EU Military could end up costing British tax payers millions

Published Nov 21, 2016

Mike_Hookem.jpgAn EU military could end up costing British tax payers millions of pounds despite the historic vote to leave the EU, a senior UKIP MEP has warned.

Reports being voted on next week in the European Parliament demand up to half a billion pounds per year for one area of the EU Defence Union alone, with €90 million for 'preparatory action on EU defence research' starting in 2017.

The timeline of progress in the development of the EU Military, which British officials have long denied would happen despite evidence to the contrary, would mean the UK could not only contribute financially but could be legally drawn into it as the government will not have tabled a vote on Brexit as demanded by the high court let alone invoked Article 50 by the time the EU strategy kicks into action.

"The EU sees a military structure as necessary, particularly as it continues its dangerous and unnecessary provocation of Russia," warned UKIP Defence spokesman Mike Hookem MEP.

"These plans include reform of the EU battlegroups concept, aiming at the establishment of permanent units which would be independent of any lead nation and subject to systematic joint training and an EU-wide system for the coordination of the rapid movement of defence forces' personnel, equipment and supplies."

The UK currently has its own rapid deployment brigades called PEPS or 'Priming Equipment Packs; which includes all the scales, support and spares that that unit would require and which would be delivered to it when it is warned for operations. However, insiders have warned that the two battalions earmarked for this role, 16 Air Assault Brigade and 3 Commando Brigade, cannot actually deploy at the same time.

The document also calls for EU-NATO projects on communications and response including at sea, on migration, cyber security and defence as well as on exercises and bolstering defences in the 'buffer states' between the EU and Russia. It raises the question of whether NATO countries could be called to defend EU countries which are not part of the EU.

"It is another demonstration of why the UK needs to detach itself from the EU and the direction in which it is heading and instead properly fund its Armed Forces and rebuild its relationship with the US whilst ending this unnecessary provocation of Russia which has not neglected its military and has vastly superior fire and man power to us," the former soldier said.

Mr Hookem also warned that the EU Defence Union would have its own trade union meaning soldiers could go on strike and hold governments and the EU to ransom.

Service Personnel in the UK Armed Forces are forbidden by the Queen's Regulations from joining a union or going on strike: regulations by which every serviceman and woman is bound.

UKIP Defence Spokesman and former soldier Mike Hookem said the proposal "could threaten Britain's military readiness if it were to be dragged along in an EU Military by a political establishment trying its hardest to ignore the result of the EU referendum and leave the EU.

"There are clear security reasons why members of the Armed Forces are subject to different rules from those in civilian life: rules which were compensated for previously by governments who took the welfare of its troops and this country seriously with work and fiscal benefits.

"It is not in the country's national interests for soldiers, sailors or airmen to be able to lay down arms and ignore the chain of command because of a union decision," he said.

"I have been on exercises with Danish troops who stopped working at 1700hrs. Military life does not work like that and war does not fit into a 9-5 schedule. It also means that often UK and US personnel have to do the bulk of the work in international organiations like SHAPE and NATO.

"If there were an EU Military with a strong trade union we could see situations which terrorists could easily take advantage of, particularly if they were based on a French style trade union system which has often brought countries to a standstill and created havoc as we all saw in Calais in the last few months."

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