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MOD response to article by Jayne Adye - "We must not give away our military sovereignty"

Updated: Mar 9, 2021

Here are letters from the Ministry of Defence in response to my emails regarding the article below by Jayne Adye for Brexit Watch dated 11.06.20 which was entitled: We must not give away our military sovereignty.

Follow this link or read on below:

It is a relief to see that the MOD is taking this issue so seriously as you can see if you look at these letters from the MOD in response to an email I wrote to the Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer for which many thanks.

Letter from the Ministry of Defence 09
Download 0 • 298KB

Letter dated 06.07.20

Further letter from the MOD 06.07
.20 re
Download 20 RE • 125KB

The article by Jayne Adye reads:

SINCE THE UNITED KINGDOM’S VOTE to Leave the European Union back in 2016, the EU has stopped its attempts to deny the creation of an EU Army and instead has gone into overdrive. Billions of Euros are now earmarked for EU Defence Union programmes, which have grown at a rapid rate and with little oversight. 

Initially former Prime Minister Theresa May had committed the UK to continue taking part in these defence initiatives in her atrocious Withdrawal Agreement – a decision which would have totally compromised the defence and intelligence sovereignty of the UK. Thankfully, the Government under Prime Minister Boris Johnson has removed these commitments and instead they were replaced with flimsily worded proposals in the Political Declaration, which is something the EU is now attempting to treat as legally binding. 

Now in the negotiations the UK is taking a much firmer stance on rejecting UK participation in EU defence programmes. In a response to a recent FOI Request by Get Britain Out, the Ministry of Defence actually ruled out participating in any EU “institutional framework” on defence. This is a substantial step away from the goals of the EU and Theresa May’s Government. This is a commitment which is reflected in the recent draft agreements released by the UK Government in late May. Not once, in hundreds of pages, does the UK propose any cooperation or alignment with the EU on foreign policy or defence – a very welcome sight to those of us who have spent so long trying to raise this important issue with Government, fighting through the many layers of bureaucrats who seem to have no interest in the dangers of EU military enlargement. 

The EU is, however,  still not content with our desire for freedom and military sovereignty. In fact, in the EU’s own proposed agreement, the second largest section is on foreign policy and defence cooperation. With the UK being the largest defence spender in Europe and a huge black hole of funding in the EU Budget, as well as a lack of agreement on how to fill it, it’s clear the EU is desperate to keep the UK attached to its ambitions for a combined Armed Forces and a singular EU-wide foreign policy. Not content with letting this wait until after the UK has left the EU, Germany has already made clear its intention is to push for this singular EU foreign policy in their 6-month Presidency of the European Council which begins on 1st July this year. It will certainly be true if we do not ensure we are completely out of the EU and the Transition Period by the end of this year, we will be tied into a plethora of new regulations and commitments – ones which we will be unable to escape from if we do not get this right.

It is not just those within the EU who are pushing for the UK to stay tied to its apron strings however. In the last two weeks we have seen Remainers in Parliament – like Tobias Ellwood MP (Chair of the Defence Select Committee) – claim the UK must remain subject to the EU’s Galileo satellite project, which would give the EU its own form of GPS. 

While Galileo is a good ambition and one which the UK has supported and funded for years (to the tune of over £1 billion), the EU has tried to cut the UK out with no recompense. The only way we would be allowed continued access to the project would be to accept losing full sovereignty of our military and signing up to a swathe of other EU projects, including the European Defence Fund and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). These are not harmless bodies to just ‘be part of’ and they would dramatically reduce the military sovereignty of the UK. As the EU’s Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier loves to tell us, there can be no cherry picking, sensibly, the UK Government has decided it will create the UK’s own new GPS system instead – independent from the EU and foreign countries such as China. While this will cost extra money, this is far more preferable to placing our Armed Forces under the jurisdiction of the EU. 

Alongside those like Ellwood, we have also seen civil servants and opposition leaders pushing for close ties to the EU – something which reportedly saw Remainer “underlings” all but agree to an extension to the Transition Period back in April, along with a reported attempt to marginalise the UK’s Chief Brexit Negotiator, David Frost, when the Prime Minister was seriously ill and hospitalised and his Chief Adviser, Dominic Cummings’ family were ill with suspected COVID-19. This was plan was apparently only stopped when Mr Cummings returned to work and managed to scupper the plot! This scheming continued in the background however, with Michel Barnier confirming in a letter to Opposition Leaders in Westminster, he is happy to offer a one or two-year extension to the Transition Period. 

Barnier might be, but Get Britain Out and the Great British Public are not!

Such an extension would be a disaster for the UK, costing us at least £1 billion every month, subjecting the UK to a possible further two years of being tied to EU laws and rulings with no say in how they are made. Our military sovereignty could also be placed at further risk as no doubt we would increasingly be tied into the web of the EU Defence Union. 

To be clear, the UK Government must hold firm on our separation from all EU defence infrastructure and demands about any extension. If the Government is to really protect our military sovereignty and deliver on the promises made to the electorate in the General Election last December, then it must Get Britain Out of the EU on December 31st 2020, with no commitments made to institutional participation in EU Defence Programmes.

Jayne Adye has been the Director of cross-party grassroots Eurosceptic campaign Get Britain Out since its launch in July 2012 and before with other Eurosceptic campaigns. 

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