Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cathy Ashton is hard

OK, maybe not hard but is after hard power capabilities for Europe,
If Europe is to be a credible player in the world, it requires more than just soft power.
What is interesting about this speech today to the Euroepan Defence Agency is this statement,
Defence Ministers have already recognised that it is better to have excellent collective capabilities than unsustainable or unattainable national ones. Since the informal EU Defence Ministerial in Ghent in 2010 there has been a strong political will to pool and share capabilities more systematically.
Interestingly Liam Fox was a stay away at this Ghent meeting, sending junior scrote Gerald Howarth to watch the meeting.
Another stay-away from the meeting was Britain’s Defence Secretary Liam Fox, who before he took over as minister in the Conservative-led coalition government in May had been a critic of close EU defence integration. Officials said Fox’s stand-in, Gerald Howarth, the minister for international security strategy, expressed doubts about the usefulness of the European Defence Agency, which other nations would like to see play an expanded role in coordinating armaments cooperation. Morin complained that Britain’s long-standing veto of an increased budget for the agency was holding back its effectiveness.
The questyion reamins over Britain's involvement in the EDA. According to the reports the Tories were all for pulling out, but the Lib Dems kept them in for two years.
Before (the) general election, the Conservatives threatened to pull Britain out of the EDA if they won power. However, since the formation of the coalition with the Liberal Democrats, the government's position had softened - with ministers now stating the UK will remain a member for two more years, after which the position will be "reviewed".
Those two years are coming up, so has the MOD made a decision, will Phillip Hammond bite this bullet?

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