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British troops to leave Germany under Tories

AFP/The Local · 21 Nov 2009, 09:32

Published: 21 Nov 2009 09:32 GMT+01:00

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Defence spokesman for the party known as the Tories, Liam Fox, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that other NATO allies could take over the role of continental defence and free up British forces for operations outside Europe, such as the war in Afghanistan.

Opinion polls put the Conservatives, led by David Cameron, on course to oust Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour party in an election which must be held by next June.

"If other countries are willing to take up roles in continental defence, that leaves Britain and France able to take on expeditionary roles," Fox said.

"Finding a more creative diplomatic solution in NATO will be a priority for an incoming Conservative government... it's more important that we have more effective burden sharing so we can be freed up from some responsibilities."

Calls for NATO allies to step up their contributions to operations in Afghanistan, where Britain has 9,000 troops in the second largest deployment after the United States, have caused tension within the alliance.

Fox said: "We need to be clear that there are constitutional and political reasons why some NATO countries will not be able to do the same amount when it comes to expeditionary warfare.

"We can either hammer on about burden sharing, or we can start looking at what countries will be able to do within their political, constitutional and military constraints.

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"Far better in NATO that countries have roles which they are 100 percent willing to carry out."

Britain has about 25,000 troops in Germany alongside US forces. They were initially stationed there to guarantee German security against the Soviets in the Cold War and retained in order to ensure NATO could respond quickly to events on the continent.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:20 November 21, 2009 by unicuri
That is better, as we have enough moaners and whiners here.Anyway why should we need them?
11:28 November 21, 2009 by Dusty
Because they provide employment and put money into the local economy in many areas.

However this is nothing new. Labour will do the same thing. Truth be known, if there was enough real estate in the UK they would have moved them long ago.
11:33 November 21, 2009 by unicuri
maybe they need more in Uk than in Germany to provide employment , as there are many unemployed there.
12:14 November 21, 2009 by Celeon
Well, that will hit some towns in western Germany pretty hard as most of their businesses reaching from car rentals over hair salons to bakeries lived from the presence of the british soldiers for decades.

With so many of their costumers leaving they have much harder times ahead.

But since 1989 , it was always clear that the day would come.

I doubt that the soldiers and their families are all that happy about it either.
17:15 November 21, 2009 by pepsionice
My guess is that the US government by 2012....in the heat of the next election....will announce the same thing. They might allow one air base in Germany to remain open....but by 2016....I'm already betting that most of the US installations are shut down throughout Europe....as a cost-saver.
18:09 November 21, 2009 by mixxim
British soldiers are paid extra allowances for living in Germany- therefor it is cheaper to keep them in the UK. The need for them to be in Germany has passed, the treat from iron curtain countries is no longer recognised as our governments have now allowed many nationals of those countries free access. The reality is that a high proportion of criminality is performed by those welcomed into the EU and the real threat to our stability cannot be fought off by the army, bullets and bombs are of no use against criminals and terrorists in our own countries. The only way of controlling this is by spending more on Police and security services.

(The loss of real (English)men will be most felt by German women!!!!)
21:35 November 21, 2009 by Celeon
@ pepsionice

I doubt that. The closure of Sembach in 2005 was the last.

The Grafenwöhr base is being restructered at the moment to become THE main logistical linchpin for all current or possible future u.s deployments in the middle east with Ramstein and Spangdahlem being refurbished for ongoing air mobility in and out of the region.
06:11 November 22, 2009 by OPB
No more occupational forces in GERMANY!
09:50 November 23, 2009 by moistvelvet
STOP STOP STOP, what the Liam Fox actually said is that they may look into pulling British trooops out of Germany as part of a long term plan, which already only has a life until about 2030. Troops will not be going back to the UK anytime soon, they have nowhere to pu them and too much has been invested recently in Germany.

This is another example where once again the media take a comment, twist it and create a story that doesn't match the facts. Moving troops from Germany back to the UK would not free them up to deployment in say Afghanistan as the article claims, because those British troops in Germany alaready deploy on operations much as the US forces did.

Eventually as the British Army is restructered and bases are built in the UK to house them then most troops will leave Germany, but as part of NATO then some troops will always need to be stationed alongside their counterparts for training purposes.

Some might consider these as occupational forces, but that is a thought stuck in the past. For some time they are partners of European defence and contribute massively to the local economies.

Perhaps if anything this could be seen as a criticism - Germany, throw off your shackles of the past and contribute fully in a meaningful way to the war in Afghanistan along side your NATO partners.
15:16 November 23, 2009 by Jollyjack
All political spim. The truth is that Tory Margaret Thatcher sold off thousands of married quarters in the UK so there is nowhere for them to go.
18:45 November 23, 2009 by Major B

Your comments are most eloquent. "Occupational forces" a "thought stuck in the past" -- beautiful.

Particularly like your last paragraph!!!!!
19:31 November 23, 2009 by snorge
Occupation forces?????Us, here in Germany? What exactly do we occupy? We don't tell you how to run your government, we don't impose our laws on you. We don't decide your foreign and domestic policy. THAT is an "Occupation Force". If anythiong, we provice employment to Germans all over the country and in some cases fuel your economy with our money spent here in Germany.

The reason we are still here is because of what happened 60 years ago. That has evolved into strategic alliances with Germany where both Germany AND the US, England and France benefit. Hell, we even pay a hefty rent for the bases we use here. So I can hardly see where we are "occupation" forces

Don't you all read newspapers?????
09:38 November 25, 2009 by moistvelvet
snorge, just to point out that the British forces are not from England but from the UK, kinda like someone saying Virginia instead of the US ;-) But you are irght, occupational forces ceased to exist when Germany became a partner in NATO.
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