As I noted Gordon Brown promise of no further power grabs by the Union boss-class has already been shown to be worthless. Already, before the ink is dry on the Treaty of Lisbon is dry, the Union is planning the final push to complete the process of Statehood which the Lisbon Treaty inexorably begins. That treaty gives the Union all the indicia of statehood: government institutions, legal personality, power to make Treaties, a settled population and territory. We are well on the way to a European Police force and a fully fledged Euro Militia (perfect for putting down the recalcitrant Little People when they complain at the blagging of their country). The two big ones that remain are power over taxation of all kinds and national budgets and s defence force.
As President Sarkozy has said, all policies will be up for grabs under his Presidency. It has been left to his Defence Minister, Hervé Morin, to reveal in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that an beady eye is already being cast on a Union Army as this report on EU Observer demonstrates.
M. Morin described European defence as an “absolute priority” which is at least as important for European integration as the Union’s common currency, the Euro. Given how much store has been set by the Euro as a means of forcing the pace of integration, it is self-evident how important seizing the reins of power over our armed forces is seen. Its importance means that a common defence is high on the policy menu for the French presidency in 2008.
“With the common currency, we have created a strong symbol for Europe. But nothing can better express the European community of fate than common defence, a common sense of Europe’s threats and security interests. A kind of European conscience can grow over the question where, if need be, we want to defend our values with weapons. This is why during the presidency of the European Council in the second half of 2008 we would like to press ahead with a Europe of defence.”
One of the good things about the Union is that those who plot the demise of its nation states do so pretty openly: look and you will find, just as much as if, provided you had the stomach for it, Hitler’s blueprint was pretty much set out in extenso in Mein Kampf. Sadly we take no more notice of the Union’s openness any more than we did of Hitler’s in the 1930s.
M. Morin had a little more in store for us:
“Our own planning staff in Brussels forms part of our ideas, as well as the development of a European security strategy for the coming years. I could also imagine a sort of military Erasmus programme with an institutionalised exchange of professional soldiers within the EU. Of course this would require a harmonization of military education, at least at the start of careers.”
So, those who aspire to hold the Queen’s Commission will, in future, go not to Sandhurst but to the Union’s very own version of St. Cyr. But why not: the Queen’s Commission will have to go as part of all that, as will Sandhurst itself. No more taking of an Oath to serve Her Majesty, but instead a Joyful Oath of Subservience to the Union followed by a Jolly Rendering of the Ode to Joy. Several times.
Of course the real reasons for this move have all to do with France and how she sees her true position within The Union. Since leaving the military structures of NATO in the 1960s, France has stood aloof from the real business of the defence of Europe, putting her own stiff-necked pride and her resentment at American leadership of NATO above that organisation’s good health.
Now she sees a chance to exclude the USA from Europe’s defence (believe it or not) and to substitute herself as the natural leader of Europe. Thus he says that France would like to rejoin the military structures of NATO, but only on condition that the Union’s military structures are strengthened at the same time. Speaking to the US Congress he said:
“NATO cannot be everywhere…The EU must be able to act. I say it here before this Congress. The more successful we are in the establishment of a European defence, the more France will be resolved to resume its full role in NATO.”
The UK and, indeed, most Britons, will profoundly dislike any idea of a Union defence headquarters that will inevitably set itself up in competition to NATO and would prefer any pan-European defence force to focus on peacekeeping and humanitarian tasks, rather than on combat operations which they traditionally see as part of the remit of NATO.
But, with the Union’s new constitution, who is to say that opposition will be effective any more? And if it does lay its hand on our armed forces, you may be quite sure NATO will be allowed to wither on the vine.
Don’t say you have not been warned.