Brexit team in deep water.

Published Sep 13, 2017

UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge has lambasted the latest press release from the UK Brexit team, which calls for a deep security partnership with the EU post-Brexit. Mr Etheridge said “yet again, the UK Government is ignoring the wishes of the people and looking to use Brexit as a method to deepen our security ties with the EU.”

The release makes it clear that the Brexit team are planning to surrender defence decision making, including continued submission to EU Common Defence Policy, EDA membership and EU procurement directives. The Government is apparently not interested in ensuring that the UK is an independent defence power within NATO.

Officials have placed the UK into defence legislation that is more than "close", it is set to actively delegate 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 and growing elements of funding and strategic direction. UK defence firms have already been encouraged by UK Government to participate in EU schemes that require long-term UK commitment to EU policy. Recent procurement announcements including the National Shipbuilding Strategy and contracts for the Type 26 Frigate also adhere to EU policy and rules and EDA benchmarks.

The Government’s announcement comes days after UK representatives heard the first details of PESCO (Permanent Structured Cooperation) from the EU Commission at an informal meeting of defence ministers.

Mr Etheridge said, “Brexit offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to take back control of our nation. However, the Government seem to be fixated on devolving the defence of our realm to foreign powers.

“The EU has made its federal position clear, including its long term ambition to control an EU army. This will hamper NATO’s efforts in Europe at a time of great instability.

“We must reject any notion of our Defence and Security being aligned to EU control. The Brexit team seem to be out of their depth and only by embracing a real Brexit will a safe harbour be found.

“Co-operating with our neighbours is important and necessary at a time of increasing global conflict. NATO already facilitates this for the UK. Adding the unnecessary complexities of EU institutions to our Defence and Security needs will only harm us.”

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