Stephen Dixon (Standard November 1), continues the unfounded scaremongering by Brexiteers about the establishment of an EU army and the introduction of conscription in member states citing an example of Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden re-introducing peacetime conscription better known as national service.

Quoting a study claiming that “European defence awareness has been slow in developing” he somehow jumps to the conclusion that this “implies” conscription will one day be introduced across the EU.

The fact is the Maastricht Treaty, the EU or any perceived developing EU defence policy has nothing whatsoever to do with these three countries re-introducing a year of national service.

The main reason is the less stable situation in the Baltic region compared to the relative calm of the initial post-Cold War years together with President Trump’s threat that NATO countries which don’t spend two percent of their GDP on defence will not be able to automatically count on American help despite the NATO guarantee, especially in the case of Sweden who aren’t even in NATO and pay even less.

Another factor was these countries having a significant fall in recruitment to their regular armed services.

There is no EU army. There are no formal plans for an EU army.

Whether or not EU nations one day wish to create a joint army, and regardless of what that might actually entail, member countries effectively have a veto on defence laws so any, including the UK, would only take part if they chose to.

However, the EU does have various policies for defence and security cooperation, for example countries can pool some military funding and resources and this allows the UK at their choice to participate in extremely useful military operations, intelligence sharing and other initiatives including shared measures to aid counter terrorism.

Sadly valuable joint initiatives of this sort will be yet another thing we lose after Brexit.

Peter Michaels

Ashley Road, Dovercourt