Defence

Outside the EU, the UK has a unique opportunity to shield itself from a future collapse in the Eurozone by starting to negotiate global trading arrangements and improving our competitiveness and simultaneously demonstrating a greater commitment to NATO. 

Lord Owen addressing Princeton University conference on ‘Europe and the challenges of Brexit’: 15 April 2016

Excerpts: When you are a member of a dysfunctional organisation like the EU that can neither reform nor restructure you have two choices: either to reluctantly remain in the organisation or be brave enough to leave. That is the choice that faces individual British voters on 23 June.

President Obama’s first Secretary of the Treasury has used some very tough language about the Eurozone in his book Stress Test published in 2014. In writing about 2010 he says, “The second drag on our recovery was Europe, which was in financial and economic disarray,” and “the European mess was a serious threat to us.”….”The sudden panic in Europe was shocking.”….”Now Europe was burning again, and it did not seem to have the tools or the desire to control the fire. The Eurozone was sixteen [now 19] nations with sixteen fiscal policies and sixteen banking systems,..”

Geithner writes in words with which I totally agree. “For all the flaws of the U.S. system, our fragmented regulatory agencies were at least part of the same nation, with a common language and traditions. And we routinely transferred resources to economically weak regions through our national budget.”

…. The U.S. Defense Department for decades has been hostile to EU “common defence” and to “autonomous defence” in the EU as well as to having two planning centres for defence in Europe, one in the EU and one in NATO. That is no secret and a factual judgement which I and many other people in Britain share.

….President Obama in his recent interview for the Atlantic magazine, correctly, and in the view of many Europeans rightly, openly criticised us in Europe for ‘freeloading’ on the NATO defence budget. It is clearly not tolerable for the U.S. voters that they should pay 73% or 75% of the NATO budget. That direction of travel has got to be corrected and soon. But it will not be done by the EU.

While the EU is dysfunctional, NATO is not.

Read the full text here:PrincetonUK PRESS RELEASE

The case for a new start for Britain grows stronger by the day. The Dutch vote should encourage voters in the UK to vote to leave in our referendum.

Lord Owen speaking at a Civitas seminar on EU foreign and defence policy, 7 April 2016:

Just as in 2005 when the Dutch voted down Giscard d’Estaing’s Constitutional Treaty, they have now blocked ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. No-one, not even the Prime Minister, can say that the Dutch vote is anti-European.  It is anti the dysfunctional EU that is dragging Europe down in its economic performance and its foreign and security policy. The French will be even more reluctant to risk a referendum to reform the euro and so the euro crisis will go on, reform will be shelved, relative stagnation continue. The case for a new start for Britain grows stronger by the day. The Dutch vote should encourage voters in the UK to vote to leave in our referendum.  There is another Europe that is starting to emerge and it is one which the UK can work happily with.

Britain must give primacy to NATO and demonstrate to Americans that we in Europe will not continue to be ‘freeloaders’. In the process we will ditch the pretence of a European foreign policy that bears a heavy responsibility for the mess we are in over the Ukraine.”

Trident and options for the UK’s nuclear deterrent

In a letter to The Times, Lord Owen suggests alternatives that could enable the SNP to support Scotland-based nuclear-capable submarines. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

TimesTridentletter_opt-2

Pakistan and the nuclear deterrent

Lord Owen comments: “In the outline agreement reached two days ago in Geneva between Iran and the US, UK, Russia, China, France and Germany, we can see the relevance of Pakistan’s history and its possession of nuclear weapons.”  Read his Statement in full here: Pakistan & the Nuclear Deterrent

Senior UK parliamentarians urge nuclear disarmament must remain priority in 2012

Statement made on Friday 11 May 2012

To read the full statement please click here

Extract from Nuclear Papers

Extract from Lord Owen’s book, Nuclear Papers (Liverpool University Press, 2009)

Some Republicans are trying to attack President Obama for his decisions in the nuclear field in the mistaken belief that they represent weakness in the face of Russian protests. I do not believe that this criticism can be sustained on any rational basis. Click here to read the full extract…