EU Army lambasted as bloc tries to lure US, Norway and Canada – ‘Undermines sovereignty!’
Macron criticised over push for EU army by Italian MEP
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The EU on Thursday announced it will admit for the first time outside partners such as the United States, Canada and Norway into one of its projects on military cooperation. Ahead of the first in-person meeting with her EU counterparts in over a year in Brussels, German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said: “It will be a quantum leap in terms of concrete cooperation.”
The EU project on military mobility is designed to facilitate the movement of troops across Europe, something NATO deems as crucial in the event of conflict with Russia.
It comes as some within the bloc have demanded closer military cooperation, or EU army, within the bloc and a defence union.
While NATO has spearheaded efforts to reduce conflicting regulations across 27 EU countries for transfers of US troops, the EU has a budget to back the reconstruction of bridges too weak for tanks and has more power over changing bloc-wide rules.
Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer added: “Talking about military mobility, making sure that troops can be moved across borders within Europe is a very important issue not only for the European Union but also for NATO.”
The decision means NATO members Norway, Canada and the United States also become the first foreign countries to collaborate in the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) pact, which aims to deepen defence ties.
The pact was agreed by EU leaders in December 2017 after Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
The bloc has since earmarked 1.7 billion euros from its joint budget until 2028 to improve so-called military mobility in support of NATO. The NATO alliance has 30 allies, many of whom are also EU members.
Military mobility aims at improving the exchange of information between EU countries and cutting red tape at borders, including harmonising customs rules to allow for swift deployments and easier transport of military equipment.
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But the decision to include the US, Canada and Norway was lambasted by National Rally MEP Jerome Riviere.
The French politician said: “The EU once again proves its submission to the globalist project and its lack of independence vis-à-vis the #OTAN.
“By authorising foreign armies to deploy in Europe, Brussels once again undermines the sovereignty of nations!”
The head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell assured that this joint project on mobility ” will make the Union’s defence more effective and help strengthen our security.”
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The project, led by the Netherlands, aims to reduce bureaucratic waiting times for cross-border movements of troops.
The Dutch minister of defence said: “The admission of these three key partners of the EU and allies of NATO to the EU project is of great importance for the transatlantic link and will help to strengthen EU-NATO cooperation in this area.”
All EU countries except Denmark and Malta have signed the agreement establishing permanent structured cooperation to which the UK has not joined.
Fifty projects have been approved in the areas of training, land operations, maritime operations, air operations, cyber defence and command systems, support and space.
France, Italy, Spain and Germany are the countries most involved.
These four nations support with 10 other countries the creation of a rapid intervention force of 5,000 men.
The proposal was discussed for the first time on Thursday by the Ministers of Defence and with the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg.
The so-called EU army does not exist at the moment, with military powers organised individually by the 27 EU member states.
In March, the EU approved a €5 billion defence project that will open the door for the bloc to deliver military aid to countries across the world, sparking a row in the European Parliament.
The plan has been called European Peace Facility (EPF) and will “better help partner countries” by supporting their peace-keeping operations and by helping them to “increase the capability of their armed forces to ensure peace and security on their national territory”, the EU has claimed.
The bloc plans to use the money to finance its missions and operations under the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy, as well as infrastructure and military equipment for partner countries.
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