German plans for EU army ‘dangerous fantasy that diverts money from NATO’ – Brexiteers
Their comments come after German plans for a European military HQ and the pooling of equipment to serve such a force came to light.
Despite a German defense official telling the Times he had no knowledge of a delay, critics claim the plan had been marked for publication in June but was put back to avoid influencing Britain’s EU referendum.
Former British Foreign Secretary Lord Owen warned the move could see the US withdraw funding from NATO.
“What is needed is a far greater European commitment to NATO, not the creation of a military establishment within a dysfunctional European Union,” he told the Times.
The UK has long-resisted shared defense arrangements, but the EU was given the power to push ahead with a defense force in the 2009 Lisbon Treaty.
The German paper calls for the exercise of “all possibilities” under the treaty to ensure cooperation.
Germany appears to be taking the lead role in any such arrangement, with the paper saying the European powerhouse is “willing to join early, decisively and substantially as a driving force in international debates to take responsibility and assume leadership.”
Former Tory Defense Secretary and outspoken Brexiteer Liam Fox told the paper the plan “is a dangerous fantasy that diverts money away from NATO.”
Supporters of such an army include former Prime Minister and “Remain” advocate Tony Blair.
Writing in Newsweek magazine in January, Blair said there is a strong need for European unity, on defense and elsewhere, and that the EU must bind together and ignore those who are “forever looking backward to break the union asunder.”
He said an EU army “would not supplant NATO but would have the independent ability to take military action at times when Europe’s security interests are threatened when the US may decide not to be involved.”