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[24/01/2005] EU permanent military industrial complex

From EU REFERENDUM  blog . . . Saturday  22 January 2005


European defence integration took another lurch forward this week when it
"became known" without any formal announcement that the EU Commission had
finalised plans to inaugurate "a permanent group of government and defence
industry officials" to advise it on the EU's future defence research

This is to be the European Security Research Advisory Board (ESRAB), which
will consist of approximately 50 experts from government research institutes
and European defence companies.

Participants will come from all 25 EU member states, some countries will get
more representatives than others. Britain, France and Germany are expected
to get four representatives each, with Italy getting perhaps three, said the
industry executive. Those four nations contain the bulk of the EU defence

Their purpose is to identify security-oriented projects for funding in the
union's rolling five-year research budget, known as the Framework program.

This will run from 2007-2011 and is expected to set aside at least E:1
billion ($1.3 billion) per year for security and defence-related research

It is described as "an unprecedented step in the ever-growing EU involvement
in defence policy," and will include considerable private sector
participation, at the highest level.

This means that much of the defence research effort in EU member states will
now be dictated by - or at least co-ordinated by - an EU institution.

Slowly, insidiously, therefore an EU defence policy is gradually taking
shape, adding to the steps reported on earlier by this Blog. And all of this
is leading up to the ratification of the EU constitution which -
unrecognised by many pundits- will turn the European Union into a
fully-fledged military alliance.

This is set out clearly in Art. I-41 of the proposed treaty, which states
that a common security and defence policy "shall be an integral part of the
common foreign and security polity" and that:

If a member state is a victim of armed aggression on its territory, the
other member states shall have an obligation of aid and assistance by all
the means in their powerŠ

This is, in fact, a much stronger obligation than is set out in the Nato
Treaty, the operative article (Art.5) merely stating that the parties agree
that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America
shall be considered an attack against them all.

That treaty merely states that: "If such an armed attack occurs, each of
them Š will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith,
individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems
necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the
security of the North Atlantic area."

It is all very well, therefore, for Blair to argue that the position of
Britain is safeguarded by retaining a veto over defence matters, but the
fact is that he has signed up to a rigid text that binds the UK into a
defence alliance with the rest of the EU. There is no veto involved here -
we are in that alliance the day the treaty is ratified by all member states.

Furthermore, according to Art. I-41 (3), member states "shall make civilian
and military capabilities available to the Union for the implementation of
the common security and defence policy" - another provision that specifies a
straight obligation.

And tucked into that section is another little provision, that has a
significant impact. Member states, the article states, "shall undertake
progressively to improve their military capabilities". Again, this is not
optional. It is a treaty obligation.

Crucially though, this is give effect in the treaty by the establishment of
a European Defence Agency (EDA), which is charged, inter alia, with
identifying operational requirements and, promoting measures to satisfy
those requirements.

Despite the constitution not having been ratified, this agency is now in
place, and this week we have also seen another piece of the jigsaw puzzle
locked into place: the European Security Research Advisory Board, which will
assist the EDA in its work. The noose is tightening.


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