Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

EU Foreign Ministry plan condemned

19th September 2012

The Conservative foreign affairs spokesman in the European Parliament has condemned proposals to create an EU foreign ministry and defence force.

Charles Tannock MEP described the scheme as "unwanted, unwarranted and unlikely to prevail". The move emerged in press reports of a policy paper drawn up by nine European states - excluding the UK but including France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Poland.

It calls for wholesale reorganisation of external and security policies to create an all-powerful foreign ministry, run on majority voting and thus bypassing the British veto on key foreign-policy decisions.

The report further envisages a European Army and single market for pooled EU defence industries.

Dr Tannock said: "This plays into the hands of the hardline eurosceptics who have been predicting this type of move for years. There is no evidence that this is something the people of Europe desire and it appears as a political elitist top down project that will end in tears.

"There is no support for such a move in the UK by the public or the Government, which would result in a veto and a referendum which would almost undoubtedly reject it."

"Those who want to suck all sovereign power to the centre of a federalist Europe dream equally of global status for their superstate. They fantasize a United States of Europe, bestriding the international stage and wielding diplomatic influence and military might.

"The truth is that under the Lisbon Treaty we already have an External Action Service led by Baroness Ashton which should be there to represent to EU's interests abroad. Its scope and its responsibilities - not to mention its cost to the taxpayer - are quite enough already.

"The armchair generals who want to create a European army should remember that Britain and the other European powers are already to signed up to a mutual security organisation; one which has proved its effectiveness over many years. It is called NATO, and given its excellent track record I see no need to replace or replicate it."