Major General Julian Thompson, who was a Royal Marines commander in the Falklands conflict, has told the Daily Express that three aspects of Theresa May’s deal with French President Macron at Sandhurst threatens to pull Britain into a Brussels run military force.
His warning comes after the European Commission confirmed that Hawkes Associates has become the first British company to be involved in the European Defence Fund.
Major General Thompson, who is now chairman of the pro-Brexit Veterans for Britain, highlighted concerns over the Anglo-French deal for Britain to engage with the controversial European Defence Fund.
He said: “UK involvement in these programmes would bind the UK to collective decision making in several other respects of defence policy and participation itself is heavily controlled by the EU Commission.
“Participation would be entirely counterproductive for the UK and UK defence industry.
“Criteria for participation are already clearly mapped out and the UK has been unwisely agreeing to those criteria without Parliamentary consent ahead of the Brexit departure agreement.
“It is a nonsense to allege that participation criteria is somehow still in formation or that the UK isn’t already signed up and that the UK would benefit from participation or the entangling commitments it requires.”
He also raised concerns over the UK working with France to develop the European Intervention Initiative which he suggested was a indirect route into the new EU army known as Permanant Structured Cooperation (PESCO).
He said: “It is impossible to perceive of how any new initiative between the UK and France created after PESCO could be done ‘separately from the EU’.
“All members of PESCO military union now look to the joint EU Council and EEAS platforms for foreign policy, defence policy, defence procurement, defence budgeting, defence research, intelligence and deployment decision-making.”
The two countries also agreed to a Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF) to be fully operational by 2020 which he believes could bind Britain to the new EU army.
He said: “The French Government needs to explain how it sees the Lancaster House Treaties being affected by PESCO and the European Defence Fund in particular and EU Defence Union in general.”
Mjr Gen Thompson added: “It would appear that Whitehall is yet to fully perceive of what EU Defence Union actually means and officials have bypassed questions about France’s future status as a non-independent military authority.
“Perhaps they do know and are attempting to place more obligations on France as a brake to further military integration, though this is unlikely as UK officials had the opportunity to apply that brake at the end of 2016 and at the beginning of 2018 it is too late. EU military union and PESCO are well underway.
“It has gone from zero to full legislative agreement in the one year before November 2017.
“Observers in the future will find it amusing that the UK in 2018 was still entertaining bilateral planning with just one of the sub-sets of EU Defence in isolation.
“In addition, the EU Commission openly states that Common Defence is just seven years away. It is time officials viewed these real agreements with the seriousness they deserve, as well as their impact on NATO.”