The European Parliament is to create a “private army” to protect its president and MEPs as part of an almost two-billion euro spending spree. Britain, despite its vote to Leave the European Union (EU) in June 2016, will help foot the bill.
The Times reports that the supranational assembly, which shuttles between Brussels and Strasbourg every month at an annual cost of £150 million, will establish a 46-man force of armed guards and other security personnel who will answer only to the internal administration of the parliament.
Twelve will form a close protection unit, of the sort usually reserved for Heads of State like the U.S. president, which will guard the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani.
The remaining 34, according to a confidential internal document seen by The Times, will form armed response teams responsible for “ensuring the security of strategic points” in and around parliamentary premises.
The news comes following reports the EU is set to establish an ad hoc military headquarters, the Military Planning and Conduct Capabilities (MPCC) unit, with British forces likely to be involved with it.
The Veterans for Britain group, chaired by Falklands War hero Major-General Julian Thompson, has warned that the UK must use Brexit as an opportunity “to make a clear untethering of itself from these nascent and dangerous EU defence structures”, which they believe pose a threat to Britain’s long-term independence as a military power.
The Times claims to have seen estimates indicating the parliamentary budget will enjoy an inflation-busting 3.3 per cent rise overall, to €1,971,883,373 (£1,698,951,307.31). MEPs are embarking on this splurge while they can still take full advantage of Britain’s remaining years as an EU budget contributor.
That contribution currently stands at around £200 million a week – after deducting the shrinking rebate and money which returns to the UK through badly designed farm subsidies and maladministered regional aid.