Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

The Case for a New WEU: European Defence After Brexit, by Charles Tannock MEP

Second paragraph of third chapter:
The somewhat surprise election of U.S. President Donald Trump was followed by predictions of a collapse in the transatlantic relationship. President Trump, whose view of the world is highly transactional, had campaigned on a platform hostile both to NATO and even the general concept of long-term alliances. During the campaign, allegations were made of Russian interference.
Charles Tannock is one of the two Conservative MEPs for London, and has been vocal in his despair at Brexit and his desire to minimise the damage that it will do to the UK. (He has taken Irish citizenship to maintain his own EU links.)

One of the more depressing aspects of the Brexit squabbling has been the potential deterioration of UK-EU security co-operation. This started badly, with Theresa May suggesting that the whole area could be in play as part of the negotiations, and has continued badly, with the EU looking to push the British out of the Galileo satellite project.

Tannock here offers two things - a guide to EU security capabilities for dummies (and quite apart from the ridiculous rhetoric about an EU army, there are a lot of people, including many EU experts, who are surprisingly unversed in this aspect of the organisation's capabilities), and a positive proposal for structured future co-operation in the form of reviving something like the old Western European Union, which was set up in the institutional confusion of the 1950s and was gradually absorbed by the EU. He suggests a permanent structure which could be open not only to the British but to other interested neighbours of the EU, notably Norway and possibly Ukraine, which would include a mutual defence guarantee and a parliamentary angle, without competing with NATO which will remain in the lead.

It's a nice idea (disclaimer: I'm credited as having had a look at it pre-publication), though I think in fact the UK government will be looking for a bespoke special security relationship with the EU, excluding the possibility for the Norways and Ukraines of this world to participate on a similar footing - that is, if the UK knows what it is looking for at all; I'm simply not clear on that.

You can download the book from here.

Tags: bookblog 2018, eu

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