The coverage started last week with a report in the Wall Street Journal, reported in this Blog and other newspapers; it was picked up yesterday by The Sunday Times and, today, it gets coverage in The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and The Independent.
Perhaps the most disingenuous headline comes from The Guardian, which proclaims: "EU peace forces ready in new year", as if it was somehow all right to have an EU Army as long as it has the label "peace" attached to it.
Compare and contrast with the earlier report from the WSJ, cited in the Blog which had French defence minister Michele Alliot-Marie claiming that the EU has ambitions to extend its military forces "so as to be capable of sending a large combat force comprising tens of thousands of troops to fight their way into hostile territory."
Whatever The Guardian might imply, therefore, there can be no doubt now that the underlying motivation of the EU – driven primarily by that bunch of crooks that call themselves the French government – is to form its own, conventional army under an EU flag.
And what is an army for? The primary purpose is the defence of national territory, but the EU does not have any territory as such – which leaves the secondary, albeit vital purpose of protecting national interests abroad, a projection of the national foreign policy. And, if it is an EU Army, which "national interests" will it protect, one might ask. The answer is, of course, the EU's "national" interests (as largely dictated by that bunch of crooks that call themselves the French government).
By any measure, therefore, an EU Army is another step towards creating a "European identity", a common "European interest" and another building block in the creation of a European state.
We are thus entirely at one with the Telegraph leader entitled "Save us from an EU Army". "What else has to happen to convince our politicians that an EU army is not a threat but a reality?" the Telegraph asks. So powerful is the leader that we have reproduced chunks of it here:
It was five years ago that Romano Prodi told a newspaper (The Independent): "If you don't want to call it a European army, fine. You can call it Margaret, you can call it Mary-Ann." Yet we are still in denial. The Tory defence spokesman, Nicholas Soames, speaks rather touchingly of the need for "any EU defence contribution" to be "under the Nato umbrella".
Thus, concludes the Telegraph, "We are in the process of creating an autonomous EU military capacity separate from Nato and above any single nation-state."
Tony Blair, in the run-up to the signing of the EU constitution, declared that autonomy in the field of defence was one of Britain's "red lines". Already, though, forces with EU cap-badges are patrolling Macedonia and the Congo. In 10 days' time, the EU will deploy 7,000 soldiers in Bosnia. These troops are answerable, not to Nato, nor to any national capital, but to the EU's
Lest any doubt remain, Article 15 of the proposed European Constitution reads, "The Common Foreign and Security Policy shall cover all aspects of foreign policy and all questions relating to Europe's security" (our italics). As we report today, Britain will join a new 3,000-strong EU Elite Strike Force (each of these three words flirting with the Trades Descriptions Act).
Do not make the mistake of thinking that the CFSP affects only such troops as are explicitly seconded to EU command. On the contrary, European law dictates whom the MoD may hire: yesterday's news dwelt on the ruling that 8,000 Commonwealth Servicemen would be obliged to take British nationality without mentioning the reason - that European law forbids us to discriminate in favour of "third country nationals".
It lays down our disciplinary procedures, forcing us to use civil law rather than courts martial. It tells us whom we may fire: a judgment five years ago held that women who left the Services as a result of becoming pregnant must be compensated in defiance of the terms of their contracts. And, worst of all, it distorts our defence procurement, emphasising pan-European defence schemes, such as the ludicrous Eurofighter, over more cost-effective projects.
There are good reasons why we should co-operate with our European allies on defence matters. We are already doing so: British troops are currently active in, among other things, an Anglo-French air corps, an Anglo-Italian rapid reaction force and an Anglo-Dutch amphibious unit. None of these required EU intervention: all were agreed bilaterally. What is unfolding is qualitatively different from such collaboration.
The leader-writer is absolutely right. As Booker and I observed in our own book, The Great Deception, for Tony Blair this is a handy way to demonstrate his European credentials while remaining outside the single currency, a process started with the summit between Blair and l’escroc Chirac at St Malo in 1998.
"But," says the Telegraph, "for the rest of us, it means that our true strategic interests - and, in particular, our alliances with other free, English-speaking nations - are being tossed aside for the sake of Euro-dogma." Not precisely that, we would aver. Sacrificed on the altar of Blair's Euro-ambitions, we would say.