The Guardian tells us David Cameron will outline plans for unprecedented military co-operation between London and Paris that will see British and French troops deployed as a single brigade in future conflicts.
The centrepiece of the agreement, which will see all branches of the armed forces working together, will be plans for the French and British armies to be deployed in a single brigade. The first step will be a joint exercise in Flanders which is to be followed by more training together with the aim of deploying troops “alongside each other”, in the words of one government source.
Well, you cannot say you were not warned. Cameron and Fox lie, they have always lied about this. Cameron claims that this agreement is not part of the CFSP, or the St Malo agreement that Blair signed, but it IS part of the 2003 Helsinki agreement which St Malo merely updated.
Cameron must think we are all dumbed down enough to believe his latest bull & guff. Its all out there in the public domain, hidden in plain view…
This follows hard on the heals of plans to integrate the British and French Submarine forces, the Carrier fleets and Air Force cooperation.
In a week that has seen Cameron give away even more sovereignty to the EU, this latest ‘bilaterial’ agreement was discussed and agreed with the French by the Conservatives nearly 2 years ago.
As Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox said that if the Conservatives formed the next government, the Ministry of Defence would invite France to make a formal submission to the promised Strategic Defence and Security Review “stating what they expect from their relationship with the United Kingdom” – code for we have already agreed but this will be the public pronouncement.
This latest ‘bilaterial’ agreement with the French will be just another of the EU Battlegroups which have been operating since 2006, of which the UK currently participates in two, one British, the other a joint UK/Dutch Brigade. (All initially set up as ‘bilaterial’ agreements).
The two UK led battlegroups are formed from units declared to the UK’s Joint Rapid Reaction Force, a rapid deployment element formed either from 3 Commando Brigade or 16 Air Assault Brigade, which are the elite commando and paratroop formations. The UK/Dutch battlegroup is drawn from the UK/NL Landing Force, which sees a battalion of the Dutch Royal Navy Korps Mariniers fully integrated within 3 Commando Brigade.
A European Union battlegroup (EUBG) is a military force consisting of at least 1500 combat soldiers. Eighteen battlegroups have been established, most of which consisting of multi-national contributions. The groups rotate actively, so that two are ready for deployment at all times. The forces are under the direct control of a unanimous European Council of the European Union.
The battlegroups reached full operational capacity on 1 January 2007. They are based on existing ad hoc missions that the European Union (EU) has undertaken and has been described as a new “standing army” for Europe. The troops and equipment are drawn from the EU member states under a “lead nation”. In 2004, then Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, welcomed the plans and emphasised the value and importance of the battlegroups in helping the UN deal with troublespots.
However, no matter how much protesting comes from Cameron and party loyalists, the EU is central to this move, and true to form the entire EU military structure gives the impression that it is split and incoherent as a single force but a single structure certainly lays behind it, so in order to understand these bilaterial agreements in the EU context, you also need to see the rest of the EU military. Bit by bit they make national forces dependent upon each other. You might think they are national forces, the EU doesnt.
EU Military current content and structure
- European Defence Agency
- Helsinki Headline Goal
- European Gendarmerie Force
- European Union battle groups
- European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS)
The following permanent political and military bodies were established after the approval of the European Council.
- Political and Security Committee or PSC
- European Union Military Committee or EUMC
- European Union Military Staff or EUMS
- Committee for Civilian Aspects of Crisis Management or CIVCOM
- European Union Satellite Centre
The CSDP is furthermore strongly facilitated by the European External Action Service.
From 1 January 2007, the EU Operations Centre began work in Brussels. It can command a limited size force of about 2000 troops (e.g. a battlegroup).
In addition to the EU centre, 5 national operational headquarters have been made available for use by the Union; Mont Valérien in Paris, Northwood in London, Potsdam, Centocelle in Rome and Larissa. For example, Operation Artemis used Mont Valérien as its OHQ and EUFOR’s DR Congo operation uses Potsdam.
Yes boys and girls, its the EU Military. Its not a ‘bilaterial’ treaty between France and the UK, as all treaties undertaken between member states of the EU are now automatically incorporated into the TFEU (The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).
My colleague Wittering for Witney has his own take on todays military news. Worth reading.
Oh, and don’t be surprised to see that the French want the second UK carrier, paid for by UK taxpayers after their only operational carrier broke down…
I have said it before, if there’s going to be a coup, hurry up chaps cause your running out of time.. and equipment.