Chief Analyst Usman Ansari explores whether Brexit could permit greater European military integration and formation of a so-called EU Navy. He finds that NATO is actually encouraging Europe to set up formal naval task groups and Germany is a major driver in merging maritime and land forces.

Calls for the establishment of a standing European Union (EU) military force have in the past been steadfastly opposed by the UK on the grounds that it would undermine NATO, the alliance that has guaranteed European security since 1949.

Despite this a joint EU military headquarters was established in March 2017, with a handful of staff concerned with training missions in the Central African Republic, Mali and Somalia. It still met British opposition, on grounds that no such HQ should have any operational role. However, Brexit looms, removing Britain, the main obstacle to unanimity in the Council of Europe regarding greater defence integration.

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