EU Army plan 'delayed till day after referendum'

Posted On: 
27th May 2016

Fresh plans to create a European Army are being kept under wraps until the day after the EU referendum, it has been claimed.

British troops in Afghanistan in 2011
PA Images

According to The Times, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has drawn up top-secret proposals which would see new European military and operational structures, including a headquarters.

However, they will not be sent to member states until 24 June for fear of them leaking before UK voters go to the polls.

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The paper reports that Ms Mogherini's proposals say “security and defence is where a step change is most urgent” in terms of how the EU functions.

It also says: “The EU can step up its contribution to Europe’s security and defence. Our external action must become more joined up across policy areas, institutions and member states. Greater unity of purpose is needed across the policy areas making up our external action.”

Britain vetoed plans for an EU Army in 2011, but pro-Brexit Tory MP and former Defence Secretary Liam Fox said they were clearly back on the agenda.

"This is our last chance to stop being dragged into a permanent EU military force," he said.

Field Marshal Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank, former chief of the defence staff and a supporter of Remain, said: “It is silly to have a duplication of Nato...  We want to spend the money on defence, not bureaucracy.”

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “We will never be part of an EU Army. We retain a veto on all defence matters in the EU and we will oppose any measures which would undermine member states’ military forces."