Britain vows to oppose any idea of EU army

NATO soldier

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has said that Britain will oppose anything resembling an EU army, amid a push in the EU for more military cooperation following British voters’ shock decision to leave the bloc.

“We are leaving the EU, but we remain committed to the security of Europe.

“Europe needs to step up to the challenges of terrorism and of migration.

“But we are going to continue to oppose any idea of an EU army or EU army headquarters, which would simply undermine NATO,’’ Mr. Fallon said in Bratislava ahead of a meeting with his EU counterparts.

Germany and France have led the push for a strengthened military role for the EU, with their plans including a headquarters for the bloc’s missions.

Britain has long been averse to military integration and it will have a say in EU matters until it leaves the bloc – a process expected to take years.

Fallon said a number of other member states also believed that an EU army cuts across the sovereignty of individual nation states.

However Germany and France’s defence ministers, Ursula von der Leyen and Jean-Yves Le Drian, argued that nothing of the sort is foreseen.

“This is not a step in the direction of a European army.

“To the contrary, this is about better integrating the different strengths of European countries, so that we can together act faster,’’ von der Leyen said.

He however listed the creation of a European mobile hospital or logistical hub as ideas.

In addition, EU foreign policy Chief Federica Mogherini said anything done on European Defence would be in full complementarities with NATO.

(dpa/NAN)

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