The Greek tragedy deepens

Retired Greek Diplomat Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos spoke at CIB’s 2017 rally. This is a translation of an interview he recently gave to Afrique-Asie of France. Ambassador Chrysanthopoulos was the Secretary General of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization from 200 to 2012. He represented Greece at the U.N.,was director of the diplomatic cabinet of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Director general of EU affairs. His diplomatic experience extends from Toronto to Warsaw and from Erevan to Beijing. He is fighting today against the policy of reducing the sovereignty of his country by the EU and NATO.

1) Last January and February massive demonstrations were held in Greece in support of the return  of national sovereignty and the protection of territorial integrity of the country. After almost two centuries from the uprising of Greece against the Ottoman occupation, it seems that your country remains to be decolonised. How have we reached this point?

The issue is that we liberated ourselves from the Ottomans only to find ourselves under the influence of the great Powers of the time. Our first leader of independent Greece was Ioannis Kapodistrias, who as foreign Minister of Russia played an important role in creating the Swiss constitution. However we assassinated him and was replaced by a Bavarian king. Our first political parties were called the Frenchofile,the Russianofile and the Englishofile – all under the influence of the country they were named after.

During WW1, Athens and Piraeus were bombed by the French fleet in order to force the pro-German king to abdicate and Greece to join the allies. Then the fascist pro-German prime minister of Greece Ioannis Metaxas on October 28,1940 opposed Mussolini when he wanted to march through Greece. Greek armed forces threw the Italians back to the sea from Albania.

All through WW2 our resistance was under British domination until the USA took over in 1947.The NATO-supported military dictatorship collapsed after seven years in 1974 but at a tragic cost since almost half of Cyprus was and still is occupied by Turkey.

In 1976 we opted to join the EEC mainly for political reasons-to protect our fragile democracy and Greece from Turkey. We joined the EEC in 1981 and right after PASOK of Andreas Papandreou came to power, for a few years Greece enjoyed an independence that it never had before. The US bases were removed, Greece  became an important actor in international politics respected by the Non-aligned movement .

Papandreou had made world headlines by organising in 1983  a meeting between Mitterand and Gadaffi  in Crete.

From the 90s onwards a united Germany became gradually the driving force of the EU  which from an EEC of the people became the EU of the bankers. And as the EU supported the bankers, Greek politicians became professional liars and were elected on programs that were never  kept. George Papandreou  was elected in 2009 with the slogan that there were sufficient financial resources to allow the country to progress, only to put Greece under IMF and EU control with the Memorandum of 2010 which never was voted by Parliament and was instrumental in bringing financial and social collapse.

 The left party SYRIZA was elected with the slogan  we will denounce the Memorandum and thus save Greece. When Brussels started blackmailing the Tsipras government ,he called for a referendum which by a large majority – 62% – rejected further austerity measures. During a Summit in Brussels right after the July 2015 referendum, Germany blackmailed Tsipras by telling him that if he did not do what Berlin wanted, then they would create a bank run in Greece and further chaos. Tsipras got scared and instead of cutting off diplomatic relations with Germany for a period, he succumbed and since then has been following orders from Brussels to the detriment of Greece and its people.

2) Why is the Turkish army once again displaying aggression towards the Greek islands of the Aegean? Do you see a link between between the Turkish officers that have asked for asylum in Greece and the Greek officers being held in Turkey?

Erdogan is taking advantage of the fact that Greece and its people are exhausted by the austerity measures imposed upon it. Furthermore he is going through a phase of illusions de grandeur and wants to recreate the Ottoman empire. Statements like “We had territories that we lost but that we may get back, we will shed our blood to make Turkey a great country again and if necessary we shall shed the blood of others” are not helpful for consolidating  peace and stability. I do not see a link between the Turkish officers who have applied for asylum and the two Greek officers that were apprehended, but I cannot exclude the thought that the Turkish authorities make such a link. The issue of the Greek islands was first raised by Turkey in 1973 when oil was discovered in the Aegean. From 1923 until then it had never been an issue. Now this aggression is within the policy of taking advantage of an exhausted Greece.

