"You can call it Margaret, you can call it Mary Anne, it is still a European Army".So it is odd to hear that in the House of Lords yesterday this exchange
"Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, does the Minister agree that the idea of a European army is most strongly floated in two sectors of opinion: first, the Europhobe lobby in Britain and Ireland; and, secondly, the soft Left in Germany and Belgium, who want to have a European army but do not want it to have to do anything? Does she further agree that co-operation among armed forces in Europe is very different from the concept of a European army, very much in Britain’s interest, and, indeed, a necessary part of the further development of an effective defence policy for the United Kingdom?Even odder was the appearence of the Commons Defence Minister John Hutton saying exactly the opposite in the Sunday Times. Is he saying that his ciollegue in the Ministry is "pathetic"?
Baroness Taylor of Bolton: My Lords, I do not always agree with the noble Lord on some of these issues but I agree with him today. Very few people are actively promoting the concept of an active European army, and perhaps that is not surprising because we do not have a NATO army or a United Nations army. All the actions that we enter into are the result of voluntary decisions. We are not obligated to be in Afghanistan or Iraq, we are doing it because we think that it is right. I think that that is how the situation will remain. Not many people other those who are very frightened of the concept of a European army are talking about it at all.
So what is the UK position over the European army? And what is the officuial opposition doing about it.
And if Richard North is right, is it worth being concerned?
It appears that Hutton has had his hand slapped.
John Hutton does not support an EU Army. There will be no European Army and NATO remains the cornerstone of European defence and the UK's defence arrangements. The UK's policy remains that there will be no standing European army, navy or air force. This is France's position too and President Sarkozy stated on 17 June 2008 that [French] "armed forces are and will remain national. They will not be integrated into any supranational force".