If Brexit means Brexit, the UK Can’t Block an EU Army

“This is not going to happen. We are full members of the EU and we will go on resisting any attempt to set up a rival to NATO.”

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon’s response to proposals for an EU army discussed at the Bratislava summit ‘informal gathering’ of EU Heads of Government (minus Theresa May), reported in The Times yesterday cannot be, if Brexit means Brexit, anything other than a denial of reality.

If government statements are honest, then the UK is going to exit the bloc in 2019. By that time plans for something as legally, diplomatically and practically complex as an EU army would still be very much in draft form. At that point, the UK will not “go on resisting” anything. Sceptical non-NATO members like Austria, Sweden, Finland, and, yes, Ireland, may yet prevent the creation of an EU army, but the UK is already an irrelevance in that debate.

If Brexit means Brexit, then an unnamed ‘EU diplomat’ also quoted in The Times shot Fallon’s fox in one sentence: “Threatening to block what we already want to do is not going to make an already difficult negotiation easier when Britain comes cap in hand on Brexit next year.”

Think about it – crucial negotiations overshadowed by extraordinary bad feelings created by a dying British veto of something that the UK will never be part of because it will have left the EU before it happens. It makes no sense.

So we have two possibilities. One is that Michael Fallon is stupid. He’s never struck me as being stupid, though. Definitely not this stupid. Also, the fact that he is quoted first in the article and The Times didn’t run a quote from a juicier source like Boris Johnson or ‘a spokesperson for Number 10’ implies he may have planted the story in the first place.

The second possibility is that Fallon doesn’t think the UK will be exiting the EU in 2019. That may be because he’s a staunch Remainer who can’t deal with reality. And it may be because he’s a senior member of the Cabinet and knows things that the rest of us don’t.

It’s probably unreasonable to expect a clear government line on Brexit less than three months after a Referendum result few seem to have expected, but even the broadest parameters of an ideal UK negotiation outcome are yet to be defined. It’s not just ‘The Three Brexiteers’ who are incessantly making statements out of kilter with the Prime Minister, but some of the Remainers: as well as Fallon, of late Amber Rudd and Philip Hammond haven’t sounded like people entirely convinced that the UK is actually going to be leaving the EU.

As for the Prime Minister, who always sounded like someone who disliked the EU but thought the only thing even worse was leaving it, she shows every sign of being someone prepared to tack with the prevailing wind. She has put leading Leave campaigners in the ideal position to make a success of Brexit if they can, and she is perfectly positioned to dump on them if it goes wrong. In particular, by repeatedly identifying the level of immigration as the main reason for public opposition to EU membership, she has the option of using any ‘five minutes to midnight’ deal securing the emergency brake that David Cameron failed to obtain as a material change in circumstances permitting a u-turn. If it comes to that, a repentant Boris who was always pro-EU and has never quite lost the shocked look he developed in the early hours of 24 June when he realised he was on the winning side, might prove an especially useful form of political cover for her.

Of course, the Prime Minister has also said that Brexit means Brexit, so that must mean Brexit, whatever that means.

Follow me at twitter.com/gerrylynch and facebook.com/gi0rtn and catch up with all my blog posts at sammymorse.livejournal.com

  • mickfealty

    An EU army without the UK would add up an EU division of the UN, or worse become an instrument of French foreign policy. Without some counterbalance, I’m not sure it’s a goer.

    Not sure either that it’s the most pressing thing on the EU’s agenda, which perhaps ought to look for ways to make the EURO work first?

  • Gopher

    The U.K. have a couple of bi-lateral defence agreements with France, one involving loaning Aircraft Carriers (when they are completed) and the other on sharing airlift capability. Not sure the UK is entirely powerless on defence matters outside Brexit especially given the Charles de Gaulle’s reported serviceability record. I also believe the Irsh Government have some agreement with the U.K. on the protection of airspace in the event of an attempted 911

  • dcomplex

    It’s not complicated. It means that the UK will use its veto where it can and attempt to marshal support against it among other sceptical countries where it doesn’t have a veto.

  • the rich get richer

    The Yanks will decide what happens for the time being….then maybe the Chinese

  • chrisjones2

    Its a good negotiating position.

