The Royal Navy’s new Portsmouth-based aircraft carriers could be the catalyst for the creation of a single-state Europe and an EU Army, Eurosceptics have warned.
Ukip MEP Ray Finch says the HMS Prince of Wales and Queen Elizabeth vessels, currently being fitted out in Scotland, will carry French planes as part of the long-term plan to build an EU Army and a unified Europe – a move that would undermine the role of the UK’s own armed forces.
Portsmouth North MP and armed forces minister Penny Mordaunt has condemned any move to build a single-state armed force in Europe.
It comes after European People’s Party president Joseph Daul backed the creation of a combined military in a statement issued on Europe Day.
But pro-Europe supporters have rubbished the claims and say it’s a ‘red herring’ by Ukip.
Yet speaking to The News at Strasbourg’s European Parliament headquarters, Mr Finch said: ‘My suspicions are, we have these aircraft carriers which will have no planes, while the French have planes but no aircraft carriers, so they will fit on them.
‘It’s all part of moving towards creating a United States of Europe.
‘If European leaders want a unified state of Europe which they want to be part of then David Cameron himself should say so.’
He added: ‘This would undermine the role of the Royal Navy.’
Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder rubbished the speculation but says there needs to be ‘better co-operation’ among the armed forces in Europe.
She said: ‘No army is proposed, and would never be approved by 28 governments who all have their own version of pride in their own army.
‘But better co-operation and joint training is to be encouraged.
‘Armies don’t only fight, they help with crisis and emergencies – witness Brussels after the bombing.
‘Understanding how others work if you are sent in to help would be a huge benefit.
‘It’s a red herring by Ukip. No country in the EU has become less of a nation state whilst in the EU, and there no plans for a United States of Europe.
‘In fact, the old Warsaw Pact countries say they have more of a world voice since they joined.
‘The phrase in the treaty is “an ever-closer union of peoples” and Cameron has negotiated us away from that.
‘The EU is best when it works together on matters that are best done together.’
Prime minister David Cameron has warned leaving Europe will see Britain’s security put at risk and could lead to another world war – and also says he has no interest in seeing the UK help towards the creation of a one Europe state.
But Ukip MEP Mike Hookem, the party’s Europe defence spokesman, says it is more dangerous staying in Europe.
He said: ‘We’ve seen riots in Greece.
‘This (the creation of an EU Army) will happen, it’s not if.
‘What people have got to understand is, if we want to stay in Europe, this place (Strasbourg) will take it as a vote of confidence and we will get the Euro and the Euro army, the lot.
‘You have to ask yourself, why are our armed forces being run down?
‘The friends I have got within veteran associations and people I have spoken to are very worried about this.
‘The new carriers will be part of this plan for the EU army – new carriers which we don’t have any aircraft for.
‘We don’t have any Harriers, they’ve all gone.’
Mr Hookem, a former army commando, added: ‘The armed services in the UK pledge allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen, but will they end up answering to the EU President and their successor?’