Calls for EU members to be allowed to march across borders unfettered is “extremely worrying” says Brexiteer and West Midlands MEP James Carver.
The European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee has decreed that member states should “ensure that their militaries can cross Union borders without hinderance.”
The committee claims this will enable faster responses to emergency crises and natural disasters, but Mr Carver fears it will hasten the development of an EU military force.
He said: “I believe this is an extremely worrying development and flies in the face of claims that there is no appetite for a European army among members states.
“Fellow MEPs on the Foreign Affairs Committee made this call on Monday and also adopted a report underlining that EU defence integration is moving forward.
“It’s one thing to share intelligence and have partnerships on security issues, especially the threat of international terrorism, in order to maintain peace and security for the peoples’ of Europe,
“However, to be asking for lists of transport networks across member states that are suitable for military transport, down to checking the height of road tunnels, to enable the rapid deployment of troops, I find quite disturbing.”
The report also welcomed the implementation of an inclusive permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the launch of the new European Defence Industrial Development programme and the creation of a dedicated title for defence in the Commission’s proposal for the new EU budget for 2021-27.
Mr Carver said: “PESCO is a process to deepen defence cooperation amongst EU member states with the aim of jointly developing defence capabilities and to make them available for EU military operations.
“I fail to see how a partnership and cooperation between the EU and NATO can be effectively maintained if the EU continues down this route towards the creation of an EU military force: it will only work to undermine NATO, an organisation which serves us well and whose influence should be strengthened not diluted.
“At least our military sovereignty will escape being compromised, but I fear for other member states, not least countries such as the Republic of Ireland, Austria and Sweden whose citizens have taken great comfort from their status of military neutrality.”