    If some EU members or Commissioners wish to be belligerent as we plan to leave until we get favourable terms for Brexit and some rational discussion rather than hectoring lectures from failed drunks we can stymie new initiatives if that becomes necessary

  • chrisjones2

    The problem is the Euro cannot work. Its almost designed to fail – which is why the Italians refsued to share a platform with France and Germany at the end of the summit

  • Starviking

    I seem to recall a retired general stating he had changed his vote from Remain to Leave because of his fears of an “EU Army” being formed in secret. Of course leaving the EU makes any UK opposition irrelevant. Perhaps the general lacked strategy, or perhaps he understood it only far too well.

    Of course, there is the fact that a Tabloid “EU Army” and a real-life one would be completely different beasts. As far as I know the EU Army would be just another transnational military alliance, much like NATO. There are very good reasons to oppose it, not least as it could be a major threat to NATO unity. Unless EU citizens want to be paying much more for their defence, they don’t want to go down that road. For people like Herr Juncker, on the other hand, it might provide another trapping of state for the state they wish to have.

  • chrisjones2

    Are those not both negotiated within NATO?

  • chrisjones2

    YOur last comment is absolutely correct. Another step along the road to the superstate and with an unelected and unaccountable civil servant in charge as the Generals are just too unpredictable

  • mac tire

    “…until we get favourable terms for Brexit.”

    What are these terms? Some detail would be nice, not just the vague generalities and wishful thinking we have been getting until now.

    “…we can stymie new initiatives if that becomes necessary.”

    This will lead to tit-for-tat and Britain isolated (though this splendid isolation seems to be the in thing now).

    “…hectoring lectures from failed drunks.”

    That’s just nasty, Chris. Use that attitude in the negotiations and we’ll see how far Britain gets. Being venomous, despite getting what you wanted, is not a pretty trait.

  • Gerry Lynch

    How is the UK in a position to “marshal” other sceptical countries? What does it UK have to offer them? Please note, it wasn’t even at the table when this was discussed this week, and by the time this could happen it won’t have a veto either.

  • Gerry Lynch

    I’m not sure it’s a goer either, but this wasn’t really a post about an EU army, it was a post about whether there are senior government figures still “in denial” about Brexit; and if there are, are they the ones in denial or are the rest of us.

  • Gerry Lynch

    Personally, I think the idea of an EU army is a needless political project that, at best, will suck energy and political attention from pressing issues where deep and painful reform is necessary (a bit like Brexit, really). But the comments on here are comedy gold. The UK no longer has any political clout in the EU – do please note it wasn’t even in the room when these proposals were discussed. Its global political standing has taken a serious hit, as was obvious at the G20 summit.

    Unless, of course, the UK won’t actually be exiting the EU in 2019. It’s hard to read Farrell’s comments as meaning anything else. That doesn’t mean he’s right, of course.

  • GEF

    “If Brexit means Brexit, the UK Can’t Block an EU Army”

    Of course they can’t, but the UK can refuse to join an EU army or deploy their nuclear deterrent submarines to the defence of the EU. What if Ireland agrees to join this EU armed forces they will have to supply a battalion of troops willing to fight.

    Furthermore what will happen to France? will they supply 2 nuclear missile firing submarines to the EU and another 2 of these type subs to NATO?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Oh, no, the generals are chosen to be exactly that, predictable civil servants, chris. It’s the colonels you need to watch, remember Greece!

  • Mega Kensei

    Did you ever see 95% of Roberto Carlos free kicks? He’d take a run up a mile back, lash the ball really hard with loads of swerve on it with a beautiful piece of technique that would miss the goal by miles and miles and miles.

    Just occurred to me there.

  • 1729torus

    UK can’t veto enhanced cooperation.

  • chrisjones2

    And all the nuclear tactical weapons as well … the bombs, missiles, torpedoes and depth charges. Will the Irish Navy for example provide support to the nuclear armed capital ships of the EU Navy?

