EU defence spending about integration, not military capability

04-May-2018 @ 13:00

Geoffrey Van Orden Geoffrey Van Orden

Geoffrey Van Orden Geoffrey Van Orden

Geoffrey Van Orden Geoffrey Van Orden

EU defence spending about integration, not military capability

A proposed 22-fold increase in the EU defence budget could mean less money being spent on key areas, Conservative Defence Spokesman Geoffrey Van Orden warned today.

In its draft budget for the period 2021-2027, the European Commission allocates €27.5 billion for defence and security. However, Mr Van Orden fears this steep rise is not good news for the security of Europe.  

He said: "The Commission has always seen EU defence as an aspect of European integration and not in terms of increased military capability.

"Certain member states will calculate their EU contribution as part of their national defence expenditure and then have the excuse to spend less on what really needs to happen, namely improving their national armed forces.

“Secondly, the deliberate development of a separate EU defence organisation is a distraction for those 22 EU countries that are also NATO members. Far from strengthening the Atlantic Alliance separate EU structures will create division, not just between an EU caucus and the United States but between European countries within the EU and those outside, including two of the most powerful European military powers - Turkey, and in due course Britain.

“Thirdly, France will see this as a further opportunity to enhance its defence research, production and exports and will aim to exclude the UK as far as possible - in spite of its bilateral defence treaty with us.”

For all these reasons, Britain needs to do all that it can to maintain a degree of influence in EU defence structures while reinforcing its position as, overwhelmingly, the leading European NATO and a global military power.

Mr Van Orden, a former senior British military officer, added: "The fact is the European Commission is, at heart, a rigid ideological structure driven by one idea - European political integration. The EU’s defence ambitions are a key part of this. No wonder the Brexit negotiations have proved so difficult."

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