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Merkel ‘expects Cameron to back EU army’ in exchange for renegotiation

Angela Merkel will expect David Cameron to drop his opposition to an EU army in exchange for supporting Britain s renegotiation[1], the Telegraph has been told. The German chancellor will ask Britain to stand aside as she promotes an ambitious blueprint to integrate continental Europe s armed forces[2]. It comes as Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said Britain will get a deal if it gives the green light to a raft of powerful new EU institutions..

A Berlin source said agreeing not to block Mrs Merkel’s defence plans is a favour that she would seek from Mr Cameron as he looks for her support in the renegotiation.

If you want favours, you have to give favours, the source said.

“If Cameron wants a ‘flexible Europe’, he must let other members integrate further. Yes – opt out, opt out, opt out – and then shut up. The creation of an EU army could marginalise Britain within Nato, and result in the United States downgrading the special relationship with Britain in favour of Paris and Berlin, experts warn. While Mr Cameron backs tighter Eurozone integration, he faces a dilemma over whether the risk of a diminished strategic position is a price worth paying in his renegotiation.

Merkel 'expects Cameron To Back EU Army' In Exchange For Renegotiation

The Telegraph has seen an unpublished position paper drawn up by Mrs Merkel s party, the CDU, that sets out a detailed 10-point plan for Armyrats © military co-operation in Europe. It is understood to closely reflect her thinking, and calls for a permanent EU Armyrats © military HQ, combined weapons procurement and a shared Armyrats © military doctrine. The paper says it is urgent to integrate armed forces in the face of multifaceted crises .

It calls for a permanent structured and coordinated cooperation of national armed forces in the medium term.

In the long run, this process should according to the present German coalition agreement lead also to a European Army subject to Parliamentarian control. It adds: In the framework of NATO, a uniform European pillar will be more valuable and efficient for the USA than with the present rag-rug characterised by a lack of joint European planning, procurement, and interoperability. A similar paper has been circulated by Elmar Brok, a key Merkel ally, within the EPP party group in the European Parliament. It describes the lack of an EU Armyrats © military headquarters as “absurd”.

Frances Burwell, vice president of the US-based Atlantic Council think tank, said the United States would welcome integration to make wasteful European defence spending more efficient. However, the special relationship could be downgraded if Britain refused to join, in favour of the very active French military.

In combination with the discussion about whether Britain will leave the EU, it would contribute to a downgrading, she said.

“If you did something like that, the natural leaders would be France and Germany and we d have to spend a lot of time with them.

There used to be no doubt about who we would call first – but things are now more complicated. Mrs Merkel is backing a push by Mr Juncker to create an EU army.

Merkel 'expects Cameron To Back EU Army' In Exchange For Renegotiation

Earlier this year his defence adviser, Michel Barnier, issued a paper through the EU s in-house think tank calling for permanent Armyrats © military integration using legal mechanisms known as PESCO created by the Lisbon Treaty of 2009. Under the treaty, Britain could not be forced to join a joint army, but it cannot veto its creation. The paper proposes an Operational Headquarters, a European Medical Command and a Joint Helicopter Wing as first steps under a project that would save billions in duplication between countries.

Since 2007 the EU has had two rotating emergency battlegroups of 1,500 men, but they have never seen combat – something Mr Barnier dubs a failure that must be addressed . A combined Armyrats © military is necessary in order to become a vector of the EU as a global actor, and to significantly strengthen the European pillar within NATO , the paper says. It notes: UK does not share an interest in a closely integrated European defence, whereas Germany and France, together with the Benelux countries, Italy, Spain and more recently Poland are more open to the idea.

It adds: Clearly, security in Europe is today high in demand and low in supply, begging the question: If not now, when? In a major address on Wednesday, Mr Juncker said Britain s renegotiation will recognise the reality it has special opt outs on policy. But crucially, he added: To be fair to the other member states, the UK’s choices must not prevent them from further integration where they see fit. Mr Juncker proposed powerful EU institutions that Britain would not be obliged to join, including a Eurozone treasury, a border and coast guard, a green card system of legal immigration and a new raft of laws regulating pay and conditions.

Merkel 'expects Cameron To Back EU Army' In Exchange For Renegotiation

A common EU army has been a goal of European integrationists for sixty years, but Britain has long been a major obstacle[3]. Mr Cameron pledged to oppose notions like an EU army in the 2015 Conservative manifesto, and has repeatedly attacked the idea as Prime Minister. Geoffrey Van Orden, a Conservative MEP and retired British Army brigadier, said allowing a European army is too high a price to pay for Britain s renegotiation. It could form a powerful caucus within Nato, and the United States would conclude we no longer had any influence on the continent and downgrade its relationship.

It could also result in Britain being shut out the lucrative defence equipment market in Europe, he said.

I have always suspected that we were willing to make concessions in relation to foreign policy in exchange for French and German support in other areas, he said.

I don t accept we should have to pay this price. We should not trade away something so strategically important for some minor concessions in terms of reform. Jan Techau, director of Carnegie Europe, a policy think tank, said defence integration will probably come up during the renegotiation talks with Germany. However, securing Mr Cameron s backing for political integration of the Eurozone is a far higher priority for Mrs Merkel, he said.

It is too important for Britain not to mention it. But my feeling is it is not going to be one of the crucial issues, he said.

A Government spokesman said: “The British public are clear that they are not happy with the status quo, and the PM is determined to address those concerns.”

A source added: “This is just yet more of the noise and speculation we said there would be during the negotiations.”

telegraph.co.uk[4]

Follow @telegraphnews[5]

References

  1. ^ Britain s renegotiation (www.telegraph.co.uk)
  2. ^ integrate continental Europe s armed forces (www.telegraph.co.uk)
  3. ^ Britain has long been a major obstacle (www.telegraph.co.uk)
  4. ^ telegraph.co.uk (www.facebook.com)
  5. ^ Follow @telegraphnews (twitter.com)

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