  • chrisjones2

    “This will lead to tit-for-tat” I suggested we only deploy it if pushed to that position but in a game of tit for tat the big customer is always in a stronger position that the supplicant supplier. As for venomous look at Junckers speech last week to see a snide patronising approach by the man who has helped lead the EU to break up an possible disaster

    As for what a good Brexit looks like I suggest

    * free access to the single market and the UK market incluidng passporting for financial servcies
    * reasonable immigration from the EU to the UK with numbers specified by the UK according to annual needs
    * reciprocal resident rights for existing UK citizens in the EU and vice versa with the offer of dual citizenry to protect those
    * a positive open and friendly relationship going forward

    Sadly Junkers speech last week was the antithesis of this

  • Kevin Breslin

    Isn’t NATO a just a pan European Defence Force anyway, with like 25 European nations including 22 EU nations.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Gold worked as a pan national currency for millennia. The petrodollar is effectively a global currency as well.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The Union Flag of course, all must bow down and worship.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Erm, sorry but if any of the 22 EU NATO Nations get nuclear bombed, the NATO Treaty means the UK may have to nuke back.

    Also deploy their “nuclear deterrent” nonsense. If I threaten to punch someone in the face it’s not a deterrent, it’s aggression designed to provoke.

    Silly boys.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Irish aren’t going to offer anything more than internal security and its own self-defence as a neutral country.

  • Kevin Breslin

    First option isn’t going to happen because it’s complete charity to a country that doesn’t think it needs aid. Those financial passports are going to cost. The customs checks are going to have to come in.

    The fact is it amounts to “sponging off” the single market because it has the demand that UK citizens are entitled to better rights in the EU, than EU citizens will get in the United Kingdom.

    It’s complete nonsense to think the UK services would be allowed to have positive discrimination within the Single Market while Eastern European services are being discriminated within the UK.

    There would have to be a visa penalty, customs and some moderate tariffs involved just with any third nation who does not want freedom of movement of labour.

    The UK may reciprocate, but the fact is that if it’s not paying in £10bn a year, it’s not getting more than it had from the EU and then some.

    Face the facts, if you want special advantages within the EU you need to be within the EU.

    Brits are just going to have to work harder and face the obstacles the UK puts in the way of the EU when they are in the EU.

    I mean if I were to insult you Chris Jones I wouldn’t expect to get something for free that I had to have paid for before. So why are Leave supporters thinking they are going to get rewarded for xenophobic prejudices against Europeans?

  • Gerry Lynch

    If the UK is leaving the EU, it won’t be joining an EU army by definition. That’s why it wasn’t even in the room when these proposals were discussed. I’m not sure what’s so hard about that concept but a lot of people on this thread seem to be struggling with it.

  • NMS

    And logically it will have to accept the hard border between Ireland (the State) and the UK(NI) . EU soldiers defending its borders from UK bandits keeping the civilised world safe from the badlands of South Armagh and similar. Or at least an EU Border force to do the job.

    It is clear from the Visegrád Group, Bulgaria & Romania that there will be no deals for the UK without free movement, to which the UK has said it cannot/will not tolerate. No side deals or bi-lateral solutions are going to be allowed unless the UK decides to move on the free movement issue.

    Jens Weidmann of the Bundesbank is broadly making similar points in this Guardian piece https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/18/hard-brexit-will-cost-city-of-london-its-hub-status-warns-bundesbank-boss.

    The fun awaits.

  • dcomplex

    The UK still can participate in Europarl and the Council of ministers on all issues not related to the art50 proceedings.

  • dcomplex

    Mr. Weidemann is the architect of the Eurocrisis, the devil of austerity at the Bundesbank. He is a man with blood on his hands.

  • Roger

    I think they’d like a single market without a customs union, EU regulation or migrants. Perfectly clear and reasonable really. Those pesky Europeans.

  • Roger

    You mentioned single market. So are you saying UK remains in Customs Union? No new trade deals for liberated UK? What about the EU rules that govern the single market. That’s regs governing everything from bank passports to bananas. Are you saying UK still will be obliged to follow those rules even though it won’t play a part in setting them?

  • Gopher

    Nope, France’s recent intervention in Mali the RAF provided heavy lift support for the operation. That was a purely “French” political intervention outside NATO.

