Sunday, July 04, 2004

Global repositioning

Extracted from the Booker column - Sunday Telegraph

A press conference tomorrow will attempt to raise the alarm on how the "common European defence identity" is pushing to breaking point Britain's unique defence and intelligence relationship with the United States. At the invitation of the Bruges Group, an all-party Eurosceptic think tank, Gerald Howarth, the Tory spokesmen on defence procurement, and Dr Richard North will explain the two issues involved.

The first is the Pentagon's instruction to US contractors not to release vital "source codes" to Britain for the joint strike fighter, for fear this information might be passed on to Britain's EU allies.

The second, explained by Dr North in a new Bruges Group pamphlet, is US alarm over the EU's Galileo satellite project, which will be a direct rival to America's GPS (global positioning satellite) system.
Although the EU insists that Galileo is for civilian use only, the project's underlying purpose is to provide a military rival to GPS, which could be of huge value to America's potential enemies, including Russia and China, which has a 20 per cent share in Galileo. The US is so worried by this threat to its military security that it is discussing a plan to spend $3 billion on a jamming system, and even to put up satellites that could blow Galileo out of the sky.

Britain is helping to foot the bill for Galileo, which will be under the personal control of the EU's "foreign minister", and the US is sufficiently alarmed by our support for the project that, as is now being openly stated in Washington, this could prove the end of any "special relationship". Mr Blair must now decide which way Britain will jump.

For the full Booker column, click here.

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