As we remember the referendum result, it is pertinent to recall one of the lies spouted by the pro EU side, that the EU army is not going to happen.
Well it has and we are going to be paying for it.
The PM’s agreements at the EU Council on June 22 see UK taxpayers hit at least twice for the developing “EU military”.
1. The European Defence Fund uses funds from the European Investment Bank, where the UK is joint top shareholder, owning one-sixth of its assets.
2. The revised Athena Mechanism compels all 28 EU countries to pay compensation to countries that incur military costs for EU-run ventures.
This means the UK will be liable for a share of the costs of any EU Council-decided military ventures for at least two years up to Brexit Day at the end of March 2019 and possibly longer.
Financial liability might be extended for the duration of a transition deal, or even longer, depending on the terms of any EU military arrangements that ministers and diplomats are in the mood to create.
The UK’s financial liability for the European Defence Fund also depends on the duration of UK defence industry involvement, which is right now being created and, secondly, the duration of the UK’s participation in the European Investment Bank.
Withdrawal from both is made far more difficult as a result of the UK government’s actions at the June EU Council meetings.
UK ministers approved two other EU military finance tools besides the two mentioned above.
Namely the Cooperative Financial Mechanism (CFM) and the Coordinated Annual Review of Defence (CARD).
However, at this point, the level of UK participation in these is not clear.
Both tools give the EU additional control over military expenditure.
CARD is actually a scheme that sees member states take instruction from the EU on how to spend their defence budget.
Although at present it is understood to be voluntary, it is sweetened with financial incentives from the other financial schemes, making it a tempting prospect for national officials and politicians.
So why is our Government doing it unless it is not serious about leaving?
Chris Gallacher, TD VR,