  • Gopher

    As I see it the European Army is designed to circumvent a lot of protocols. Firstly it is designed to create a common European defence industry which will supply a standardised European military. Every soldier from Cork to Warsaw will carry the same rifle, wear the same helmet and be carried into battle in the same APC.
    The next step will be the removal of national defence budgets and its replacement by a central European Defence fund, contributions set by Brussels. Effectively this will end the tendering ability of national governments and will be a huge industrial subsidy to Dassault, Airbus and various Tank Developers and Shipyards much in the same way Boeing benefits in the US. It will also eliminate commercial competition from manufacturers like Saab who will become component manufacturers in the future production chain and the elimination of projects such as Eurofighter. This is a central dynamic created in a large measure by the F35 export book to European nations.
    Once the European Armed forces is up and running it is inconceivable individual sovereign agreements like exist for the defence of Irish Airspace will be allowed to continue. This will mean aircraft and ships of future European Armed services being stationed in Republic or an agreement between the EU and UK circumventing Dublin. This I think will be the more likely option in Ireland’s case given a future European Armed forces reliance on the UK for out of theatre ops in the medium term. This will happen throughout Europe outside the auspices of NATO. Centralised Command means just what it says.
    German forces by law cannot take part in active combat operations. European Forces can France cannot shoulder combat operations alone and the only other reliable forces outside the UK is Germany. A European Army will enable German forces to engage in combat operations circumventing their national laws.
    The final circumvention will only occur when the European Armed forces engage in combat operations, all of Europe will become a belligerent no matter what their individual national constitution says.

  • Paul Hagan

    A good point, Britain’s military relationship with France (in structures entirely outside the EU) are now bordering on the intimate. Paris’ preference is still for an EU-base but years of waiting made the bi-lateral deal with the UK so much more appealing. This might in fact give the UK some leverage in this.

  • Paul Hagan

    Good article, I don’t think the EU army is a goer either, at least not in medium term. Mogherini (who holds more sway in this) said only very recently We all agree that the European army is not something that is going to happen any time soon..” Before adding “Fifty, 60, 100 years from now, who knows?”

    What I found annoying was the sight of some Brexiteers (DUP members among them) gleefully posting Yuncker’s announcement as an “I told you so”, without realising that it was only happening because of the referendum result. They were basically cheering as the UK’s influence in the world (military as well as diplomatic) receded before their very eyes.

  • Thomas Barber

    “Erm, sorry but if any of the 22 EU NATO Nations get nuclear bombed, the NATO Treaty means the UK may have to nuke back”

    That depends on who’s firing the missiles at those EU Nations Kevin.


  • SeaanUiNeill

    They’ve been trying since 1688, with the innocuous tag line “Balance of Power”. But its important who holds the balance, is it not?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    And long may it stay so…..

  • SeaanUiNeill

    The same terms, I’d imagine, as everyone else in Europe who want to trade freely with the EU, but stay outside. Something similar to those for being inside but no seat at the table. So much for “independence” in the real world………

  • SeaanUiNeill

    The US government acting as brokers for the 1%. i doubt that the ordinary American people will have much say in anything….same as it ever was…….

  • Kevin Breslin

    Perhaps a section of the Leave side fear an EU army because their main plan was “gunboat diplomacy” … Lol.


    Who would’ve radicalised them to think they need to do that?


  • 1729torus

    The problem is that the UK simply too weak to impose a balance on the continent, especially if Brexit causes serious damage. Their economy has already shrunk and the UK is finding it harder to hold itself together.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Mercifully so, for the first time in half a millennia.

  • chrisjones2

    Wanting to control your own economy is not xenophobic. Wanting to manage immigration (not stop it) isn’t xenophobic. Wanting to trade freely with the EU isn’t xenophobic especially where you are such a huge net customer.

  • chrisjones2

    Free access is free access …. open trade. There can be customs checks to monitor flows but I would argue for no tariffs.

    But if the EU refuse then fine we can impose WTO standard tariffs on imports and buy our German cars elsewhere. Bang goes 25% of the German car industry. Angela will be pleased and Sarko, the next President, will be delighted that Junckers bumbling mess hits the trade of Citroen and Renault for example.