3) Why is President Erdogan opening the issue of the Lausanne Treaty by threatening directly his Greek neighbour? Is it a simple populist manoeuvre?

I think that my answer to the previous question covers this question. It is not a populist manoeuvre. The Lausanne Treaty has been violated ad nauseam by Turkey mainly as far as the minority issues are concerned. The recent invasion of Syria also constitutes a violation of this Treaty which defines the eastern borders of Turkey. Turkey thinks that by reopening the Lausanne Treaty it may get a better deal than now. A few islands for example.

4) What is the situation of the Greek Armed Forces 10 years after the gradual descent of your country to hell? Do you think that they are in a position to defend the integrity of national territory?

It is true that the eight years austerity measures have taken a toll on the Greek armed forces but not to the extent that it cannot fight. Our air force is one of the best of NATO since we have been practicing everyday chasing away Turkish warplanes violating Greek air space and our Navy is in good condition. Overall the Greek Armed forces are in a position to defend  the territorial integrity of our country.

5) What is NATO doing to help Greece and Turkey, who are both members, to find a peaceful solution to their differences?

Absolutely nothing, since NATO does not deal with differences between its members. It only deals with differences between a NATO member and a non NATO country. We saw that in 1974 when Turkey invaded Cyprus and NATO stayed out of the issue.

6) Do you think that the Greek army can play a role so that your country can recover its sovereignty or it might awaken the old demons of the dictatorship of the colonels?

The Greek Armed Forces should remain vigilant to defend our borders against external threats. And when the Greek people attempt to overthrow the Athens régime, the Greek Armed Forces should refrain from following possible orders to defend the regime.

7) Returning to relations between Germany and Greece, how would you describe them today?

I would say that they would fit more to relations between a colony and a colonial power. With one difference, of course. In the colonial period, the colonial power would defend the colony against external threats which is not the case today. But between Greek and German people there are no problems. At least for the moment.

8) Where are we on the question of German reparations for the damages inflicted during the German occupation of Greece from 1941 to 1944?

There is no movement there also. Germany considers the issue closed, since Athens did not raise it at reunification. The Athens regime does not want to anger its masters by raising it. There is, however, one item that even Germany has difficulty in avoiding .That is the loan that was imposed upon Greece by Germany and Italy in 1942. According to that, Greece was obliged to pay 1.25 billion drachmas per month for costs of occupation to Germany and Italy. In 1964 it was estimated that the total amount that Germany owed to Greece was about 400 million DM. The loan is something separate from reparations which are still outstanding according to Greece. Yet the Athens regime is not doing anything about it. .The value of the loan today, if it were to be repaid by Germany to Greece, would cover the so-called debt amounting to 300 billion euros.

9) You write: “At the moment, capitalism without frontiers is crushing everything in its passage and that our leaders have chosen for a “globalisation” benefitting only the banks and the multinationals, they are presenting the collapse of our countries as a natural phenomena that is unavoidable. At the same time they are constantly repeating to us that the “minorities” (ethnic,national, religious) of Europe “are awakening” and that their claims are legitimate but result in the weakening of the sovereignty of the State to which they belong.”

Once again the Balkans are on the verge of a war, fomented by a reunited Germany. With the objective to strangle Russia, NATO is advancing its pawns, breaking the engagement made to Gorbachev at the moment of the German reunification. The last pieces of former Yugoslavia are being integrated, one by one into NATO. You condemn the breaking up of the Balkans to non-viable client states, while at the same time pointing your finger at Germany. According to you, what is the interest of Berlin in defending such a policy since the collapse of Yugoslavia in 1991?

It is actually the same policy followed by Hitler before and during WW2, to control energy resources. By controlling the Balkans, Germany has easy access to the energy resources in the Middle East, Eastern Mediterranean and Azerbaijan.Not only that but it will be easier for Berlin to transfer the oil or gas to Germany.

10) Do you think that the Macedonian question is on the way to be solved since the leaders in Skopje agreed to change the name of their international airport and their highway?

