The European Parliament is set to grant increased power to a central military structure, leaving the U.K. on the hook to share the costs despite voting to leave the EU.
Members of the European Union Parliament are set to meet in the French city of Strasbourg this week to approve a report granting increased military responsibilities to the Common Security and Defense Policy.
A mutual defense clause, identical to NATO’s Article 5, will require all members to assist another member state in the event of an attack.
In addition, the position of European Union Defense Minister will be created to oversee the combined military force, as well as a permanent headquarters staffed by civilian and military personnel.
The report directly mentions the “Brexit” vote in the United Kingdom as a justification for the creation of an EU army.
“At a time when public support for the EU is being called into question in some Member States, defence and security is an area where the individual and collective benefits of more Europe can be easily demonstrated, especially regarding the likely challenges to EU’s standing as a strategic actor following Brexit,” it says.
Despite voting to leave the European Union, residents of the United Kingdom will still be forced to pay millions to fund the project as Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has yet to follow through on the referendum by triggering Article 50 to begin the process of leaving the EU.
UKIP Defense Spokesman Mike Hookem (MEP) said the report “has huge implications for the sovereignty of the UK and its ability to control its own military.”
“What we have in black and white isn’t the ‘dangerous fantasy’ that Nick Clegg tried to trick voters with in 2014 but the plans for an EU military and security structure to firmly push NATO out of the way,” he said.
Hookem was referring to comments made by former Deputy Prime Minister and head of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg in 2014, who claimed the concept of a European Union Army was “dangerous fantasy.”
Many are also expressing concern over language in the report that would allow the new army to combat “subversion” inside the EU member states.
“Alarmingly, it is even calling for this new Brussels military to combat ‘subversion’, which covers everything from political opposition to the EU by legitimate parties to books, films criticising the EU and a crack-down on free speech – with the EU the judge and jury on whether it is allowed or not,” noted Hookem.
The initial framework for the EU army was drafted by Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and kept hidden from UK voters until the day after the “Brexit” vote in order to not inflame public opinion.
Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission and a former Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Luxembourg, is a long-time advocate for the creation of an EU army to combat a perceived threat to Europe from Russia.
Nigel Farage, the head of UKIP, blasted the concept of an EU army on the floor of the European Parliament in 2015, blaming EU bureaucrats for using manufactured crises to justify overriding national sovereignty.
“We ourselves in the European Union provoked the conflict through our territorial expansionism in the Ukraine,” he said. “We poked the Russian bear with a stick, and unsurprisingly, Putin reacted.”
“But this now is to be used as an opportunity to build a European army… And Mr. Juncker said, we must convey to Russia that we are serious. Who do you think you are kidding, Mr. Juncker?”