    And by the way many of those cars by VW Mercedes and BMW are actually made outside the EU

    And if some fools in the EU want to spark a trade war then the tariffs can go up – its their collective choice. And after yesterdays results in Germany and with Austria and Hungary close behind and several Italian Banks on the brink of collapse, by the time we leave we may well find a number of EU Countries who wish they were going with us. Who knows. Some may choose to do so .

    I stress again that I do not relish any of this. I wish we might have been able to reform the EU so we could rationally stay. we could not. I now hope we can manage a sensible exit to the advantage of all sides. I just fear that the Commission will be so keen to show how big its cohones are that it will all end in tears. If so, better tears for the EU than the UK – or Ireland for that matter but I hope it can be avoided

  • Kevin Breslin

    It’s not a free trade if there is barriers to reciprocation.

    If the UK denies the EU freedom of movement of services and labour within its market, then the EU cannot trade them freedom of movement of labour and services within the EU market.

    It’s not a Trade if the EU is banned from exporting services and labour to your market while you insist on exporting services and labour to theirs.

    The pre-1960s consensus of only Brits with travel papers getting into the continent may have to be reintroduced.

    There may be an agreement on goods, the external tariff on CAP may remain in place, but WTO terms might be avoided.

    The pre-1960’s consensus of tariffs and customs checks as a result of the UK being outside any EU customs union may have to be introduced … and even introduced on the Irish border.

    I cannot see an easy agreement on services, UK services, travel and labour within the European Union may have to be curtailed as a “trade-off” for the UK’s demands to stop EU services, travel and labour in the other direction.

    The UK by banning labour and services from the EU does not want to either be a good customer nor a free trader.

    You cannot see the bilateral thinking here.

    I think people seem to think a vote for Brexit meant the European Union was replaced entirely by Westminster, almost right across the continent and all trade arrangements were passed unilaterally from the Houses of Parliament.

    The reality is the European Union may wish to have the pre-1960s arrangements of travel control, trade control and labour control that it had over its market and leave the United Kingdom to go to its pre-1960’s state too.

    And this extends beyond the European Union, even the European Economic Area countries like Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein are disagreeing with the United Kingdom strategy on this.

    Unless the United Kingdom surrenders some rights to freedom of movement in labour and services then it cannot stop EU nationals from having the same rights. Maybe Service providers will simply have to go on the ESSA like system. In return you can turn away certain EU labour without a similar work-permit.

    This means British people involved Finance, Advertising, Marketing and even Science and Engineering services all subject to “controls and regulations” that the UK has a limited treaty say in as the United Kingdom insists on avoiding EU regulations and controls within its own market.

    Working British people may even have to be quota-ed in Schengen nations.

    To most people that would be fair, but there just seems to be a God’s chosen people mentality about the small minority of xenophobic British that just cannot accept reciprocity within trade.

    As I said before, the UK has no upper hand on this, they can’t get more out than they put in.

  • Kevin Breslin

    So how would you argue against tariffs if every non-EU nation in the world has to pay the European Union’s external tariff on the Common Agricultural Policy.

    I mean if little Andorra has to pay it, San Marino has to pay it and Kaliningrad pays it … what would make Northern Ireland so special?

    It might hurt their trade to have them, but it might mess up their ability to subsidize things like farming if they weren’t in place.

    You do realise this is more xenophobic God’s Chosen People logic, where the United Kingdom thinks being outside the European Union entitles them to either demand to steer its’ external trade policy or demand a WTO trade war.

    The nations of the European Union will determine their own trade policy with third nations, they’ll keep their external tariff that they keep in place with Norway and Switzerland until there is an internal shift in policy and the betterment of their own 450 million people will be put well ahead of whatever sympathies they had for a 65 million people nation of a friend.

    Really there is nothing the European Union gets from spoiling the United Kingdom with more privileges than any other 3rd nation has.

    If the United Kingdom goes down the WTO route, it’s a hard border for Northern Ireland.

    And then there’s absolutely no guarantee the UK wont have tariffs anyway in order to subsidize its agri-food goods …There was talk about a Free Trade Bill, but it is about as believable to me as the 350 million on the health service thing… even the “free trade” heroes of Norway, Iceland and Switzerland have them on these products.

