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No EU Guarantees Can Change Thrust Toward Militarisation in Lisbon Treaty

category international | eu | feature author Friday May 29, 2009 20:57author by Joe Higgins - Socialist Partyauthor email info at joehiggins dot eu Report this post to the editors

Joe Higgins is standing for the Dublin Constituency in the Euro Elections to be held on Friday, June 5th

featured image
These Are Not Toy Soldiers

It was inevitable that the economic catastrophe caused by Fianna Fáil’s economic policies would dominate, almost exclusively, the Euro Election Campaign so far. However, it is also vital that we focus on some vital issues pertaining to the future direction of the European Union.

It is quite deplorable that the guarantees that the Government says it will have from the EU with regard to the Lisbon Treaty have not been published so that they could be debated during the current campaign.

However when it comes to the thrust toward militarisation of the EU firmly implanted in the Lisbon Treaty, no guarantees can change what are very categorical dictates to Member States.

The three specific issues which I wish to highlight in this regard are:

1. The extinction of the right of Member States to follow a foreign policy that differs from the EU majority.

‘The Member States shall support the Union’s external and security policy actively and unreservedly in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity and shall comply with the Union’s action in this area.’ (Par. 27)

Further all EU States’ embassies must publicly support the majority policy. ‘The diplomatic missions of Member States ... in third countries and international organisations shall cooperate and shall contribute to formulating and implementing the common approach’.

2. Consolidation and Expansion of Armaments Industry

The militarisation strategy is crystal clear. Paragraphs 49 and 50. ‘Member States shall undertake progressively to improve their military capabilities.’

‘The (European Defence) Agency in the field of defence capabilities development, research, acquisition and armaments shall....contribute to ...implementing any measures needed to strengthen the industrial and technological base of the defence sector, shall participate in defining a European capabilities and armaments policy...’ These prescriptions are very specific and no guarantee will override them.

Excluding China, 42 of the world’s 100 largest arms producing companies are European, selling tens of billions of Euro worth of arms each year. This ‘military industrial complex’, wields huge power with the EU Commission and EU governments.

3. Enhanced Cooperation: Proposal for Internal Military Alliance

Lisbon demands that the more powerful EU Member States form military alliances among themselves which can use EU resources to conduct foreign military operations. ‘Those Member States whose military capabilities fulfil higher criteria and which have more binding commitments to one another in this area with a view to the most demanding missions shall establish permanent structured cooperation within the Union framework.’

‘The Council (i.e. EU Heads of State) may entrust the execution of a task, within the Union framework, to a group of Member States in order to protect the Union’s values and serve its interests.’

Among the tasks envisaged are, ‘joint disarmament operations....military advice and assistance tasks,...tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking and post conflict stabilisation. All these tasks may contribute to the fight against terrorism, including by supporting third countries in combating terrorism in their territories.’

These provisions are crystal. It is really unfortunate that we are not able to have more time to discuss the implications of the EU Militarisation strategy during the Euro Election debates as I believe that the Irish people would strongly reject the military thrust being proposed for the future in the European Union.

Related Link: http://www.joehiggins.eu

Help Joes campaign: www.joehiggins.eu/help-out
Help Joes campaign: www.joehiggins.eu/help-out

author by Pete.publication date Sat May 30, 2009 10:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Denmark,Sweden and Switzerland,to mention just three, are armed to the teeth and the young and healthy are conscripted into military service even today.

Big deal.

All free countries look nervously at their own borders!

So should the EU.

Some people use the word "Neutrality" like a crusifex to protect us from the big bad world.

Comicallly,the people who protest most about "militarism" are Sinn Fein.

We all know THEIR recent history.

author by Conallpublication date Sat May 30, 2009 16:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The strength of Irish neutrality lies not in the fact that it prevents us from engaging with the "big bd world", but that we have no obligation to participate in unjust and imperialist wars. As are hinted at in reference to "supporting third countries in combating terrorism in their territories".

I for one am glad that Irish soldiers aren't guarding the the walls around illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Neutrality as it stands is supported by the vast majority of the Irish people, what governmant of a "Free Country" would try to remove this undemocratically.

author by Raypublication date Sat May 30, 2009 23:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As a neutral small state with no history of colonisation Ireland has served impartially with UN peacekeeping forces in the Congo, Cyprus, South Lebanon and West Africa. Our army is small but well trained and there is no post-imperial hauteur among the troops towards the natives. Let's keep it that way. Sub contracting UN peacekeeping tasks to the EU puts the former great colonial powers in the driving seat. They have handed political independence back to their former colonies in Africa, Asia and elsewhere, but they still have a grip on strategic economic interests regarding minerals and oil. Some of these former colonial powers also have military agreements with former colonies for using port and airbase facilities that can have use during times of war. Ireland should avoid getting enmeshed in the "interests" of big powers that occlude their long term strategies with UN humanitarianism.

author by Jim Monaghan - PANApublication date Sun May 31, 2009 18:26author email pana at eircom dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear Friend,
We are the Peace and Neutrality Alliance in Ireland. We are holding a conference at Shannon Airport in Ireland. Shannon has significance since it is widely believed to have been used for rendition flights.

