France’s outgoing socialist premier, François Hollande, claims the United Kingdom “will become an outsider” after it leaves the European Union (EU) and cannot expect any “advantages” – but he also wishes to include it in plans for greater European military integration.
In a joint interview given to Britain’s Guardian newspaper and four European outlets, Hollande said Brexit would be followed by a push for greater defence integration.
“In my mind,” he said, “the UK, even outside the EU, should be associated with that.”
The Veterans for Britain group, which includes a number of distinguished military commanders and veterans of conflicts including the Falklands and the Second World War, raised the alarm in December 2016 on the United Kingdom being signed up to various defence integration schemes despite the Brexit vote.
Commenting on the French president’s remarks, spokesman David Banks told Breitbart London it was “bizarre that Mr. Hollande says Britain can’t pick and choose its relationship with the EU while at the same time he and the EU are doing exactly that over their defence relationship with the departing UK, clinging on to their dream of UK involvement”.
Banks believes Hollande’s comments give a clear indication that “figures in the EU are still working to embroil the UK in EU integration projects, which will undermine the practical effects of Brexit and the country’s freedom of initiative in defence”.
Banks also criticised EU leaders for drawing up grandiose integration plans while failing to meet their NATO spending obligations, undermining the continent’s defence relationship with the U.S.
“Merkel, Renzi, and Hollande announced this big drive on defence in the summer yet none of those leaders is meeting even the bare minimum contribution to NATO. They are all actively damaging NATO through their decisions in domestic politics,” he said.
“There is an urgent problem here of the UK being pressured into integrative military arrangements in planning and procurement after Brexit in 2019. There has been a soft political messaging initiative on UK-EU defence integration by the EU since about August 2016. Hollande’s words are simply the most prominent element of this initiative so far and he is echoing the lines of the EU Commission.
“The EU already has fleets, regiments and squadrons under the EU flag and the current political efforts are to coordinate command, hence the EU Council voted today 6 March to create a Military Planning and Conduct Capability (MPCC) unit.”
Sources inside the EU have described the MPCC as “a good first step” towards a European Union Military HQ, with the UK seemingly involved despite its impending departure from the bloc.
It has also been reported that the European Parliament is set to establish a small “private army” to protect its president and politicians, answer only to its own internal administration, and that this will be part-funded by the UK.