Bri­tain vows to fight united force plan

Miss­ing are re­mem­bered

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

A demonstrator dressed as a clown and with the num­ber 43 painted on her face poses for a photo dur­ing a protest march in Mex­ico City. Mon­day’s march was held on the sec­ond an­niver­sary of the dis­ap­pear­ance of 43 stu­dents from the Ru­ral Nor­mal School at Ay­otz­i­napa. The gov­ern­ment’s ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tion de­cided the stu­dents were killed and in­cin­er­ated in a fire. But in­ter­na­tional ex­perts have cast doubt on this the­ory. Euro­pean Union na­tions are press­ing ahead with plans to boost mil­i­tary co­op­er­a­tion as Bri­tain vows to op­pose the cre­ation of an EU army or head­quar­ters.

With Bri­tain leav­ing the EU, France and Ger­many have been spear - head­ing moves to boost Europe’s ca­pac­ity to run its own se­cu­rity op­er­a­tions.

Bri­tain in­sists the NATO mil­i­tary al­liance is the only fo­rum for Euro­pean se­cu­rity, and Lon­don has rou­tinely blocked deeper EU co­op­er­a­tion in the past.

“We’re go­ing to op­pose any idea of an EU army or an EU army head­quar­ters, which would sim­ply un­der­mine NATO,” Bri­tish De­fence Sec­re­tary Michael Fal­lon said ahead of EU de­fence talks in Slo­vakia yes­ter­day.

He stopped short of threat­en­ing a veto, say­ing only that “there is no ma­jor­ity here for an EU army”.

De­spite staunch sup­port for NATO, Bri­tain must tread war­ily as it pre­pares to ne­go­ti­ate its de­par­ture from the EU. Once the UK of­fi­cially trig­gers its exit, Lon­don and the EU will have two years to agree on the terms for leav­ing. Play­ing hard­ball on de­fence when it is leav­ing any­way could un­der­mine the ne­go­ti­at­ing good­will of its part­ners. French De­fence Min­is­ter Jean-Yves Le Drian said there is a “need to boost Euro­pean ca­pac­ity” for EU op­er­a­tions.

“We are in a very strong Fran­coGer­man re­la­tion­ship and we think we will be able to make sig­nif­i­cant progress be­fore the end of the year,” he said, stand­ing along­side Ger­man De­fence Min­is­ter Ur­sula von der Leyen.

Von der Leyen in­sisted that “it’s not about a Euro­pean army”.

EU troops have been train­ing po­lice and se­cu­rity forces in Afghanistan, Mali, So­ma­lia and else­where, and re­cently agreed to train the Libyan coast­guard.

Fed­er­ica Mogherini, the EU for­eign pol­icy chief who is chair­ing the talks, said the EU’s treaties do not al­low a Euro­pean army to be cre­ated. She said the at­ten­dance of NATO Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral Jens Stoltenberg in Bratislava is a sign that the EU and NATO are work­ing closely to­gether.

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