Creation of European Army backed by 36% of Brits – poll
Millions of British people would support a standing European Union (EU) military force, according to a study by polling firm YouGov.
Carried out on behalf of Cambridge University, the findings indicate 36 percent of people in the UK would support a pan-European military force, a conclusion which jars with widely-held perceptions of British Euroskepticism.
A further 36 percent did not know how they felt or had no strong leanings, while 29 percent said they were strongly opposed.
Unsurprisingly, UK Independence Party (UKIP) voters were the most opposed, with 51 percent against the idea, while 47 percent of Labour voters and 46 percent of Liberal Democrat voters backed the idea.
Conservative voters were 31 percent for and 36 percent against the idea of a combined European force.
A solid 60 percent majority felt the UK should work closely with European nations on broader issues of foreign policy in the wake of the Paris attacks.
The findings were published to coincide with the opening on Thursday of the joint YouGov/Cambridge University Centre for Public Opinion and Policy Research.
In May a row broke out between senior EU figures and UKIP chiefs, for whom military integration is anathema.
At the time, German Defense Minister Ursula Von der Leyen said: “The European Army is our long-term goal. But first we have to strengthen the European Defense Union.”
“The United States also wants us Europeans as a powerful force within NATO.
A European army? The EU fanatics would use it against Europeans, to punish those who question their utopia https://t.co/DYZ4QdVHmU— PaulPopper (@formerleft) November 27, 2015
“To achieve this, some nations with concrete military cooperation must come to the fore – and the Germans and the Dutch are doing this.”
Her comments enraged UKIP MEP Mike Hookem, who branded the idea “a further attempt by the EU to once and for all destroy the UK’s national integrity and security.”
“The EU has a long record of creating institutions through the ‘back door’ and the creation of an EU army will be no different.
“All of a sudden, the British public will be presented with a ‘done deal’ and British troops will find themselves operating under the EU flag rather than the Union flag.”