Brussels has approved a €5billion (£4.3billion) defence project this week tipped to open the door to the long-proposed EU Army. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have both repeatedly expressed their support for such an entity after the US withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 2018. Currently, there is no such army – military matters are organised by the member states – and defence advisor Nicholas Drummond believes that is unlikely to change.
He told Express.co.uk: “The German Army is not in a particularly strong position, it is underfunded at the moment.
“Although it is larger than ours, I would say it is not ahead of ours.
“Both the German Army and the French Army are comparable to ours.
“I would say France is slightly ahead, they have allocated more money and been more successful in modernisation.
“But our Navy and airforce are still well ahead of the French.”
The former British Army officer claims the EU’s time would be better spent on focusing on more pressing issues.
He added: “I think Europe has got a lot of problems at the moment and it needs to find its mojo.
“Macron’s behaviour towards the UK before Christmas when he held us to ransom was utterly disgraceful.
“France treated us like an enemy, not like an ally.
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“That will seriously affect the UK attitude towards France until Macron is gone.”
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace confirmed this week the British Army will be reduced by almost 10,000 soldiers by 2025 stating that “increased deployability and technological advantage” will mean fewer troops will be able to deliver the same results.
He announced the cuts amid a major overhaul of the Armed Forces with plans to introduce new capabilities with a focus on artificial intelligence and cyber warfare.
The size of the Army will be at its smallest since 1714 – with just 72,500 regular soldiers.
There have been some suggestions that the cuts would leave Britain vulnerable in the event conflict breaks out.
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Former chief of the defence staff Lord Richards of Herstmonceux told Times Radio that “mass still matters,” adding that slashing the forces for the second time in a decade would prove “an asymmetric attraction to one’s opponents”.
But Mr Drummond believes the UK is still capable of pulling its weight.
He told Express.co.uk: “I think the Navy and Royal Air Force are in a strong position, they are world-class.
“We have one of the top three navies in the world, there’s no question.
“Our air force is highly credible, France had to rely on our C-17 and chinooks in Mali.
“Don’t think that we are a second-rate power, we’re still a first-rate power.”
Despite this, it appears Mr Drummond would like to see a review of the Army numbers.
Speaking before the announcement, he stated: “Modern conflicts tend to unfold with unexpected speed and severity.
“It means you go to war with the army you have not the one you would ideally like.”
Mr Drummond listed several apparent vulnerabilities, including that “Russia has a standing army of 900,000 and China two million”.
He added: “With 72,500 the Army will struggle to generate a single warfighting division.
“A single division in itself is not particularly ambitious. The UK aspires to have just one deployable division when most of our NATO allies have two.”