The UK can’t be forced into an “EU Army”

12 June 2019
What was claimed

Britain will be forced to join an EU army unless we leave the EU.

Our verdict

Incorrect. The UK has a veto on EU military policy so couldn’t be forced to participate in an EU army.

What was claimed

Young British people would be conscripted into an EU army under EU regulations.

Our verdict

The EU has no formal plans for an EU army, or for military conscription. The UK has a veto on EU military policy so couldn’t be forced to participate in an EU army.

Recently a claim about supposed plans for an EU army has been going viral again   on Facebook.

The post claims that Britain will be forced to join an EU army unless the UK leaves the EU. It includes a screenshot of a 2016 article in the Express reporting then-armed forces minister Penny Mordaunt saying this during the EU referendum campaign.

The text accompanying the image suggests this EU army will use some form of conscription. Both claims are incorrect.

The UK could not be “forced” to participate in EU military policies even if we stay in the EU.

Whether or not EU nations wish to create an “EU army”, and regardless of what that might actually entail, the European Commission can’t propose laws about security or defence. On issues like this, member countries effectively have a veto, so the UK would only take part if it chose to.

There are no formal plans in place for an EU army, and so there are no “EU regulations” on drafting people into it.

The EU does have various policies for defensive and security cooperation. For example, under the Common Security and Defence Policy, EU countries can pool military funding and resources. The UK participates in military operations through this policy.

The EU has also established Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) a strategy which aims to “jointly develop defence capabilities and make them available for EU military operations” which the UK has chosen not to participate in.

We wrote about the idea of an EU army in more detail back in 2016.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false because the UK would have a veto on partaking in any future EU army.

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