised instead of having a high percentage of horse drawn equipment.

  • lucysdad01

    How many billons are they going to have to spend to bring any hahahaha eu army up to NATO standards considering the US and Canada provide the majority of its capability.

  • Andy

    I think it probably is more to put down internal revolts. Next thing they will need is an EU Executioner and EU Prisons.

  • Landphil

    The European army: the Italians provide the troops, the Belgians are the generals, the Irish do the intelligence, the Germans are the troop entertainers, the Romanians provide the equipment, the British do the catering and everything is paid for by the Greeks.

  • Albert Zbingswiki

    No need! The replacement population from the middle east are being brought in for just this reason, to bring order to Europe, just like in their home lands.


  • Allyup

    The EU elite are masters at low performance and decisions that haven’t a hope of working. Any EU army will be masterfully incompetent. Unless the intention is to use it internally on dissension then that only leave Russia and the Middle East as targets for expansionism. Good luck there.

  • Roger Hudson

    It’s just a multiplication of nice fat cat jobs. Do you ever see ex-officers living on the streets with PTSD ?. Of course not.

  • Tom Catesby

    It would be almost worth it, just to see how the tinpot Napoleon, Juncker and his barmy army managed up against
    Putin’s army, in say, the Ukraine!

  • gs_schweik

    An EU army is one more step, (and a big one), towards removing the member countries’ individual nationality. Effectively, they would no longer be members of an alliance, but components of a superstate.
    NATO (which works), has never attempted this. The last people who tried this were the Nazis.

  • gelert

    I don’t know how well-armed the British were previously, but El Alamein was in 1942 against the Germans.

  • Bill Quango MP

    To be fair, The British and commenwealth army was only really effective against poorly armed Italian troops.
    Up until about 1943.

  • DWWolds

    Philip Hammond on the World at One was trying to argue that there would not be a European Army. His reason was that setting it up would require a treaty change and so we would have a veto. However, as part of Cameron’s supposed “deal” we are giving up our veto on matters related to ever closer union. So, just watch Brussels introduce the moves towards an EU Army as part of the ever closer union project.

  • gelert


  • gelert

    Italians as troopers ?

    You need to learn some history – especially their pathetic performance in WW2 against the brave Greeks. It forced the Germans to come to their rescue and might have caused the Germans to fail in their objective of capturing Moscow in 1941.

    The Italians were only effective against poorly armed African countries.

  • Dr Evil

    Perhaps the EU would introduce conscription and solve youth unemployment at a stroke?

  • Bert

    To whom would they swear allegiance?
    Presumably they would be highly paid, effectively mercenary guns for hire.
    Protectors or enforcers?

  • TRAV1S

    The EU came into existence in 1993 after the fall of the Soviet Union. So why do they think they kept the peace?

  • CPSJ

    I can see them now, all lined up ready to defend us all. Uniforms, rifles, boots, the lot. But what shape will the helmet be?

  • Hampsteadpinko

    Just think – all those unemployed Greek, Spanish and Italian lads would serve as troopers! (No French please because they can’t fight without a 5-course meal.)
    Then the EU unemployment rate would plummet and the EU would become a shining beacon of economic prosperity!
    What’s not to like?

  • Allyup

    One in 5 young people are out of work in the EU but the unemployment rate is much higher in the PIIGS was a direct result of the imposition of a common currency

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    In an exclusive interview for my Blog, he explains why it is essential for Britain to play its full part in the New Europe:


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