No. It is more complicated than that. Already there are problems. Greece insists that the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) changes its Constitution so that all nuances of irredentism are removed. Skopje refuses to do it. The vast majority of the Greek people are against ceding the name Macedonia to Skopje, a name that has belonged to Hellenism for the last three thousand years. Then if you give a country a false history, you create the conditions for a failed state. Also the politicians of FYROM do not believe in their “Macedonian” heritage. I have heard the present President of FYROM  Ivano, saying to a Georgian vice president in 2012 that the word Macedonia derives from the Turkish word dunya-which means world!!!!!!.Then why should FYROM enter NATO? What is the danger? where is the danger? Of course the West has so easily forgotten the promises given to Gorbachev in 1991 that Nato will not be enlarged  if Germany is allowed to be reunited. And we saw what happened .All the former Warsaw pact countries are today NATO members.

11)Is the current Greek Government in a position to defend Cyprus givne the ambiguous positions of prime Minister Tsipras on this issue?

Diplomatically it can but militarily it is not easy because of the distance. But that goes for all governments. We saw what happened in 1974. Itt was the coup d’état against Makarios organised by Athens that provoked the Turkish invasion. When the military regime collapsed the armed forces in Greece were in disarray and in no position to defend Cyprus. However if the circumstances were different it would have been very difficult for the invasion to have succesfully taken place, taking into consideration that the Turkish air force sank one of their destroyers.

A Nation Once Again!

By Alan Smith. This article is used with full permission of the author.

Now that Parliament has agreed that the Government may negotiate the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union, discussion on the subject is concentrating on the degrees of hardness that Brexit should take. I think we should step back from the detail and define the essence of Brexit, for which I offer the following, in the language of the Book of Common Prayer: “The Queen in Parliament has the chief power in the United Kingdom and is not, nor ought to be, subject to any foreign jurisdiction.”

Should the solution agreed with the EU leave the UK under the jurisdiction of any European court or under rules that give the EU the power to decide unilaterally the terms of future transactions between us, then the government will have violated the referendum decision. Any future agreement between the UK and the EU or its constituent states should be on the basis of two, or more, sovereign states freely agreeing one or more joint actions. The UK would then be free to negotiate treaties with other states throughout the world, taking care to ensure that we protect our essential industries against hostile trade policies.

The withdrawal of the UK from the jurisdiction of the various European  courts is necessary but not sufficient for our freedom. In my opinion it is also necessary to abolish our own Supreme Court and transfer its powers back to the House of Lords, reinstating the post of Lord Chancellor to the powers it held before Tony Blair’s ill-fated attempt to abolish it. That ws one of hte lighter moments in political life this century when Mr Blair announced the abolition of the post of Lord Chancellor  and was then advised that it could not be done because certain actions had to be performed by the holder of that post. He quickly backtracked and now we have the post of “Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice”. I do not wish to belittle any of the holders of this post but the position is listed seventh in the  list of members of the Cabinet and may be held by politicians with ambitions to hold higher office. This contrasts with the previous post of Lord Chancellor held by a politician with no further political ambitions, who was a lawyer respected by the profession and who was therefore in a position to speak truth to power.

Leaving the EU does not mean that the UK is leaving Europe: in the Middle Ages, England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland were part of Christendom without being part of the Holy Roman Empire. There is no need  for us to have bad relations with those states that remain within the EU, but that depends, in part, on those states realizing that their interests are not necessarily the same as those of the great wen of Brussels. In particular, there is no reason for us not to continue to maintain armed forces on the continent of Europe for the defence of these states and ourselves. However, should Brussels seek to impose severe financial penalties on the UK for daring ot leave the EU it may be necessary for us to reappraise this position. In addition, should the EU proceed with the project of a “European Army” in such a way that it makes cooperation with NATO impossible, that too would raise the question of continued British forces on the continent as well as those of the USA.

The principal objection to the EU is that it is a project ploughing on towards a “United States of Europe” regardless of circumstances or the wishes of its member states. Europe is not eighteenth century America; the original thirteen states of the USA spoke the same language and joined together in a successful revolt against the same mother country. What worked there and then may not work here and now.

