Germany plans to control ‘Euro army’ leaked files reveal
GERMANY is pushing to ‘assume leadership’ of an EU army with shared headquarters and military equipment, leaked official papers reveal.
Eurosceptics said the ‘alarming’ revelations show Britain will lose control of military planning if it stays in the EU.
The secret papers, written by German officials, call for ‘use of all possibilities’ under EU treaties to establish deep co-operation between members – building on previous EU plans to set up its own army.
These include a joint civil-military headquarters, a council of defence ministers, and better co-ordinated production and sharing of military equipment.
The leaked documents, due to be published in July, state: ‘German security policy has relevance … far beyond our country. Germany is willing to join early, decisively and substantially as a driving force in international debates … to take responsibility and assume leadership.
‘The more we Europeans are ready to take on a greater share of the common burden, and the more our American partner is prepared to go along the road of common decision-making, the further the transatlantic security partnership will develop greater intensity and richer results.’
The papers also say it is ‘necessary that military capabilities are jointly planned, developed, managed, procured and deployed to raise the interoperability of Europe’s defence forces’.
The news of Germany’s secret plan was seized on by Eurosceptics, who have warned that if Britain votes In, the EU will demand ever greater integration on everything from immigration and asylum to the military.
Former Cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith said: ‘If there’s one thing we know about the EU, it’s that it is engaged on a relentless project of ever deeper integration – and the establishment of a Euro army is an intrinsic part of that.
‘What is alarming, some might say shaming, is that the UK government is currently lobbying the British people to agree to something that will involve surrendering control over national defence to a Euro army.
‘The prospect of having our defence policy dictated by Brussels will be a huge concern to British troops – as well as the public at large – and makes a mockery of the claim that Britain is stronger in the EU. With the euro collapsing, and the visa-free travel zone set to extend from the English Channel to the Syrian border, the Euro army is not a project that anyone should sign up to.’
Ukip defence spokesman Mike Hookem said ‘to lose control of our army to the EU would be the end of sovereignty in the UK’ The warnings came on another day of claim and counter-claim in the referendum battle.
Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former Tory foreign secretary, claimed there will be ‘dancing in the Kremlin’ if Britain votes to leave. He said Brexit could cause ‘substantial’ costs for UK global influence and ‘negligible’ benefits.
Meanwhile, a committee of peers warns today that a Leave vote would throw into doubt the rights of two million British expats living in the EU. The Lords’ European Union Committee said Brexit negotiations would need to cover residence rights, rights to take up employment, and access to healthcare and social security – which Britons currently enjoy as EU citizens.
The committee said this would be a ‘complex and daunting task’.