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A working group on security and defence policy of the Social Democrats (SPD) – one of Germany’s major political parties – has published a 12-page plan to create an EU army. The politicians have called for “the ability to act regardless of tiresome questions of sovereignty”.
But the plan for a Brussels army has prompted a backlash from Express.co.uk readers.
One commented: “Thank god we are out and away from this lot.”
Another hit out at former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, who previously dismissed claims of an EU army, saying: “Didn’t a certain Nick Clegg claim that Farage was lying about plans for an EU army. Cleggy owes Nigel an apology.”
A third fumed: “So during the Brexit referendum the EU and the remain side flatly denied there was ever any plans or need for an EU army, air force and navy.
“We all knew it was on the cards but it made them feel much better if they denied things.
“So the EU will be getting another new defence committee to control this new army and with it the necessary infrastructure that goes with it.
“All this at a time when the EU money cupboard is bare, it is becoming increasingly unpopular with its citizens and it needs to rebuild its finances.”
Another blasted: “Wasn’t this one of the exact examples that Brexiteers said WOULD HAPPEN and the Remainiacs accused us of LYING.”
One more commented: “BUT BUT BUT the Remainer’s told us the suggestions of an EU Army were ideas made up by Leavers, that it was nonsense and would never happen. Were they lying or just naive?”
The 28th Army, set out in a 12-page concept paper published in the Welt am Sonntag newspaper, would report directly to the EU Commission and be under the responsibility of a newly-appointed Commissioner for Defence.
Fritz Felgentreu, defence policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group, said: “Our aim is to improve the EU’s ability to act, regardless of the tiresome questions of sovereignty.
“In addition to the already existing ability to enforce trade policy and the desired greater unity in diplomacy, the 28th Army can sustainably strengthen the military pillar of European cooperation.”
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The head of London-based think-tank Euro Intelligence Wolfgang Munchau criticised the plan.
Mr Munchau said: “Probably the least helpful proposal you can make to help the EU move in the direction of strategic autonomy is to call for a European army.
“The problem is not only that it sets the bar too high, which it does. It also diverts attention from the security discussion the EU needs to have instead.
“This is one of those ideas where you don’t know where to begin dismantling it. Our first thought was this: are they trying to do to defence what they did to the eurozone?”
Mr Munchau claimed that with the monetary union, the bloc ended up creating a dysfunctional system in the hope that future generations would fix it.
He added: “Have they considered what might happen if the European Commission charged into battle and lost? The British are still traumatised by the Charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimean War.
“An army is not an inter-institutional working group that meets on Tuesdays.”
Mr Munchau said the paper shows a “shocking lack of understanding” of the EU’s security priorities.
He said: “The biggest threats to our security right now do not stem from invasion by a foreign power, or our refusal to participate in a war in the Middle East or Africa.
“Our list of priorities would include the following: defence against cyber threats from Russia and China; a restoration of the Iran nuclear deal; the co-ordination of the fight against terrorism; the push against empire-building in our neighbourhood; and a defence of EU companies and individuals targeted by the US for secondary economic sanctions.
“It is rather difficult to think of an EU security interest for which you would need a European army.”
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