Macron criticised over push for EU army by Italian MEP
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Prominent Eurocrats have recently called for a rapid reaction force of up to 50,000 troops to be created so it can unilaterally deal with situations like the collapse of the war-torn country’s Western-back regime. While the news was welcomed with gleeful joy by Europhiles as a sign of ever-closer integration, NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned that it could “divide Europe”.
News of the plans, and Nato’s reaction, attracted a predictably hostile reaction.
Many pointed to comments from former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg – who publicly insisted there would never be an EU army in 2015.
Former Tory MEP David Bannerman tweeted: “The EU Army that Nick Clegg said wasn’t happening is now being pushed as a 50,000 strong ‘quick reaction force’ by the EU foreign minister.
“Typically (the) EU always sees any problem – like Afghanistan withdrawal – as an opportunity. The answer being ‘More Europe!’”
Independent Irish MEP Clare Daly said: “The largest military in the world defeated, Afghanistan in tatters, NATO’s mission exposed as a twenty-year lie.
“You’d have to be especially oblivious to think this is a good moment to talk up a new EU army.
“Seriously, does this man have any advisers?”
A third wrote: “NATO chief rightly says that any EU army will ‘divide Europe’. Too true!”
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However, with many EU nations failing to meet Nato’s commitment to spend at least two percent of GDP on defence, others said the army was unlikely to ever get off the ground.
One sceptic wrote: “If the EU is to develop as a serious player, it needs more than just greater political unity – it needs hard power.
“However, judging by how tight-fisted most EU members are with military budgets, this one isn’t happening any time soon.”
Meanwhile, Richard Whitman, a professor of politics and international relations at the University of Kent, told France24: “It will be hard to convince some member states that collective EU defence would bring the same security as NATO’s US-backed defence arrangement.”
He added: “Nobody in the EU has ever been able to come up with a decision-making arrangement that takes national divides into account while facilitating expeditious decision-making; it’s either the lowest common denominator or grand rhetorical comments tied to absurd propositions.
“Military action is politically defensible only when taken by national leaders and parliaments – and it’s difficult to see that being worked around.”
Mr Stoltenberg, a former Norwegian prime minister, told the Telegraph: “I welcome more European efforts on defence but that can never replace Nato and we need to make sure that Europe and North America band together.
“Any attempt to weaken the bond between North America and Europe will not only weaken Nato, it will divide Europe?
“Because any weakening of the transatlantic bond will also divide Europe.”
He added: “Any attempt to establish parallel structures, duplicate the command structure, that will weaken our joint capability to work together because with scarce resources we need to prevent duplication and overlapping efforts.
“The specific proposals have not been discussed in Nato, we have not seen any details.”
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