Was there an alternative to the EU and would it still be possible? Certainly there was significant support in the UK for the Gaullist idea of l’Europe des patries, a “Europe of nations.”  This would operate like the Commonwealth, with the nations of Europe cooperating on a variety of projects with a minimal secretariat to coordinate activities, unlike the vast army employed in Brussels. Whatever happens to Europe, we should maintain the idea of l’Europe des patries as a hope for the future.

The chaotic appearance of the present negotiations over Brexit may tempt us traditionalists to remain where we are. the drawback to this view is that “where we are” is on a moving train and only the illuminati know the destination.

Russia is as much of a threat to Britain as the Klingons

Britain could not cope with an attack by either, but then neither are likely to invade any time soon

By Peter Hitchens. This article first appeared in Peter Hitchens’ blog. and also appeared in Russia Insider. It is used with full permission of the author. He writes a regular column for the Mail on Sunday.

I can’t blame the Army for trying to save itself from the current mad round of cuts, but could there be anything more ludicrous than a warning that we need to beef up the Army because it can’t cope with an attack on Britain by Russia? Likewise we could not cope with an attack on Britain by Klingons (who don’t as far as I know exist), or, come to that, by the Chinese People’s Republic (which does exist).  But these attacks are not likely, let alone imminent.

I say, please plan for what is realistically likely, rather than frightening people with bogeymen, and so perhaps creating the preconditions for a war which, if you had not been so silly, would never have happened.

General Sir Nick Carter, head of the army, was all over the media this morning warning of the Muscovite threat.

What is he talking about? Years ago, the great conservative satirist Michael Wharton (who wrote under the name ‘Peter Simple’ in the old Daily Telegraph, a very different newspaper from the one that now bears that name) invented a war between Sweden and Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia was then a country in the South-East of Europe, not having been dismantled to suit the convenience of the EU. It was also about as far as one could get from Sweden, while staying in the European landmass.

I forget what grievance had sparked this fictional conflict. One day I shall write a Wikipedia entry on the Suedo-Yugoslav war (I wonder how long it will take them to notice) which will doubtless explain all these things.

But the real lasting joke was of course that the two enemies could never find each other. They had nothing to fight about, no common border, no territorial dispute. It could have lasted for decades without an actual shot being fired.

Much the same is true of our relations with Russia. We have no land or maritime border. We have very little mutual trade or any other connection which might lead to war. We are far away from each other.

Silly media reports contrive to suggest that Britain is ceaselessly ‘confronting’ or ‘escorting’ Russian ships or planes which fly through international waters or airspace near our islands. But read them carefully. They often seem to suggest that Russian planes have violated our airspace. As far as I know, this has not happened. Likewise, Russian naval vessels have a perfect right under the International Law of the Sea, to pass through the North Sea and the Channel (I have checked the laws on this) provided they undertake no hostile action. Indeed, it would be hard to see how else they could get from their home ports to Atlantic or Mediterranean destinations unless they took these routes.

As I have pointed out in myriad posts on this indexed, archived and searchable blog, Russia is not a very significant country, even though it takes up a lot of space on the map. Its GDP, the best measure of economic importance, is roughly the same as that of Italy, a country which rightly does not trouble us.

Its nuclear weapons are unusable (like ours). Most of Russia’s conventional army and air force is deployed to defend its home territory, because (unlike us)  it has no natural physical borders in the shape of seas or mountain-ranges, and is vulnerable to invasion (see recent history). Its second most important city suffered countless deaths by starvation thanks to a siege by German invaders within living memory.

Many widely-believed myths about Russia are not true. Russia did not start the recent conflict between Russia and Georgia. The EU’s own Tagliavini report concluded that this was begun by Georgia.

