Simon Busuttil calls for debate on EU common army

'If Malta applied to join the EU now, it would be rejected over corruption' - Simon Busuttil 

Simon Busuttil has warned that the EU is lacking significantly when it comes to foreign policy. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Simon Busuttil has warned that the EU is lacking significantly when it comes to foreign policy. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil has urged EU member states to seriously consider merging their armed forces into one single common army.

Busuttil, a former MEP, was addressing a conference at the University of Malta. He warned that the EU is lacking significantly when it comes to foreign policy and questioned whether it still made sense for the 28 member states to each have their own separate army.

“It’s not as though the 28 armies are waiting for the moment to fight each other. It is time we start asking ourselves these provocative questions,” he said.

The European Parliament is currently debating ways to strengthen its common foreign and security policy, and member states earlier this month agreed to set up a new headquarters to supervise its military training missions in Africa.

In his speech, Busuttil said that the EU’s usual tactic of following the USA’s lead when it comes to matters foreign policy will now be put to the test as never before, following the election of Donald Trump as US President. Trump has lambasted the EU as a “vehicle for Germany” and said that other member states would follow the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU. 

“The EU might no longer be able to rely on the US with regard to foreign policy as much as it used to,” Busuttil warned.

The PN leader also called for a common EU anti-terrorism policy and urged the Maltese government to change its mind and sign up to an EU proposal for the establishment of a European public prosecutor’s office.

Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday

The regulation leading to a European Public Prosecutor’s Office does not yet enjoy the unanimous support of member states and the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU has committed itself “to take steps” to broaden consensus on the outstanding elements. The EPPO would investigate and prosecute people and companies who act against the EU’s financial interests.

Busuttil also urged the European Commission to take a harsher stance against corruption in EU member states.

“Corruption in Malta is now so serious that if we had to apply to join the EU now, our application would be turned down because of corruption,” he claimed. “We will keep speaking out whenever the European Commission keeps its mouth shut.”

Referring to the EC’s recently-launched five scenarios for the EU’s future, Busuttil said that he would back a proposal for increased integration between member states and a proposal for a “multi-speed” Europe.

“If the European project has changed the course of history for the better, then it makes sense to keep taking it forward,” he said. “Some people warn about the EU moving towards federalism, but the truth is that it is already very much a federation and has been for years. If the project is good, then what’s wrong with describing it as federalist if federalism means unity?”

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