'You'll turn your back on British voters': Farage SNAPS at UK involvement with EU army

Posted on Nov 11 2017 - 2:29pm by admin

The former Ukip leader challenged UK ministers to keep out of a new defence cooperation agreement set to be discussed in Brussels on Monday by ministers from the European Union’s 28 states.

Opponents of the EU’s military ambitions fear the UK is poised to sign up to be part of the Permanent Structured Cooperation process – known as Pesco – even though we will leave the EU in 2019.

Supporters of Pesco  – who included the UK – say the aim is to deepen defence cooperation among member states “who are capable and willing” to do so.

Participants will make “binding commitments” jointly to develop defence capabilities and make them available for EU military operations.

Opponents say it is a gateway to the development of a separate EU military organisation – which Brussels denies –  that would challenge and undermine the role of the Nato transatlantic alliance.

Pesco will have its own HQ and plans for EU military missions abroad, and comes alongside plans for a centralised European Defence Fund designed to develop an EU-wide defence industry and reduce reliance on foreign powers like America for equipment.

The EU’s foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini has said Pesco could be ready to take effect in January.

David Banks, of the group Veterans for Britain, told Mr Farage’s LBC radio show that Britain should not be part of the agreement but he feared the Government’s past record of going along with EU defence initiatives suggested it would end up joining, as it has yet to rule out doing so.

Mr Farage said it showed he was right over many years to warn about the EU’s much-vaunted “European Defence Union” ambitions, despite pro-Europeans accusing him of peddling “fantasy”.

“It means a European Army, navy and airforce,” stormed the MEP.

“They’re already establishing their own command centre in Brussels. They’ve got the money, the structures for all it, and they’re divying up which country will do the helicopter work, which will be the major naval provider.

“All of that is happening right now.

“They’re pushing full-steam ahead with the European army. What’s alarming me is that it looks like the UK is signing up to this on Monday.

“I’m furious about this. It should be a massive public row.

“We should not become part of a European army in any way at all.

“It’s a very very bad idea. We are leaving the EU. I don’t believe we should be part of their defence policy.”

He added: “Even if you think a European Army is a good idea, we voted Brexit.

“Surely a government considering signing up to this would be turning its back on the electorate. I’m hoping that by kicking off this debate, we can stop them from signing on Monday.”

A Government spokesperson confirmed Pesco is on the agenda for Monday’s Foreign Affairs Council meeting, where UK delegates will include Defence Minister Earl Howe. But they could not confirm if attendees would be asked to sign a document.

The spokesperson said: “We welcome the progress towards the launch of Pesco and are engaging with its development where appropriate.

“This will be a useful tool to support European security, provided it remains complementary to Nato and encourages Nato-EU cooperation.”

No final decisions have yet been made about whether the UK will participate in Pesco.

But Britain supported the agreement being open to some involvement of non-EU countries “where there is a clear benefit to do so”.

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