Russia has long regarded NATO eastward expansion as hostile and expansionist, and sought to counter it through diplomatic warnings at the highest level. These were ignored. NATO expansion was not the consequence of some desire by the peoples of the region. The Baltic States, for instance, gained their independence from Moscow in 1991 and maintained it for many years without any threat or danger, without needing to join NATO. Expansion was in fact the result of expensive lobbying of the US Senate by American arms and manufacturers in the 1990s, exposed by the New York Times at the time. It was specifically warned against by George Kennan, architect of the containment of the USSR, who came out of retirement aged 93 to say it was dangerous folly.

Russia’s response only became military when NATO countries openly backed the violent overthrow of a non-aligned government in Ukraine in a lawless putsch, and its replacement (contrary to the Ukraine constitution and with armed men present in the Kiev Parliament building) by a pro-NATO regime. Russia’s response has in fact been highly limited and cautious. Russia has as legitimate a claim to Crimea (largely populated by Russians who were prevented from voting on their future by the Ukrainian government in 1992) as Britain has to the Falklands, and at least as good a claim as NATO Turkey has to North Cyprus. Russia’s troops were stationed in Crimea quite legally in accordance with international treaties. Russia is undoubtedly using covert and undeclared forces in Ukraine, but it should be pointed out that Western countries have done the same or similar things, notably in the Middle East and SE Asia. It is at the very least likely that NATO countries have also taken (and continue to take) covert action in Ukraine, and in my view laughable to suggest that they have not.  But the important thing is that the conflict was initiated by Western, not Russian action. Russia’s principal policy since 1989 (dictated by economic weakness which still persists) has been to retreat without violence from the countries it previously occupied. It did so on the basis of what it took to be promises that NATO (an alliance against whom, by the way?) would not expand into the areas from which Russia had withdrawn.

I have no purpose in writing the above except that it is the truth and that (having witnessed some of it) I hate war and wish to ensure that we do not wander into one through stupidity and ignorance. I also have some experience and knowledge of the region, having lived in Moscow form 1990 to 1992 and travelled in the former USSR reasonably extensively.  I regard Vladimir Putin as a sinister tyrant, repeatedly say so in unequivocal terms and have no relationship, direct or indirect, with the Russian state or any of its organs.  If we are truly so worried about Russian internal politics, it is odd that we were entirely complacent, and even supportive while Boris Yeltsin was using tanks to bombard his own Parliament back in 1993. The fact was that Yeltsin let the west push him around, whereas Putin does not. That, and not Mr Putin’s internal regime, is the reason for the change in posture towards Russia. Beware of this stuff. History shows that those who pick fights with Russia are seldom glad that they have done so, once the combat is over.

Photo by newandrew

EU finally comes clean on future UK-EU military objectives, but risks remain

By David Banks. This piece first appeared on the Veterans for Britain website and is reproduced with permission.

In a speech in Berlin today, Michel Barnier (the EU’s Brexit negotiator) for the first time explicitly spells out some interpretations over future UK-EU military relations under Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the new EU policy ambition in this field.  The text can be found here.

Some of these comments are welcome. In particular, in saying “Any voluntary participation of the United Kingdom in European defence will confer rights and obligations in proportion to the level of this participation,” Mr Barnier is indicating that UK participation on an ad hoc basis in missions can generate corresponding engagement at the political level. Clarity is needed on this point, but it does seem that the approach is heading towards a flexible structure rather than seeking to tie the UK down in fixed EU treaty obligations.

Again, Mr Barnier acknowledges that there are several existing models of cooperation and not just the Norway one, a model which is tied into membership of the Single Market. That requirement appears to have been dropped by the Commission. More widely, this may even be the first admission that a special FTA deal is achievable, since several such models do already exist lying between WTO Status and EEA membership.

However, there are also clear remaining issues. While UK membership of the European Defence Agency is ruled out, some sort of structured affiliation is not. Yet the EDA is core to future EU defence integration and formal UK adhesion beyond observer status carries budgetary obligations and political risks.

Also, the EU recognises the UK will continue to play a bilateral and multilateral role, especially through NATO. But PESCO has identified non-NATO multilaterals as targets to come increasingly under the PESCO banner. We also note the cheeky attempt to appropriate the St Mâlo agreement at the very end. The EU has wide eyes and a big appetite in agreements that are not part of the menu.

