Pointless! Macron’s EU army dream is brutally dismantled ‘Imagine the arguments’

Ben Wallace discusses ‘trust’ between Australia, UK and US

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Mr Wallace, speaking on the sidelines of the Tory Party conference in Manchester, was questioned about calls by Mr Macron, among other senior EU figures, for a dedicated EU unit of up to 20,000 troops which could be deployed rapidly across the globe. EU officials are expected to present a draft plan for a so-called “first entry force” next month.

However, the former British Army officer was deeply sceptical about the practicalities of the idea.

He told the Telegraph: “What is really important is, can you come to a political decision to deploy men and women, who may face death, around the world?

“For that reason, I think two things are pointless.”

He explained: “One is, you already have that worked through for 90 per cent of Europe, and that’s called Nato, so why would you need to replicate that?

“And secondly, I don’t think the European Union could agree on such life and death issues.

“And therefore you’ll just have potentially a standing army that won’t do very much.”

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Can you imagine the arguments about who’s going to buy the equipment?

Ben Wallace

Moreover, Mr Wallace questioned the viability of the idea from a decision-making perspective.

He said: “Can you imagine the arguments about who’s going to buy the equipment?

“Will it be French, will it be German? And then, are we going to actually use it?

“I think it’s a press release rather than a reality.”

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EU efforts to create a rapid reaction force have been stalled for more than ten years, despite the creation in 2007 of a system of battlegroups of 1,500 troops which have never been used as a result of disputes over funding and a reluctance to deploy.

However, the US withdrawal from Afghanistan has put the issue back on the agenda, with the EU alone potentially unable to evacuate personnel from countries where it is training foreign troops – for example in Mali, in West Africa.

Speaking in August, Joseph Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat, said: ”The EU must be able to intervene to protect our interests when the Americans don’t want to be involved.

“As Europeans, we have to use this crisis to learn to work more together and reinforce our strategic autonomy.

“As Europeans, we should be able to do things also on our own.”

Also speaking in August, Portugal’s defence minister Joao Gomes Cravinho said: “We cannot remain adolescents forever.

“We have to, at a certain point, stand up and say we assume responsibilities. That time has come.”

Former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib, who has frequently voiced his concern at the prospect of an EU army, nevertheless believes the prospect is some way off, not least because of the reluctance of many EU27 members to spend the recommended two percent of GDP on defence.

He said: One of the reasons the West’s influence has been diminishing across the Globe is because for too long Europe has been spoilt by the US.

“Spoilt by the US putting its protective blanket around our continent.”

He added: “France and Germany have taken the opportunity to shirk their obligations and focus on domestic matters, at our cost. So much for a level playing field!

“The only saving grace of the EU’s military weakness is their emerging army is unlikely to be a threat to us for a while yet.”

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