Britain blocks the launch of EU military headquarters

eu army hq

Brexit-bound Britain is blocking the launch of an EU military headquarters because it opposes any suggestion that the unit would have an active operational role, EU diplomatic sources said Friday.

After months of tough negotiations, all 28 member states approved plans in March for a small grouping in Brussels to coordinate three of the bloc’s overseas training operations.

Turning the agreement into a legal text however has run into trouble, with proposals to call it an “Operational Headquarters” being a “red flag” for Britain ahead of its June 8 election and the start of the Brexit talks, the diplomatic sources said.

“We are still trying to find a compromise with our British friends on the legal position so that this structure can be set up,” said one of sources who asked not to be named.

“They are extremely sensitive to the elections and how it might be seen back in the UK,” the source added.

British officials in Brussels declined to comment.

EU foreign ministers meet Monday in Brussels to review progress on the March accord, with defence ministers due to approve their findings on Thursday.

EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, who chairs Monday’s meeting, has pushed hard for the EU to take on an increased military role after President Donald Trump cast doubt on the US security commitment to Europe.

Britain’s departure will deprive the bloc of both a nuclear-armed power which wields a UN Security Council veto and a member state which has consistently opposed EU defence integration as a risk to NATO.

Mogherini, top officials and member states led by France and Germany believe that against this backdrop, the European Union must now do much more on defence.

The March agreement set up what is known as the Military Planning Conduct and Capability (MPCC) facility to oversee the EU’s “non-executive military missions”.

These are currently civil-military training operations in Mali, the Central African Republic and Somalia which do not involve the use of force.

The EU has also mounted Operation Sophia in the central Mediterranean, which can use force to stop migrant smugglers, and the Operation Atalanta anti-piracy mission off the Horn of Africa.

These two executive operations have their own command centres which will remain separate from the MPCC.

  • Lambert Peeters

    They wanted out so let them go and leave us in peace to take our decisions on how whe decide on our defence policy for the common future of the European Union.

  • jon

    The Brits are terrified their military becomes insignificant if Europe grows into a military power.

  • Taylor

    Not everyone in the UK vote for Brexit. Only 38% of people did. 62% voted to remain. Scotland voted to remain in the EU, but Scotland has no power in england, whereas england has veto over Scotland 🙁 england and Wales voted to leave the EU.

    The EU should not be listening to England any more. England voted to leave the club, it should have no say in what goes on anymore.

  • Jason

    That’s false Thomas Jacob. UK will remain a full member for 2 years, but it’s EU MP’s wont be present for any debates, etc regarding Brexit negotiations.

  • Thomas Jacob

    Why is it possible that the brexit-bound Britain can blocking things which the EU wants to decide?
    From the day of application for permit the country which has decided to leave the EU shall not longer have any authority to participate any votes. What happened if those countries is still allowed to do so you can see in the example of Britain right now.
    The EU have to think big finally and to assert decisions even against the will of any long-stay blocking countries like Britain. This will be the only way the United States of Europe come true.

  • Iordanis Charanas

    British are serving their national interest! The majority of them have a very different narrative for EU from the rest 27 countries. It is amazing that after four decades of their in/out participation, our politicians are dreaming to have their consensus in any attempt of a common European defence!