Van Orden: European Defence Union plays into Russia's hands

Date

22 Nov 2016

Sections

Global Europe
Security

Press release

Strasbourg, 22nd November 2016 -- Calls by MEPs today for the creation of a European Defence Union (EDU)  are playing into the hands of Russia, according to Conservative Defence spokesman Geoffrey Van Orden MEP.

The European Parliament has approved a report urging the European Council to take the lead in shaping an EDU to provide greater structured, permanent military co-operation, binding commitments and an EU-wide system for the movement of defence personnel and equipment.

However, Mr Van Orden believes European countries should instead concentrate on increasing defence spending and reaffirming their commitment to NATO, not establishing duplicate structures that could undermine the organisation that has been the cornerstone of our collective defence for more than 60 years.

He said: "If the EU continues down this path the risk is that it separates European security from the United States and that is precisely what the Russians have wanted for a very long time.

"Do you imagine Vladimir Putin is trembling at the thought of a Brussels controlled EU army? The idea is laughable.

"This has nothing to do with military effectiveness and is all about the drive for greater European political integration and establishing the EU as an actor on the world stage.

"The priorities for the EU should be for countries to develop greater military capability and find the political will to use it in the right way – through NATO. That is missing in many capitals at the moment."

ENDS

Contact Robert Taylor

Head of Media, Conservative MEPs

robert.taylor@europarl.europa.eu

Mobile +32 498 984 760 

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