An EU army has no credibility with our potential enemies.

It is no surprise that European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker called for an EU common defence in his “State of the Union” speech to the European Parliament. This idea will be taken forward when Prime Ministers of 27 EU countries (excluding Britain) meet in Bratislava on Friday.

Geoffrey Van Orden, Conservative Defence Spokesman, commented: “We should be under no illusions - the ayatollahs of European integration see Britain’s departure from the EU as their great opportunity. We will no longer be there to put a brake on their ambitions. This is particularly true of defence where France, in particular, has long sought to lead an EU army that excludes American influence from Europe.

“This is very dangerous in today’s challenging world. An EU army has no credibility with our potential enemies.

“At a time when defence budgets are starved, what is the sense in the EU creating wasteful new military structures that merely duplicate what already exists in NATO? And what will be left of national independence if defence budgets and defence policy are controlled from Brussels.

“EU defence is a political tool to advance European integration. It will not create any additional military capability. This can only realistically be done through national defence regeneration and revitalisation of NATO.

“Britain must do nothing to encourage EU involvement in defence. Instead we should reinforce our armed forces and intelligence agencies - key national assets - demonstrating that we are strong in defence of our national interests and a powerful strategic ally for our friends around the world.”