UKIP Defence spokesman Bill Etheridge has issued a strong rebuff to suggestions that the UK could still be involved in a European Army, even after Brexit.
As with all other committees, the Security and Defence Committee (SEDE), has submitted an initial assessment of implications of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. These reports will form the opening stance for European negotiators such as Guy Verhofstadt and Michel Barnier once Article 50 is invoked.
The UKIP MEP has picked up on a number of points in the report which he calls “scary”.
The document acknowledges that the EU would lose around 25% of its military capacity with the loss of the UK and this would have an impact on research.
The report then goes on to suggest that the UK could remain part of both the European Defence Agency (EDA) and even an EU Battlegroup. Continuing participation could require contributions to the EDA’s budget.
Mr Etheridge, MEP for the West Midlands, said, "When the electorate voted for Brexit last year, they did not vote for a European Army.
“Despite the likes of Nick Clegg telling us that it was a “dangerous fantasy”, the European Army is fast becoming a reality and the UK should have nothing to do with it.
“It is NATO that has kept the peace in Europe for the last 70 years, not the EU. The whole subject of the European Army is a scary proposal which will leave many nations with a conflict of interest.
“I am all for co-operation between nations, but having to pay for the privilege is absurd.”