The German and Dutch armies and navies are poised to “merge”, creating the nucleus of the European Union’s longed for pan-EU military force. Pointing to German ministerial statements spelling out the creation of an EU Army as the ultimate goal, critics say Britain’s military will not be able to avoid being sucked in if the country remains within the Union.
The German government has revealed that Dutch and German land armies and navies are set to move towards “closer integration”, with two Dutch units already coming under German command. Last month the Dutch 43rd Mechanised Brigade was subsumed into the German 1st Armoured Division, following the takeover of the Dutch 11th Airmobile Brigade by German command last year.
The two countries are also already sharing the Netherland’s largest war ship, the Karel Doorman, and aim to merge its two naval powers into one unified navy within the next two years.
That leaves the Netherlands with just the 13th Mechanised Brigade to its name, along with special forces and military infrastructure, but the plan is to accelerate towards a merger of these entities within the next few years, Germany’s Sachsische Zeitung confirms.
And according to insiders, the Czech Republic has now entered talks to bring its army under German control, with the Poles also mooted to be part of the plan.
The accelerated timetable follows a speech given by Germany’s Defence Minister Ursula von der Leye last year, in which she stated the overall aim of merging Europe’s defence forces into one unified army.
“The European Army is our long-term goal, but first we have to strengthen the European Defence Union,” she said, adding: “To achieve this, some nations with concrete military cooperation must come to the fore – and the Germans and the Dutch are doing this.”
As Britain prepares to go to the polls to vote on whether or not to remain within the European Union, UK Independence Party Defence spokesman Mike Hookem MEP has warned that if the country does opt to remain, the British military forces will not be able to resist the same fate.
“The EU is moving towards a common defence and foreign policy regime with an EU army as the goal,” he said. “While Britain remains in the EU, we cannot escape being part of this dangerous setup. The EU was supposed to be about corralling Germany military dominance in Europe. That aspiration has clearly died and just as Germany now politically dominates the EU, this latest move with the Dutch army shows that in time Germany wants to expand and control as much as it can militarily.”
Another UKIP source described the move as “a bizarre, voluntary annexation” adding: “I doubt very much that the new Polish Government would be going down the same route, despite the confidence of the German defence establishment”.
And Mr. Hookem warned that the Army will not be a benign force, dedicated only to the defence of the Union, pointing out that there has already been lobbying in European circles for intervention in Libya, and indeed European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker’s statements on the matter: “You would not create a European army to use it immediately… But a common army among the Europeans would convey to Russia that we are serious about defending the values of the European Union.”
UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage had previously issued multiple warnings about a European Union (EU) – mostly dismissed by the British political establishment and media classes. Most notably, then Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg insisted in a live debate with Mr. Farage ahead of the 2014 European Elections, “The idea there’s going to be a European army, a European air force, it is simply not true” calling Mr. Farage’s claims a “dangerous fantasy”.
In September last year the Telegraph reported that German chancellor Angela Merkel expected British PM David Cameron to “drop his opposition to an EU army in exchange for supporting Britain’s [EU] renegotiation”. Mr. Cameron is believed to have dropped his opposition, in exchange for a widely mocked “renegotiation” deal with the European Union. Mr. Cameron did not arrive at Heston airport after his meeting with Mrs. Merkel.