Hans-Peter Bartels, the parliamentary commissioner for the Armed Forces, insisted: “In the end, there will be a European Army.”
Bartel alleged the age-old system of national armies accountable to national governments was “disorganised, technically fragmented and duplicate structures unnecessarily”.
He claimed Europe’s peoples “do not want to go down the solitary national path anymore. Not in Germany, not in the Netherlands, not in the Czech Republic and not in Italy.”
He added: “Every step in the right direction [towards an EU army] is important.”
Eurosceptic groups such as Veterans for Britain, which campaigned for Brexit under the chairmanship of Falklands War hero Major Julian Thompson, has repeatedly warned against the dangers of Britain becoming embroiled in these plans despite its formal departure from the bloc.
Towards the end of 2016, Maj-Gen Thompson warned that Government officials were signing Britain up to military integration schemes so ambitious that he considered it tantamount to “the UK joining the single currency in its last two years of EU membership”.
“The plans use all means at the EU’s disposal to encroach on every single area of UK defence planning,” he said.
Policy, procurement, funding, intelligence services, command structure and defence research are all appropriated by these EU plans.
“British ministers have been creating a labyrinth from which we will need to escape,” said Veterans for Britain spokesman David Banks.
They have agreed to these vast EU plans while the UK is still obliged to comply as a member-state, and the Prime Minister will be given yet more to sign off on Thursday.
It is time for ministers to rein in these approvals and to allow MPs to discuss how much control the country wants to give away. Having left the EU we should be giving nothing away, but focusing on our pre-existing NATO relationships with European partners instead.
As recently as March 2017, the then French President François Hollande was insisting “the UK, even outside the EU, should be associated with [EU military integration]”.
Hollande protege and current President Emmanuel Macron is also an enthusiast for the process of unification.