EU army:Think tank calls for ‚UK-EU defence-capability’ | Politics | News

A controversial report has floated the idea of a “joint UK-EU defence capability” in a move which could pave the way for a continent-wide army – involving UK troops.

The document is one of a series published by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change intended to deliver “radical-yet-practical solutions to reimagine the state for the 21st century“.

Entitled Reimagining Defence and Security: New Capabilities for New Challenges, it argues that the post-Cold War dream of a peaceful Europe “has been replaced by a Europe wracked by Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine”.

The report, authored by among others General Sir Nick Carter, former Chief of the Defence Staff, and Michele Flournoy, former US Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, argues: “Given this complex, volatile and increasingly dangerous geopolitical context, this paper makes a compelling case for rethinking defence and national-security policy, particularly for middle powers like the UK and many of its European allies.

“A fresh assessment of strategic priorities and how best to achieve them is essential, along with hard choices about where to accept and manage risk, given that national resources for defence are never unlimited.”

Not only did the UK need to rethink strategy, the think tank – launched by the former Labour Prime Minister in 2016 – argues, but a “more centralised approach that better integrates all of the instruments of national power is critical”, together with “rethinking how the public and private sectors work together to achieve national objectives”.

The introduction continues: ”Given the rapid pace of change, the strategy-development process also needs to give the future a larger seat at the table.

“This paper helpfully recommends several structural innovations to develop more effective and resilient whole-of-nation policies.”

The lengthy document is divided into a total of 11 sections – including a long list of conclusions and recommendations, divided up into five sub-headings: Strategy; Capabilities; Procurement; Personnel; and Alliances.

This says: “If only the US and China can even begin to consider projecting their military strength unilaterally, every other country needs the right allies, alliances and partnerships to deliver their defence strategies.

“The UK will need to refresh and update which allies it draws upon, how it works with them and how these partnerships are constructed to guarantee delivering a security strategy that is worth more than the sum of its parts.”

Under the Capabilities heading, the report pushes for Britain to conduct, “with other European countries with advanced military capabilities”, an urgent review to identify military capabilities “where Europe is overly reliant on the US”.

It continues: “Different countries should then agree on action to procure the most essential of these capabilities, complementing US strengths in the process and helping to plug any capability gaps that would arise from a reduction in support.”

Under Procurement, in a sentence that will raise eyebrows among ardent Brexiteers such as Reform UK leader Nigel Farage, who has long been concerned about the prospect of a European army, it calls for Britain to “explore a joint UK-EU defence-capability review to identify collective asset and capability shortfalls, and the UK’s potential participation in the European Defence Fund”.

Speaking in 2014, Mr Farage clashed with then-Liberal Democrat leader and deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on the subject.

Mr Clegg accused Mr Farage of peddling “dangerous fantasies” after the then-UKIP leader said he did not want Britain to be part of an „expansionist“ EU foreign policy, voicing his concern that the EU wanted its own „army and navy“.

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