Tellingly, Barnier is tacitly admitting, in saying that “The British have never wanted to turn the Union into a military power”, that the EU now seeks to do just that.

Major-General Julian Thompson, chairman of Veterans for Britain, said:

“M. Barnier offers a backhanded compliment to the importance of the UK to European Defence – a term which of course is not the same thing as the EU’s precocious military appetite.

“It is not in the UK’s interest to institutionally weld itself to this ‘Security ERM’. Post Brexit, the UK should cooperate in missions and projects of clear joint interest. It is a positive sign that the Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator recognises this prospect.”

Colonel Richard Kemp also of Veterans for Britain said:

“EU defence integration clearly remains a threat to NATO, and to UK multilateralism inside Europe but outside the EU. EU ambitions are extensive and dangerous.”

Referring to the outrageous opening inference of the Brexit vote as a betrayal of the fight against terror, Col Kemp added:

“This is an insult to the electorate of the first order. But then, the European Commission has never understood either democracy or adverse votes.

“The EU has brought a lot of its terror-related problems on itself. In contrast, the UK has been the most capable in defence and security and has been the bulwark of anti-terrorism in Europe.”

Photo by DVIDSHUB

Government must scrap its compromises over EU military schemes

By David Banks. This post originally appeared on the Bruges Group website and is reproduced with permission

Since the Brexit vote, the UK has given a green light to the juggernaut of EU military schemes on the understanding we would be outside of them.

However, government position papers incredibly propose STAYING IN joint EU schemes on military finance, research and assets.

The schemes, which have never been voted on by MPs, would mean the UK staying in EU Common Defence Policy, the European Defence Agency and even EU defence procurement directives. Norway is the only non-EU country in the schemes and was obliged to accept these rules.

The PM has rightly declared the UK’s unconditional commitment to Europe’s defence via NATO.

However, we fear that MPs and ministers are not aware of the full implications of a Norway-style military union agreement. Many civil servants are aware of these implications and are pushing for UK entry relentlessly.

At the same time as these new EU military finance and structure schemes are being agreed, the EU is growing the remit of its Common Security and Defence Policy in a way that consolidates its control over EU Council-agreed military responses. The EU’s new military HQ, the MPCC, which UK diplomats tried in vain to change, is just a small part of this.

The EU is also tightening defence asset production rules to make an EU defence market in which member state governments will find it impossible to protect domestic defence jobs and industry eg Scottish shipyards in the UK’s case.

Sadly, the Government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy of September 2017 fully adheres to the latest EU rules in cross-border defence tendering – clearly anticipating a future where the UK would need to comply.

It is essential that at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester delegates are made aware of the risk to Scottish shipyards, particularly Ruth Davidson and her Scottish Conservatives team. The UK is heading towards a scenario where it is dictated by these EU procurement rules which will only become more assertive when the UK is fully committed to them.

Government “Future Partnership” paper – Foreign policy, defence and development

On this website, we have expressed our concern that the Government shows no desire to disentangle ourselves from EU defence policy on Brexit. This latest Government paper has done nothing to alleviate our worries. Rather than provide our own assessment of this paper, we are reproducing (with permission) the comments of David Banks from Veterans for Britain.

DExEU’s defence partnership paper is a grave mistake and gives the EU control

A Norway-style abdication of defence powers would betray British voters, senior military veterans say today.

It is in response to a DExEU paper which calls for a defence relationship with the EU “closer than a third country”.

One other country currently fulfills the EU’s criteria for ‘closer than a third country’ and that is Norway, which has submitted itself to EU Common Defence Policy, EU defence industry directives, membership of the European Defence Agency and the growing impact of Juncker’s European Defence Action Plan.

The DExEU paper proposes keeping the UK locked into structures, policies and financial schemes of the new EU ‘Defence Union’ that are scheduled to pass increasing amounts of control to the EU after 2017. It poses a major threat to the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance with the Anglosphere and will certainly alienate the Americans

The DExEU paper, which is in fact the product of FCO and MOD civil servants, comes after 10 months of EU agreements in defence which were hardly noticed by UK MPs and media because UK participation and consent was not thought relevant to the departing UK.

