UK would give up right to self-defence if forced to join European army

Article published in The Daily Telegraph, 4 April 2016.

Britain would be forced to join an EU army within five years with “catastrophic” consequences for defence if voters back retaining membership, the man who once commended UK troops in Afghanistan has warned.

Col Richard Kemp told the Telegraph it is an “absolute certainty” that the UK would have to give troops towards an EU army that would undermine Nato and be very costly yet act like a “paper tiger”.

The move could even end Britain’s ability to defend the Falkland Islands because decisions would have to be agreed by EU member states and could never win consensus, warned Col Richard, who is backing Brexit.

The former commander said he had heard officials from Brussels pushing the idea of an EU army during his years working at the Cabinet Office and believed enthusiasm from France and Germany made it “inevitable”.

It comes after disagreement between rival campaigns about whether Britain would be safer in or out of the European Union in the wake of the Brussels terror attack.

Col Richard said: “An EU army is inevitable. As the EU has declared, it is moving to ever closer union, it intendeds to become a fully fledged superstate. That’s the plan.

“An EU army is a key part of that because it will be seen as both part of binding together an EU superstate and saving costs on duplication and overlaps.

“For Britain it would be catastrophic. Whatever the Prime Minister might say about not becoming part of ever closer union we will.

“We would essentially be giving up our right to sovereign self-defence. Control of the EU army would not rest with us but in a collective EU decision.”

He said an EU army will emerge “within 10 years” or “maybe even within five” and warned it would undermine Nato.

Col Richard also warned: “There would never be consensus for an EU military operation to retake the Falklands. It could not happen. Therefore the Falklands could not be retaken or indeed defended if it was invaded again by Argentina.”