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Letter printed in the Mercury on EU defence

October 12, 2019 12:14 PM
Originally published by Rutland & Melton Liberal Democrats

Rutland and Melton Liberal Democrats

Dear Editor

With regard to letters from Jim Bennett (Brexit Party) and Alan Duncan MP about EU defence, and as an academic with expertise in this field, I'd like to clarify a few facts. There has been much nonsense talked about something supposedly called the 'Lisbon Treaty 2020' on the internet. No such thing exists.

The only 'Lisbon Treaty' was signed in 2007 and is our current EU law along with 'The Treaty on the Functioning of the EU'. Within the Lisbon Treaty, which can be read online, is the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) which is strictly "intergovernmental" in just the same way as NATO and the UN (unlike the single market which is agreed at a higher level).

EU military missions have taken place for many years. NATO and the EU work closely together on many issues such as deciding which countries should specialise in which defence areas, partly in case NATO ceases to exist at some point. It seems strange to me that Brexiters should want to see both the UK economy and UK defence dependent on the U.S. in the future, instead of cooperating with our European allies.

A recent House of Commons library paper gives the reassurance that whilst many EU Member States, including France and Germany, may wish to see the EU's capacity to act enhanced, sovereignty and control over armed forces is unlikely to be something that any EU Member State will ever give up.

A European Parliament paper states that legally under the Lisbon Treaty there is a "priority of national defence policy, including NATO membership or neutrality, over EU defence policy".

Carol Weaver (Dr)

Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate,

Rutland & Melton