“Britain is walking into a carefully planned EU ambush from which UK officials have not protected us. We would ask MPs, ministers and defence observers to urgently read through the 100,000+ words of EU plans, advisory notes and EU Council agreements completed since the Brexit vote. All of this, which has virtually bypassed MPs on the understanding that we are leaving, is now suddenly and desperately relevant to the United Kingdom,” said Major-General Julian Thompson, chairman of Veterans for Britain and Royal Marines Veteran who commanded landing of British troops on the Falklands Conflict.

British voters have always been more opposed to an EU role over their defence than any other issue. Polls have consistently shown that public support for UK control over defence is much greater even than the majority who want to leave the EU.

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. What recent EU Defence Union agreements mean
  2. Problems for the UK ‘closer than third country’ submission to it
  3. Ministerial statements about EU Defence Union
  4. Additional comments from Professor Gwythian Prins, Rear-Admiral Roger Lane-Nott and Colonel Richard Kemp
  1. What recent EU agreements mean
    1. EU Defence Union is framed in five separate EU Council agreements between 14 November 2016 and 22 June 2017, relating to the Security and Defence Implementation Plan (Mogherini) and the European Defence Action Plan (Juncker).
    2. The UK is a full participating signatory to the EU Council agreements.
    3. A further informal meeting on Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the final component of Defence Union, was held on Thursday in Estonia where the UK representative also indicated complete agreement. A binding EU Council meeting of defence ministers is to be held in October 2017 and the EU Commission expects to begin PESCO i.e. an EU Army in all but name,  before the end of 2017.
    4. The agreements cover:
      1.     Four new sources of military finance including the European Defence Fund.
      2.     There are also plans on space, intelligence, UAVs and marine drones.
      3. Military technology will lead to joint purchasing and ownership of assets and these assets will be governed by joint policy.
      4. Strategic direction, decision making and physical command centres.
      5.  Defence research.
      6. MPs are STILL unaware and have not debated or agreed to most of this. Only one part was discussed, that was the European Defence Fund – 10 weeks AFTER it was agreed by UK officials at the EU.
  1. The problems created by UK adherence to EU defence
    1.    Harm Five Eyes relationship. UK is asked under SDIP to propose ways to plug UK into SIAC, the EU’s military intelligence command. (Single Intelligence Analysis Capacity)
    2. Loss of control over growing areas of defence policy. The DExEU paper describe actively delegating growing areas of decision-making over UK defence policy to the wider EU. It also submits the UK to gradual EU integration in intelligence, ownership of assets, defence procurement, research, growing elements of funding and strategic direction to collective decision-making over time in all these areas: intelligence, asset development, budgeting, research, asset purchase, asset ownership,as described in the EU Council agreements the UK has agreed since November 2016.
    3. Decision making and participation would be on EU terms. The UK would be submitting to EU control of budgets, research, assets, policy.
      1. Defence procurement.
        1. EU Defence procurement directives mean cheapest EU-wide tender for government contracts.
        2. UK shipyards and defence firms have relied on a national security exemption where UK gov can restrict contracts to UK suppliers — which the EU has just clamped down on.
        3. It is also subject to the gradually tightening and the latest EU moves via the European Defence Action Plan.
        4. The Type 26 Frigate adheres to EU rules and EDA benchmarks.
        5. The National Shipbuilding Strategy commits to  build only frigates, destroyers and submarines  in the UK. All other types including patrol, RFA, LPDs are to be open to international tender..
    4. Tied in in defence research project PADR (Preparatory Action on Defence Research), which the MOD started to push in June and which requires long-term UK adherence to EU rules.
    5. The US will be upset by EU protectionism in its emerging EDTIB. The UK is collaborating in its creation. (European Defence Technology Industrial Base
  1. Ministerial statements about EU Defence Union

What ministers have committed to:

13 December 2016: “Government supported much of the content of the Mogherini Security and Defence Implementation Plan” https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmeuleg/71-xxii/7112.htm