    Northern Ireland will just have to export to a market of 65 million consumers while other deals take about 10 years to come to fruition and the Republic of Ireland will just have to export to a market of 450 million consumers.

    For the United Kingdom to threaten World Trade Terms just because it doesn’t get everything its own way, is utterly pathetic and shows it cares more about English jingoism than the Irish-Northern Irish border that is being turned into a frontline far worse than any other EU nation state wanted it to be.

  • Roger

    You’ve clearly demonstrated refined thinking and understand that allowing a state that isn’t bound by single market rules to trade its goods and (presumably) services into the EU as if it were is perfectly fine and reasonable. The EU 27 should be happy to go along with that. Pesky Europeans. These notions they have of a level playing field in the single market are quite clearly unreasonable and irrational. Rule Britannia.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I just don’t understand why he thinks there would be an open border if the United Kingdom demands WTO terms on the European Union.

    That means that effectively both parts of Ireland have to have WTO terms and tariffs on one another simply because of British unilateralism.

    How does he plan to make the Irish people on either side of the border see that Britain “is in the right” here without a reasonable attempt at some negotiation!

  • Kevin Breslin

    I should hasten to add anything with the terms Royal & Irish would be exempt from my previous statement if the UK U-turns on this matter.

  • Gerry Lynch

    The new UKIP leader seems quite keen on working with Mr Putin to enforce a new balance of power!

  • chrisjones2

    “If the UK denies the EU freedom of movement of services and labour within its market, then the EU cannot trade them freedom of movement of labour and services within the EU market.”

    It can if it chooses to do so. This is a human system with rules set by humans. Everything is negotiable

    “a God’s chosen people mentality”

    Frankly that is a quasi racist view of the genuine concerns of people and their desire to impose some control over their own economy. I know that you disagree but your tone of moral and intellectual superiority and your preemptory statements on what is and is not ‘permitted’ is grating. This culture is one of the reasons we are where we are today

    “the UK has no upper hand on this”

    The UK has an upper hand in that it is by far the larger customer. If the Germans and French for example want to hinder or handicap their trade in motor vehicles with us, for example, that is fine. The same applies on agricultural products, wine and many other areas

    There are also multiple alternative suppliers who will be delighted to do sensible trade deals with us. As I keep saying – the UK does not want to see this but if it happens it happens and we can deal with it and respond accordingly

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thank you Gerry, I had not heard that. Interesting……

  • mac tire

    Ah yes! Those Johnny Foreigners will just bloody well have to surrender to all of your demands. After all, don’t they realise that you’re British?

    And if they don’t, those Germans will sell a few less cars. That will teach them!

  • chrisjones2

    While it has a choice which may not be very much longer. In any case any belligerent may not be persuaded that because Ireland is a mere regional assembly it should not attack its assets

  • eireanne3

    and more recently, Turkey!

  • eireanne3

    RE call My Bluff on WTO arrangements

    Roberto Azevêdo, WTO chief says all UK trade deals would have to be renegotiated – a tricky business given that the UK does not have the investigative bodies to delve into complex issues, such as steel dumping.
    “Russia’s accession to the WTO took 20 years. Other negotiations happened faster. It will be a very high risk bet to hope that negotiations would be quickly completed and that negotiations would be uneventful,” he said.


  • chrisjones2

    …and act as a sales platform for French weaponry – which is why they got involved in bombing Libya for example

  • chrisjones2

    Yes …I believe they want the UK to shoot down a rogue commercial airliner in Irish Airspace if needed ….my the aftermath of that one will be fun

  • chrisjones2

    Come on Kevin…comments like that just undermine the value of your arguments (such as they are :))

  • Thomas Barber

    Well its not as daft as you may think Chris they dont seem to have learned the lessons of illegal wars Tony Blair Iraq, David Cameron Libya and now Therasa May in Syria


    “British air force admits involvement in airstrikes which hit Syrian govt troops”

    What is it with these war mongers they just seem to be unable to stop murdering innocent people.