(pana@eircom.net) for further information.
Website: http://pana.ie

Peace Conference on War NATO and the Lisbon Treaty
Park Inn, Shannon
Saturday 5th of September 2009
for more information contact Roger Cole Tel: 087-2611597
About PANA
The Peace & Neutrality Alliance was established in December 1996 in Dublin. Membership is open to all groups and individuals that accept our 5 objectives.
1.It is within the OSCE and a reformed United Nations, and not the EU, that Ireland should pursue its security concerns.
2.Ireland should pursue a positive neutrality and independent foreign policy and not join or form an association with any military alliance, such as the WEU or NATO.
3.Ireland should seek to promote European and international security through a policy of disarmament and demilitarisation and should therefore oppose the militarisation of the EU.
4.Ireland should refuse to cooperate with or condone in any way policies or military groupings which maintain nuclear weapons or any weapons of mass destruction.
5.Irish troops should only serve abroad as peacekeepers under the auspices of the UN.

A wide range of groups and a growing number of individual are affiliated to PANA.
PANA seeks to advocate an Independent Irish Foreign Policy, defend Irish Neutrality and to promote a reformed United Nations as the Institution through which Ireland should pursue its security concerns.
PANA's first major campaign was to oppose the Amsterdam Treaty. We sought a Protocol, similar to that already achieved by Denmark that would exclude Ireland from the militarisation of the EU. PANA was the main alliance in the referendum campaign seeking to reject the Treaty and 37% of people voted NO.
This was a substantial increase in the number of Irish people voting no from previous EU referendums.
We next campaigned to ensure there was a referendum before Ireland joined NATO's PfP. We again lost, insofar as the government joined without a referendum. Yet the erosion of Irish Neutrality was again highlighted.
We organised a major Conference on Transforming the United Nations which helped to consolidate our growing status as an Alliance. We campaigned against the Nice Treaty where we again sought a Protocol similar to that already achieved by the Danes and this time we won. The government was forced to agree to a Declaration on Neutrality, an addition to the Constitution which meat that Ireland could not join an EU
common defence without a referendum. While the 2nd referendum was passed the NO vote increased despite the concessions.
There is therefore clear evidence that approximately 37-40 % of the Irish people support Irish Independence, Democracy and Neutrality and oppose the transformation of the EU into a Federal superstate.
PANA is now campaigning against the government decision to allow Shannon airport to be used by the US in its war of conquest of Iraq.
The Peace & Neutrality Alliance is affiliated to the Peace and Human Rights Network and TEAM, the European Anti-Maastricht Movement, which seek to bring together like-minded groups in Europe and co-operate with similar groups throughout the world.

Jim Monaghan

author by Lemuelpublication date Mon Jun 08, 2009 11:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"We all know THEIR recent history," says Pete.

Yes, we do. Sinn Fein recently departed from armed conflict as its pre-eminent political tool, adopting diplomacy instead.

This is a party that knows demilitarisation and non-violent conflict resolution from the inside.
This is a party that knows how to put nervousness about borders aside and to embrace the "enemy" to create new perspectives for a peaceful and pluralistic society.
This is a party that has intimate experience of the relative advantages and disadvantages of armed conflict vs. diplomacy.
So this party is placed like no other to lead a movement towards disarmament, diplomacy and development.

We also know the recent history of the parties in the Dáil:
They have eagerly permitted the most heavily armed miliitary power in world history to ship its soldiers back and forth through Shannon Airport to make war in the Middle East and Central Asia.
They supported the Republican terrorist GW Bush when he sent the armed wing of his political organisation via Shannon to use high explosive and white phosphorus to devastate Fallujah in November 2004.

The comical thing is the snobbery about bombs, observed by Brendan Behan many years ago: Small bombs bad, big bombs good.

Given its recent history, Sinn Fein is well qualified to lead Ireland and Europe out of the deadly, destabilising wars that our de-facto allies have provoked in the Middle East and Central Asia.

author by US Marinepublication date Mon Jun 15, 2009 00:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The United States military is not and has never been the armed wing of the Republican party. The U.S. Constitution precludes from being in anyway political. To label it as such is to indulge in hysteria in an attempt to justify a point.

To claim that the battle of Fallujah was a terror campaign against a peaceful, defenseless community is disingenuous to an unparalleled degree.

author by Scepticpublication date Mon Jun 15, 2009 20:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

“Small bombs bad, big bombs good”

It’s not as simple as that – it’s a matter of legitimacy and such glib nostrums should be countered.

It is legitimate for nation states to have armed forces and to employ them legally in offensive and defensive operations under certain circumstances. The armed forces of the US are under civil control and accountable to Congress. The budgeting and other deliberations around them are fully public. They are under the control of a democratic government in a state ruled by laws. There is an international legal order which permits the use of armed force in certain circumstances.

The current intervention in Afghanistan for example is so legitimized both domestically within the US and internationally by the UN.

The Provisional IRA had no objective legitimacy to conduct a campaign of armed terror, financed by crime, over a period of thirty years. It was (is?) a secret, clandestine terror group accountable to no one which broke every law and convention of civilisation and decency in its campaign. The comparison does not stand scrutiny.

author by Pete.publication date Tue Jun 16, 2009 23:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"This is a party that knows how to put nervousness about borders aside and to embrace the "enemy".

"Put....Borders aside":
S.F failed 100% to remove the border...abject failure.

"Embrace the Enemy".
Joined your TRUE right wing mates in coalition......... Ian Paisley's DUP.

Thousands of dead Irish people over 30 years of violence.

S.F. know all about "peace" all right, and how to disrupt it.

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