8 June 2017: UK pushing companies towards EU deals that require long-term adherence to EU policy, CSDP, EDA https://twitter.com/VeteransBritain/status/905551231195779076

22 February 2017: Minister regards European Defence Action Plan as “predominantly positive for member state capabilities and the UK defence industry” https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmeuleg/71-xxxiv/7114.htm

22 February 2017: Minister expects UK adherence to EU defence directives to continue: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmeuleg/71-xxxiv/7114.htm

7 September 2017: National Shipbuilding Strategy submits the UK to EU rules

https://twitter.com/VeteransBritain/status/905439206473945090

  1. Additional comments

Ministers in charge of exiting the EU are being advised by people who wrote defence integration agenda of Blair, people who have worked and still work under Federica Mogherini and people who simultaneously work for MOD and the European Defence Agency. The British public would be shocked by the conflicts of interest of people advising ministers and people in this country. The British people do not want to surrender defence autonomy to the EU.

This DExEU paper is not a bargaining hand. It means giving the EU the deck of cards. 

The last 10 months of agreements spell out where the EU is going. Offering continued UK compliance to these agreements means submitting to their evolving nature and increasingly to the will of collective decision making in everything from finance to deployment, instead of UK government decision making within NATO.

Ministers need officials who are willing to spell out the full EU agenda here and what the UK would lose in democratic control – not just pass on the warm words used by Brussels.

Instead of promising more giveaways, ministers should be working out how the UK can extricate itself from these unnecessary commitments.

Based on a misperception that the EU is a benevolent a-la-carte club.  

In loose language, it alludes to “a defence relationship with the EU that’s closer than any third country” — in other words, the continuation of the mess that officials from FCO and MOD have created in the last 12 months. 

–       Rear-Admiral Roger Lane-Nott, former chief of staff, submarines.

We have NATO and EU efforts to establish decision making authority or to have its own structures threatens the transatlantic alliance.

Submitting to EU defence plans also lets down the UK’s closest allies including the US – it means supporting the EU’s plans for the protectionist EDTIB (European Defence Technology Industrial Base) which seeks “EU sovereignty” in defence assets and whose new defence research network actively blocks US and Canadian companies from participating.

In simple democratic terms, if the public were fully aware of what “closer than third country” actually means they would never agree  to it. Nor would they agree with the ministerial statements of the last 10 months in reference to them. Our ministers seem to be walking blindly into a well prepare EU ambush of just the sort Yanis Varoufakis the sacked Greek finance minister has been repeatedly warning us.” –Professor Gwythian Prins,

“The paper will talk about a defence relationship ‘closer than any third country’. BUT IN PLAIN WORDS THAT amounts to the UK staying in the recently agreed EU Defence Union agreements just as Norway has agreed to do. Also, just like Norway, it means the UK submitting to EU common defence policy, EU defence directives and European Defence Agency membership, which are all conditions the EU has placed on the UK for this kind of arrangement. This is all dangerous and puts the UK on a trajectory to EU defence union.
“It puts control of our future direction, strategy and even foreign policy squarely into the hands of the EU. This is in any case unnecessary because our defence relationship with EU member states should instead be conducted via NATO. The EU has declared defence autonomy from NATO.

“UK ministers consented to defence union agreements after the Brexit vote and we were told that it was because the UK would have no part in them. Yet the government is now allowing these gradual and erosive commitments to the EU to stand. It means a hollowing out of UK Parliamentary authority over UK defence particularly BY STEALTH where defence procurement and the collective ownership of assets are concerned. The EU has put in place policy which dictates that collectively-owned assets on land, air, sea and space are also subject collective policy. The collective nature of defence assets and policy is at present only conceptual but it is agreed and is timetabled to be vast within just a few years.” – Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British Forces, Afghanistan

We in the Campaign for an Independent Britain will seek to work with organisations like Veterans for Brtiain in opposition to these plans to lock us into the EU’s defence agenda after Brexit.  IN this area, Brexit must be as “hard” as possible.