    Do you think someones pulling their strings ?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Your response is hilarious, firstly in terms of a “we”, there is no “we” there is no Northern Irish people in cabinet. If there was then they’d realise that WTO terms would pretty much drain about 9-10% out of the Northern Irish economy.

    If Westminster imposes a hard border then Northern Ireland producers are going to suffer, the DUP’s plans to lead an export driven economy will be torn a shunder and corporation tax reductions in this part of Europe will be useless.

    And why would that be?

    Pure pompous racist pride, the demand that the European Union treat the United Kingdom as first class citizens and Romanians, Bulgarians, Czechs, Slovaks and Poles as second class citizens.

    Sorry, not going to be negotiable, UK must either sacrifice free movement of services and people for itself within the Schengen nation or sacrifice its sovereign right to discriminate. I cannot see all 28 nations signing off on something which explicitly bans Eastern Europeans from selling services and their labour in the UK while the UK insists undiluted access to sell in European customers’ backyard and insists UK nationals can travel visa free for absolutely nothing.

    As Newton said every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

    This is how I could see a response.

    You honestly think you’re the only market for German cars and French cars, your policies have forced us to withdraw manufacturing plants from your country, we’ve had to move them to Poland because you cannot ironically respect the work of the Poles and British in the nation you live in.
    Many of your own workers are looking for EU citizenship in order to work there now.
    You’d make your nearest neighbour and a struggling constituent part of your own nation, pay the price for arrogantly wanting to put British people on a pedestal above many of our own members! No one in the entire European Union has benefited from migration more than you have. You cannot even except equality in freedom of movement of labour and services. What exactly do you have to sell us?

    Why should we allow your services and your labour into our market if you can’t reciprocate or let us apply equal terms? Take that issue to the WTO and they’ll see things in our favour, the Swiss have tried and they failed.

    You will have to pay the CAP tariff we put on all third countries, you will have to face our nations’ immigration rules to sell services in our market if you want to discriminate against ours in your own, you will have to pay to use our institutional bodies, you will still have to face our regulations for your exports, you will no longer have access to any trade deal you had as an EU member.

    We’ll accept reciprocal tariffs or not, your loss, curtails on free movement and your continuing investment and cooperation in science and security in this treaty.

    You may be a customer but we are the shareholders of the single market, and this is what being a shareholder entitles you to do. You want to pay nothing in, you get nothing out. You can buy our goods, you’d have to impose sanctions to stop us selling them.

    If you don’t like it, take your hyperinflated ego and your hyperinflated currency and go elsewhere.

    Upper hand is on European Union, I’m afraid.

    Look at how nervous the UK delegation was on the Open Europe Wargames if you don’t believe me.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The UK could keep its seat on the WTO, but it will end up siding with the North America, Europe, Russia, Japan, Australia, the South East Asia countries and largely on generic stuff.

    WTO deals are pretty much defined as the bare minimum. There is no guarantee the UK would want to stay in the WTO.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Here was me thinking Marshalling was effectively calling people to swear allergence to a leader, and in that case the Marshall of the nations would be Britain, specifically British national interests.

    There is a fantastic point here to be made, there is really no guarantee that the diverse range of Eurosceptics would be more willing to co-operate with the post Brexit UK, than some Eurosceptics suggest.

    Common spites is not a great basis to develop a common relationship.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    With globalisation we have developed more subtile modes of “invasion” Chris. Blackstone and Cerberus now own much of Ireland (north and south) with no shots fired. We just need a batch of greedy, overstretched local developers to ensure that we part with our local assets, and no amount of military expenditure is going to save us from that.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    A good post Gopher, if rather incomprehensible in a few places where “sæva Indignatio” appears to have blurred your prose.

  • chrisjones2

    Then they are very foolish and the Germans (who owe their loans) will be very happy at the resultant damage to their industrial base.

    And with a work permit based system its very easy for the UK to allow workers in from some EU states but not others. In the end their self interest will out but its not surprising to see the EU minnows jump up and down and shout

    Both those countries are also probably the most corrupt in the EU so lets just see what happens

  • chrisjones2

    I am sure too that some Northern Parties will be delighted to introduce you to some

  • SeaanUiNeill

    The trouble is, I know a few already and hear what they talk about at dinner parties sometimes.

