The “big five” has told the EU foreign minister that she must set up a European “Operational HQ” by any means necessary, including a legal mechanism, created by the Lisbon Treaty that bypasses a British veto.
William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, threatened in July to veto a proposed military HQ to “command and control” troops, including British forces, taking part in EU operations, such as the current antipiracy naval force off the coast of Somalia.
But in a confidential letter, dated September 2, foreign ministers from the five countries create a powerful alliance against an isolated Britain by pledging their “strong political will to continue” as a “matter of urgency”.
“France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain remain at your disposal to support your work in this regard,” says the letter to Lady Ashton, seen by The Daily Telegraph.
“We believe it remains the most comprehensive basis for further work on all the issues: capabilities, including civil-military planning and conduct capability, battle groups and EU/Nato relations.”