The Government has decided to remain a member of the European Defence Agency (EDA).
The EDA is part of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). It is yet another area of mission creep by the European Union towards a unified foreign affairs policy. Ultimately, it would rival and undermine the strength of NATO.
As the third largest contributor to the EDA after Germany and France in 2012, the British Government should consider the Agency’s objectives and whether it is compatible with sovereign nation states. They should also consider whether they want to be a part of a distinct pan-European defence policy. It adds another layer of consideration to any referendum vote in 2017.
I refer to an article by a Margret Thatcher Fellow at the Heritage Foundation and former Advisor to the MoD who gives five reasons why the UK should reconsider her membership to the EDA.
Here is the Defence Secretary’s written statement:
I am announcing today that following a review of our membership of the European Defence Agency (EDA), the UK will at the present time remain a member of the agency.
In 2010 the UK reviewed its membership of the EDA following the strategic defence and security review. Subsequently, my predecessor, my right hon. Friend the Member for North Somerset (Dr Fox), recommended that the UK should remain a member of the EDA with a stocktake after two years.
In consultation across Government, my Department has reassessed the benefits of remaining in the EDA and reviewed progress made by the agency since 2010 against identified shortfalls.
The EDA has made progress in some areas requiring reform, but there is more to be done to improve its operational effectiveness and so the case for continued membership remains finely balanced. Overall, I have concluded that for now the UK should remain a member of the EDA with our continuing membership to be reviewed again in late 2013 in light of progress made during the year.