  • Gopher

    No indignation Seaan, for Europe if your into the thing as a centralised structure it’s the smart move. If you still believe in Sovereign states within the EU it’s not so good news. The fact remains the course will be much as I layer out. The uniform will be the same and eventually the oath will be the same. The EU ain’t going to risk anymore defections in the medium term so expect greater integration. Maybe the UK should have stayed in and supplied a few “Tercio’s”

  • Sir Rantsalot

    An EU army would require all EU countries to surrender control of their own military to a EU command structure. This would be under the control of the unelected EU commission that no person can vote out. If that doesn’t scare pro EU people then they must be completely stupid.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    You’re absolutely correct about the centralisation Gopher. I’d be sorry to see such British army regimental traditions as have survived the Great Monetarist purges simply being stamped out as they are transformed into just another one of the Legions (to Tercios) of the actual “Third Rome”. I just keep hearing Yeats’ aside on an earlier, if rather short lived, twentieth century re-incarnation of the Roman Empire, “Only dried sticks can be tied into a bundle….”

  • eireanne3

    “An EU army would require all EU countries to surrender control of their own military to a EU command structure” – not necessarily. Regiments from various countries could be attached on a pro tem basis and rotated.
    I explored the theory of an EU Army with Army staff officers from an EU country some time ago and they had no objections to the idea. They quite liked it. If they do and are satisfied, when the time comes somewhere down the line to move from theory to practice, what possible concern is it of the UK’s since the Uk’s Brexiting ?

  • eireanne3

    If the UK exits the EU and does not want to stay in the WTO, where else does it go to create the sunny uplands promised by the brexiteers?

  • Gopher

    The British Army has at its core the constitution which means its direct political leverage is zero. On the other hand the European Army will have massive political leverage without any counter balance, once nationality breaks down. There will be the worrisome evolution of elite formations within that army and it goes without saying given Europes penchant for bureaucracy a General Staff. In a continent with a long history of military coups I’m happy with the British Armed forces keep their independence from European tinkering with fate.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “I’m happy with the British Armed forces keep [ing] their independence from European tinkering with fate.”

    You and me, both.

  • Reader

    Kevin, you kept on squashing together Services and Labour/Travel/Immigration as thought they were a single issue. I was about to say they are 2 different things, but actually they are 4 different things.
    The EU has already negotiated trade deals without free movement, and can do so again. Clearly the interests of Germany [trade] are different from the interests of Poland [emigration] – that is a problem for the EU. Or the commission may wish to impose a punishment as a deterrent – then the commission will be at odds with the interests of the national governments.
    But I am sure the commission will have your full support for their disciplinary measures, until they try to compel Ireland to contribute to an EU army (hardware or cash – Ireland’s choice)

  • Kevin Breslin

    Freedom to Access a Services Market is explicitly linked to Migration.

    Therefore Equality in Freedom to access a Services Market is explicitly linked to Equality in Migration.

    Simply put UK limits EU nationals (e.g. Poles), EU nations (Germany) limit Brits.





    End of argument.

    Common Sense 1
    Whiny Flag Protest Argument 0

  • Katyusha

    Sounds much like NATO, to be honest.
    I’d rather the European nations were able to look after their own interests and miltiary affairs than be in hock to the US on all security issues.

    The needless antagonism of Russia over the Ukraine is a good illustration of how when US and EU interests contradict each other, the US gets it’s way. A stronger European military alliance would allow us to push back against the US when we need to, and to work with Russia – our natural ally – when it suits us to do so. At the moment, we can’t do this.

  • Starviking

    Whatever Herr Junker may wish, France, Germany and most other European nations will not want to part with – and Juncker has no power to force them.

    Also, “EU Army” is a poorly-chosen term, “EU Military Alliance” would be much more accurate.

  • Starviking

    Sounds quite like the EU Battlegroups which have been operating without much hoo-hah since 2007.

    Confirms in my mind that much of the bluster over an “EU Army” is just tabloid-level politicing.

  • Starviking

    Come up with a reasonable scenario for that happening to the French, German, and Italian Armed Forces and my belief in the chance of the creation of a unitary EU Army may advance one iota.